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Litchfield’s Case (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-106-14)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   13-P-1044                                       Appeals Court   ROBERT M. LITCHFIELD’S CASE. No. 13-P-1044. Suffolk.     February 12, 2014. – August 28, 2014.   Present:  Trainor, Katzmann, & Hanlon, JJ.   Workers’ Compensation Act, Injuries to which act applies, Coverage, Emotional distress.  Mental Impairment.       Appeal from a decision of the Industrial Accident Reviewing Board.     Charles E. Berg for the employee. Paul M. Moretti for the insurer.      TRAINOR, J.  Robert M. Litchfield appeals the decision of the reviewing board of the Department of Industrial Accidents (department) which affirmed a decision of an administrative judge of the department.  The administrative judge determined that G. L. c. 152, § 36(1)(j), benefits for permanent loss of psychiatric function were not available to Litchfield.  We affirm. Factual and procedural background.  The following facts are taken from the administrative judge’s subsidiary findings of fact and are not in dispute.  Litchfield “worked as a heavy equipment mechanic for the [t]own of Westford, the employer . . . , from 1984 until suffering an industrial injury to his elbow and shoulder in 2001.” Litchfield “never suffered from anxiety and depression prior to his industrial injury but has since.  His depression prevents him from working or doing the things he used to enjoy including interacting with his family. . . .  He spends his days watching television, playing computer games and performing light housework.  He does get out of the house each day and works as a municipal poll worker on election days.  His elbow and shoulder pain are always present. . . .  The pain and inability to work, directly caused by the physical injuries, have caused his psychiatric conditions of depression and anxiety.” He has received compensation for these injuries under various sections of G. L. c. 152.  In 2004, he was awarded § 35 partial incapacity benefits for his physical injuries.  In 2007, he was awarded § 34 temporary total incapacity benefits for these injuries.  A panel of this court affirmed that award in Litchfield’s Case, 74 Mass. App. Ct. 1115 (2009).  Also in 2007, his § 36 claim for loss of function benefits for his shoulder and elbow was adjusted.  Finally, in 2009, he was awarded § 34A permanent and total benefits for these injuries.  Later, he filed a claim for permanent loss of psychiatric function under G. L. c. 152, § 36(1)(j).  The denial of this claim is now before us on appeal.[1] Discussion.  Authority to determine which version of the American Medical Association […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - August 28, 2014 at 4:22 pm

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