SHERRY M. KNOX (Appellee)
IRVING FOREST PRODUCTS, INC. (Appellant)
LIBERTY MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY (Insurer)
Decision No. 19-39
App. Div. No. 17-0039
Maine Workers Compensation Decisions
State of Maine Workers’ Compensation Board
November 22, 2019
Attorney for Appellant: Richard D. Bayer, Esq. ROBINSON,
KRIGER & McCALLUM
Attorney for Appellee: Karen M. Bilodeau, Esq. McTEAGUE
MEMBERS: Administrative Law Judges Elwin, Jerome, and Knopf
Administrative Law Judge.
Irving Forest Products and Liberty Mutual Insurance Company
appeal from a decision of a Workers’ Compensation Board
administrative law judge (Goodnough, ALJ) granting
Sherry Knox’s Petitions for Award and for Payment of
Medical and Related Services based on a gradual right hip
injury dated July 22, 2015. Irving asserts that the ALJ erred
by determining that the date of injury was July 22, 2015, and
by finding that Ms. Knox provided Irving with timely notice
of the injury. Because it is unclear that the ALJ applied the
correct legal standard, we vacate the decision and remand for
determinations of the date of injury and the date Ms.
Knox’s notice obligation arose.
Ms. Knox worked for Irving as a lumber handler. Her work
duties involved repetitively grabbing boards of wood as they
passed, planting her right foot, then lifting or sliding the
board while either moving to the right or twisting to stack
them on a rack. This activity resulted in a repetitive and
significant load on her right hip and lower back.
Ms. Knox experienced hip pain in February 2015 and connected
that pain to her work activity at that time. However, she did
not seek medical treatment or miss work because of her pain
until July 2015. In May 2016, she filed Petitions for Award
and for Payment of Medical and Related Services alleging a
gradual right hip injury dated July 22, 2015, which was her
last day of work at Irving. The ALJ granted both petitions,
finding that Ms. Knox sustained a gradual right hip injury
caused by the repetitive motions she performed as part of her
During litigation, the parties disputed both the date of
injury and the date Ms. Knox provided notice to the employer.
Irving asserted that the work injury manifested itself in
February 2015, but Ms. Knox did not provide notice until she
filed her Petitions in May 2016, well beyond the applicable
thirty-day notice period set forth in 39-A M.R.S.A. §
301 (Supp. 2018).1 Ms. Knox asserted that she had notified
her tech trainer/team leader, Shirley Garland, in February
2015, and her shift supervisor/team leader, Michael Ladd, by
the end of her last shift of work on July 21-22, 2015.
There was conflicting evidence on these points. Ms. Knox
testified that Ms. Garland had assisted her in
“popping” her hip back into place on three or
four occasions in the ladies’ room at work, and that
she told Ms. Garland at that time that her hip problems were
work-related. Ms. Garland testified that although Ms. Knox...