Here are some very interesting facts and case summaries regarding Notice of Controversion a DBA or Longshore case coming directly from the Longshore Deskbook from the Benefits Review Board. The Longshore Desk Book is a searchable website which is a public record. According to the Longshore Deskbook:
Section 14(d) sets out the procedure which must be followed to timely controvert the right to compensation. Under Section 14(d) as amended in 1984, if employer controverts the right to compensation, it must file a notice on or before the 14th day after it has knowledge of the alleged injury or death or is given notice under Section 12. See Spencer v. Baker Agricultural Co., 16 BRBS 205 (1984).
Employer must file on or within the 14th day after it has knowledge of the injury not knowledge of the claim. Id. See Wall v. Huey Wall, Inc., 16 BRBS 340 (1984). Thus, a notice filed shortly after claim was filed is not timely if employer had earlier knowledge of the injury. Davenport v. Apex Decorating Co., Inc., 13 BRBS 1029 (1981). A mistaken belief that a state, rather than the federal, workers’ compensation act applies does not excuse employer’s duty to file the notice. Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co. v. Graham, 573 F.2d 167, 8 BRBS 241 (4th Cir. 1978), cert. denied, 439 U.S. 979 (1978); Spencer, 16 BRBS 205; Burke v. San Leandro Boat Works, 14 BRBS 198 (1981); Miller v. Prolerized New England Co., 14 BRBS 811 (1981), aff’d, 691 F.2d 45, 15 BRBS 23(CRT) (1st Cir. 1982); Pilkington v. Sun Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., 14 BRBS 119 (1981). The same holding applies where employer terminates payments because claimant files a Jones Act claim; employer must file a notice of controversion. Ramos v. Universal Dredging Corp., 15 BRBS 140 (1982) (Kalaris, J., concurring). For further discussion of “knowledge,” see Section 14(e).
The notice must be given in accordance with the form prescribed by the Secretary, stating that the right to compensation is controverted, the name of the claimant, the name of the employer, the date of the alleged injury or death and the grounds for controversion. See LS-207, Notice of Controversion. The fact that claimant and his attorney are aware of employer’s position does not affect the duty to file a notice; the Department of Labor must be notified. Rowe v. Western Pacific Dredging, 12 BRBS 427, 434 (1980).
The Board has held that the title of the document is not determinative of whether employer has complied with Section 14(d). If a document contains all the information required by Section 14(d), it may be considered equivalent to a notice of controversion. White v. Rock Creek Ginger Ale Co., 17 BRBS 75 (1984); Spencer, 16 BRBS at 209. In Spencer, 16 BRBS 205, the Board held that employer’s pre-hearing statement, which included all of the relevant information, constituted the notice of controversion. In White, the Board held that a notice of suspension of payments which includes all the information required by Section 14(d) is the functional equivalent of a notice of controversion. Accord Hite v. Dresser Guiberson Pumping, 22 BRBS 87 (1989). The Board overruled the decision in Garner v. Olin Corp., 11 BRBS 502 (1979), to the extent it was inconsistent with this holding. In Garner, after affirming a Section 14(e) assessment, but limiting it to benefits due between the date a controversy arose and the date a controversion was filed several months later, the Board rejected employer’s argument that its notice of suspension of compensation filed within 14 days satisfied Section 14(d), stating that a notice of suspension would not necessarily contain all of the information required by that section. Accord James v. Sol Salins, Inc., 13 BRBS 762 (1981).
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