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Decision Ramona Richards v. US Bancorp

Date: 07/08/2014
Organization: Department of Industrial Accidents
Docket Number: DIA Board No. 041089-03
Location: Boston
  • Employee: Ramona Richards
  • Employer: US Bancorp
  • Insurer: St. Paul Fire & Marine

KOZIOL, J. The employee appeals from a decision determining that the principle of res judicata bars litigation of her claim for incapacity and medical benefits,1 and finding that her counsel, Attorney Ellis, brought her claim without reasonable grounds in violation of G. L. c. 152, § 14(1).2 (Dec. II, 6-8.) The judge ultimately assessed costs pursuant to § 14(1), ordering Attorney Ellis to pay the insurer $8,742.50. (Dec. III, 5.) The employee argues the judge erred by: 1) finding her claim is barred; 2) finding Attorney Ellis prosecuted the action without reasonable grounds; and, 3) assessing costs in the amount of $8,742.50. We affirm.

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1 On June 13, 2007, the judge filed the first hearing decision denying and dismissing the employee’s claim for incapacity benefits under §§ 34 and 35, referred to as "Dec. I." The judge’s decision of April 29, 2013, is referred to as "Dec. II" and his "amended decision" of June 13, 2013, is referred to as "Dec. III."

2 General Laws, c. 152, § 14(1), states in pertinent part:

If an administrative judge . . . determines that any proceedings have been brought or defended by an employee or counsel without reasonable grounds, the whole cost of the proceedings shall be assessed against the employee or counsel, whomever is responsible.

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