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New Case Update - Withdrawl of Accopmanying Issues is Withdrawal of Petition to Reopen

McLaughlin v. Gill Simpson Elec., 2012 Md. App. LEXIS 88 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. June 29, 2012)

This case examined whether a Claimant's withdrawal of issues in conjunction with a Petition to Reopen constituted a withdrawal of the Petition. The Court concluded in the negative, affirming the Circuit Court. The employee suffered a compensable injury to his back, and ultimately went to hearing on the issue of PPD in February 2004. In February 2005, the Claimant filed a Petition for Reopening and filed with it Issues only requesting medical treatment. Before hearing, the parties agreed the requested treatment was causally related and necessary and the Issues were withdrawn. In October 2009, the Claimant filed Issues for worsening of his back. The Employer and Insurer raised the issue of whether this was time barred. The Commission found the claim for worsening was time barred as the withdrawal of Issues in 2005 was a withdrawal of the Petition to Reopen. Claimant appealed and the Circuit Court affirmed. The Court noted this was a case of first impression. The determinative analysis focuses on whether the Issues filed with the Petition to Reopen (which is required by the Commission), when withdrawn, effect a withdrawal of the Petition itself. Additionally, the Issues filed failed to comply with COMAR in that they failed to claim permanent disability. Though the Claimant did check the box on the form indicating an increase in disability, it is clear that the intention was merely to seek medical treatment, evident by the withdrawal of Issues once the treatment was approved.

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