If you are a contractor who has been injured on the job while working overseas in Iraq, Afghanistan or on any military base across the world, your case is covered by the Defense Base Act which is an extension of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. At the Law Offices of Gillis, Mermell & Pacheco, P.A., our qualified defense base act lawyers have a combination of over 43 years of experience in representing injured workers covered by the Defense Base Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. Let us put our years of experience and our reputation to work for you today! Contact us today at mail@gmpcomplaw.com, or go on our website at www.dbalawyers.com and fill out our form on the contact us page, or call us at 305 595 3350.

Our qualified Defense Base Act Lawyers are here to help you with any questions you have regarding your DBA case. Here are some very interesting facts and case summaries regarding enforcement of orders and penalties in a DBA or Longshore case coming directly from the Longshore Deskbook from the Benefits Review Board. Let our experienced Defense Base Act Attorneys answer your questions. The Longshore Desk Book is a searchable website which is a public record. According to the Longshore Deskbook:

Section 18(a) provides that if an employer fails to pay compensation due under any award for a period of 30 days after the compensation is due, the claimant may, within one year after the default, request that the deputy commissioner issue a supplemental order declaring the amount due. After investigation, notice, and hearing pursuant to Section 19, the deputy commissioner shall issue a supplementary order declaring the amount of the default. This order is filed in the same manner as the compensation order, and the claimant may then seek enforcement in the U.S. District Court where the injury occurred or where employer has its principal place of business or maintains an office by filing a copy of the supplementary order. It further states that “such supplementary order of the deputy commissioner shall be final, and the court shall upon the filing of the copy enter judgment for the amount declared in default by the supplementary order if such supplementary order is in accordance with law.” Section 18(a) provides for review of the district court’s order as in any other suit and for proceedings to execute the judgment. No fee shall be required for filing the supplementary order or for entry of judgment, and the claimant is not liable for costs in a proceeding for review of the judgment unless the court directs otherwise. Lastly, it states that the court shall modify such judgment to conform to any later compensation order upon presentation of a certified copy thereof to the court.

Essentially, Section 18 offers a quick and inexpensive mechanism for the prompt enforcement of unpaid compensation awards. Providence Washington Ins. Co. v. Director, OWCP, 765 F.2d 1381, 17 BRBS 135(CRT) (9th Cir. 1985); Tidelands Marine Service v. Patterson, 719 F.2d 126, 16 BRBS 10(CRT) (5th Cir. 1983). Under Section 18(a), a claimant can obtain judgment for defaulted payments due under a non-final award, i.e., one which is being appealed, or from a final order. Section 21(d) provides an alternate method for enforcement of a final order. See Section 21(d). The court in Providence Washington discussed the differences between the two methods of enforcement. See also, e.g., Cassell v. Taylor, 243 F.2d 259 (D.C. Cir. 1957); Leonard v. Walter, 356 F.Supp. 56 (D.D.C. 1973); Brown v. Avondale Industries, Inc., 46 BRBS 1 (2012).

Section 18(a) enforcement is triggered by employer’s failure to pay compensation within 30 days after it becomes due. Under the applicable procedures, a compensation order issued by an administrative law judge must be filed by the deputy commissioner/district director, 33 U.S.C. §919(e), and the order becomes effective when so filed. 33 U.S.C. §921(a); Carillo v. Louisiana Ins. Guaranty Ass’n, 559 F.3d 377, 43 BRBS 1(CRT) (5th Cir. 2009). It is final unless an appeal with the Board is filed within 30 days; however, even if an appeal is filed, the award becomes effective when filed and the payment of the amounts required by it becomes due at that time. Employer’s obligation to pay is not stayed pending final decision unless the Board grants a stay of payments on the grounds that irreparable injury to the employer would otherwise ensue. 33 U.S.C. §921(b)(3). In addition, unless a stay is granted, employer is liable for an additional 20 percent assessment on compensation not paid within 10 days after it becomes due under Section 14(f). Employer thus must pay the benefits due under an award within 10 days of the date the order is filed in the office of the deputy commissioner/district director in order to avoid this assessment.

If you have a question about enforcement of orders and penalties or any other question in your DBA or Longshore case, contact our qualified defense base act attorneys today at mail@gmpcomplaw.com, or go on our website at www.dbalawyers.com and fill out our form on the contact us page, or call us at 305 595 3350.

Clifford R. Mermell, Esq.

Clifford R. Mermell, Esq., created the law firm of Gillis, Mermell & Pacheco, P.A. on March 1, 1996. Mr. Mermell has been the senior and managing partner of the firm since its creation. The firm was created to champion the rights of injured workers nationwide. It represents cases under the Worker’s Compensation, Wrongful Termination, Personal Injury, Admiralty and Maritime, Defense Base Act, and Longshore & Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act Laws.


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