6/27/2018: F&P Secures Victory for the Board of Education at the Court of Special Appeals

With multiple reported opinions addressing the offset statute in the last calendar year, the Maryland appellate courts have been busy addressing the offset provision codified in Section 9-610 of the Labor and Employment Article.  The purpose of the statute is to prevent public sectors employees from receiving more than one benefit from the same injury.  This statute again took center stage before the Court of Special Appeals in Rodney Crawley v. Board of Education for Prince George’s County, Maryland, et. al, with attorney Michael Bennett, who was joined in the brief by attorney David Skomba, arguing on behalf of the Board of Education.  Mr. Crawley elected to retire shortly after sustaining an on-the-job injury with the Board. He filed a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Commission, and also began receiving weekly retirement benefits based upon his age and length of service.  In Maryland, there is no offset for service-based retirements.  Perhaps observing there was a higher payout associated with other retirement benefits tied to his work-related accident, Mr. Crawley then voluntarily converted his retirement benefit to the higher paying accident disability benefit, which compensated him at a significantly higher weekly rate.

While Mr. Crawley did not dispute that an offset was appropriate under 9-610, he urged the court that the offset should be limited to the difference in his accidental disability retirement benefit and his prior benefit based upon his age and length of service.  Under Mr. Crawley’s theory, he would have been entitled to a portion of his permanent partial disability benefit through workers’ compensation, as well as the full amount of his accidental disability retirement benefit.  The Court of Special Appeals rejected Mr. Crawley’s argument that merely a portion of his accidental disability retirement benefit is available for an offset.  Instead, the intermediate court agreed with the Board’s position that the entire amount of Mr. Crawley’s accidental disability retirement benefit is analyzed under §9-610, which effectively fully offsets his workers’ compensation benefit.  To adopt Mr. Crawley’s theory, the Court of Special Appeals noted, would violate the plain language of the statute and its clear statutory intent.

The Court of Appeals decision affirmed the decision of the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County, which affirmed the original decision from the Workers’ Compensation Commission.  While the decision in Crawley is unreported, the recent reported opinions from the appellate courts have been defense friendly.  Thus, §9-610 remains a vital exposure mitigation instrument available for employers and insurers who cover public sector employees.



6/5/2018: Andrew Stephenson and Colin Bell Present at the Annual Trucking Claims Boot Camp

Franklin & Prokopik principals Andrew Stephenson and Colin Bell both represented the firm this year at the annual Trucking Claims Boot Camp.  Each presented on the topic of Freight 101: The Basics of Cargo Claims Handling. These boot camps provide current and up-to-date legal information for the trucking industry’s claims professionals. These meetings are offered at no cost and are held throughout the United States from February through May. The event is sponsored by Atlas Settlement Group, Inc.; CIA Custard Insurance Adjusters; Marshall Investigative Group and S.E.A.

To ensure the success of each event, Franklin & Prokopik partners with the following firms: Carr Allison; Dowd & Dowd; Nerone, Girman, Winslow & Smith, P.C.; Rincon Law Group, P.C.; Young Moore Attorneys; Bressler Amery Ross; and Cox P.L.L.C. Each attorney is experienced in defending trucking and transportation matters.. For more information on the Trucking Claims Boot Camp, please visit the website at http://www.truckingbootcamp.com/.

6/1/2018: Justin Tepe to Discuss MD’s New Paid Leave Law at HVBF Program

On Thursday, June 7, F&P attorney Justin Tepe will speak on Maryland’s New Paid Leave Law at CCBC in Hunt Valley, MD.  The program will take place from 8:00-10:00am and will be complimentary for Hunt Valley Business Forum members and first time HVBF event attendees.

The Maryland Healthy Working Families Act that went into effect last February has been one of the most relevant Labor & Employment topics of 2018.  Attendees will learn the general framework and requirements of the act and how it affects employers.  Please visit https://www.hvbf.org/event-2923814 to register.