*The answers to these frequently asked questions are not intended to substitute for a thorough review and understanding of the Rules applicable to Workers’ Compensation appeals, found in Chapter 13 of the Workers’ Compensation Board Rules.
1. How do I file an appeal with the Appellate Division?
An appeal is initiated by filing the following documents with the Appellate Division:
(a) Notice of Intent to Appeal, form WCB-240, and
(b) A copy of the decision you are appealing.
A notice of appeal form WCB-240 may be obtained through the Maine WCB website at this link: http://www.maine.gov/wcb/Forms/WCB-240.pdf
2. Where do I file my appeal?
Mail or hand-deliver the documents to the Clerk of Appellate Division at the following address:
By US mail:
Workers’ Compensation Board
27 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0027
By hand delivery or other carrier:
442 Civic Center Drive
Augusta, ME 04330
You can also mail or hand-deliver the documents to any Workers’ Compensation Board Regional Office. The Regional Office will time-stamp the documents. You are responsible for the cost of transmitting the documents to the Appellate Division.
Do not send anything to your local District or Superior Court because those courts do not handle workers’ compensation cases.
3. How much time do I have to file my appeal?
The Notice of Appeal must be filed with the Appellate Division within 20 days of the date you receive a copy of the Administrative Law Judge’s decision. An appeal will be dismissed if it is filed after this deadline.
4. Do I need to send any information about my appeal to the opposing party?
Copies of the Notice of Intent to Appeal, the record, appendix, briefs, motions and all other documents filed with the Appellate Division in connection with an appeal must be served on each party to the appeal by mailing a copy to the party or to the party’s lawyer. You should keep a copy of all documents you file and serve for your records.
5. How much does it cost to file an appeal with the WCB Appellate Division?
There is no fee associated with filing your appeal. The appellant, however, is responsible to pay the costs associated with preparation of the hearing transcript and the record on appeal. If you need financial help to cover the costs of appeal, you may file an application for leave to proceed without payment of costs, pursuant to W.C.B. Rule, ch. 13, § 4(1-A). Contact the Appellate Division for more information.
6. What happens after I file my notice of appeal?
Once you file your notice of appeal, the Appellate Division will send the parties an initial scheduling order indicating when the record on appeal is due. Once the record is filed, the Appellate Division will send a briefing schedule that informs the parties of the dates on which the following documents are due: the appellant’s brief, the appendix, the appellee’s brief, and the appellant’s reply brief.
7. What is the transcript?
The formal hearing in your case, including all the testimony taken at the hearing, was electronically recorded. The appellant must insure that the recording of the hearing is transcribed so that the Appellate Division panel can review the testimony. When you file your appeal, you must check a box on form 240 indicating whether (1) you have already obtained a copy of the transcript, (2) whether you have ordered the transcript from an approved transcription company, or (3) whether you have requested that the Board Regional Office order the transcript. The transcript is included in the record on appeal.
8. What is the record?
The record on appeal provides the Appellate Division panel with an accurate representation of what happened at your formal hearing both procedurally and factually. It consists of the Administrative Law Judge’s docket sheet, exhibit list, copies of the pleadings, transcripts of proceedings, exhibits, position papers, the Administrative Law Judge decision(s) being appealed, the Notice of Intent to Appeal, proposed findings submitted to the Administrative Law Judge, further findings of fact and conclusions of law issued by the Administrative Law Judge, and petitions, decisions, or other matters of which the Administrative Law Judge took administrative notice. You may not include in the record new materials that are not already part of the Board’s file or were not submitted as evidence at the hearing.
9. When is the record due?
The appellant has 45 days from the date the Notice of Intent to Appeal was filed in which to file the record on appeal.
10. What is the appendix?
The appendix is a separately bound subset of documents from the record that are critical to the review of the issues on appeal. For example, if your case involves a dispute over an independent medical examination, the examiner’s report must be included in the appendix. The purpose of the appendix is to provide panel members with a convenient reference to the most important evidentiary materials in the case. The appellant must file 5 copies of the appendix along with the appellant’s brief. Board Rules require that parties confer and attempt to agree on the contents of the appendix. The appendix may not include any documents that are not part of the record on appeal other than a supplement of legal authorities.
11. Will I be granted the opportunity to orally argue my appeal?
Either party has 7 days after the reply brief is due to request oral argument in the case. The request must be made in writing separately from other filings. The Appellate Division panel may also schedule oral argument on its own motion. You will be notified by mail if the Appellate Division decides to hold oral argument in your case, or if the Appellate Division panel will confer and consider your appeal on the written submissions alone.
12. Where do appellate oral arguments take place?
Appellate oral arguments generally take place in the Regional Office Conference Room at the Workers’ Compensation Board located at 442 Civic Center Drive, Suite 225, in Augusta.
13. May I submit new information to the Appellate Division during my appeal or oral argument?
Oral argument is not a new hearing. The Appellate Division will not consider new testimony, new exhibits, or other material relating to the facts of the case that were not already presented to the formal level Administrative Law Judge. Decision-making on an appeal is based on the “record” developed in the formal hearing level.
14. How long will it take for the Appellate Division to issue a decision in my case?
After the oral argument or panel conference, your appeal will be ready for decision. The appellate panel will review the record in your case and give careful consideration to the law and the parties’ arguments, and issue a written decision at a later date. There is no prescribed time frame within which the panel will issue a decision. It may take several months for the panel to complete its review and formulate the decision.
15. What will be the effect of the Appellate Division’s decision?
The Appellate Division panel will affirm, vacate, remand, or modify the formal Administrative Law Judge’s decision in your case. When the panel affirms a decision, it means that the Administrative Law Judge’s decision stands. When the panel vacates a decision it means that the Appellate Division found some legal error in the Administrative Law Judge’s decision, and it cannot stand. When a decision is vacated it will ordinarily also be modified by the panel, or remanded. When a remand issues, the case file is returned to the formal level Administrative Law Judge and the Administrative Law Judge resumes authority over the case to proceed as directed by the Appellate Division.
16. Can I appeal the Appellate Division’s decision?
Any party in interest may request an appeal to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, sitting as the Law Court, by filing a copy of the Appellate Division’s decision with the clerk of the Law Court within 20 days of receipt of the Appellate Division’s decision and by filing a petition seeking appellate review within 20 days thereafter. 39-A M.R.S.A. § 322. The Law Court’s jurisdiction over most workers’ compensation appeals is discretionary, meaning that the Court can decline to consider the case.