The Reviewing Board is made up of two panels of three Administrative law Judges (ALJs). The panels function as the appellate body of the DIA. Decisions are formally published. The Reviewing Board presides over lump sum settlements, § 46A medical lien disputes and motions to expedite conferences for reasons other than financial hardship. In addition, it reviews/approves § 15 Third Party Settlements.
After the administrative judge renders a hearing decision, any aggrieved party can request review of the decision with the Reviewing Board. MGL c. 152, § 11C. This appeal must be taken within thirty days from the filing date of the hearing decision. The Reviewing Board may only reverse the decision of an administrative judge under certain limited circumstances, covered in §11C, which provides that reversals may be allowed if it is determined that the decision is:
a. beyond the scope of the judge's authority,
b. arbitrary or capricious, or
c. contrary to law.
The Reviewing Board may recommit a decision to an administrative judge for further findings of fact when appropriate. Findings of witness credibility are made by the administrative judge following a hearing. The Reviewing Board is empowered to affirm decisions summarily without discussion of the issues. Oral arguments are scheduled at the discretion of the Reviewing Board, typically in cases of broad impact, but briefs must be filed on all appeals. Practitioners looking to succeed on appeal should determine whether or not the administrative judge identified all issues and gave the grounds for the decisions made regarding each issue. The administrative judge must make clear findings of fact, particularly when there is conflicting testimony. The procedures and requirements of appeals to the Reviewing Board are outlined in 452 CMR § 1.15.
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