In re Compensation of Jones, 060517 ORWC, 15-01436

Docket Nº:WCB 15-01436
Case Date:June 05, 2017
Court:Oregon
 
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In the Matter of the Compensation of TRACY A. JONES, Claimant
WCB No. 15-01436
Oregon Worker Compensation
June 5, 2017
          Edward J Hill, Claimant Attorneys           Reinisch Wilson Weier, Defense Attorneys           Reviewing Panel: Members Lanning and Curey.[1]           ORDER ON RECONSIDERATION          On March 31, 2017, we abated our March 15, 2017 order that affirmed an Administrative Law Judge’s (ALJ’s) order that set aside the self-insured employer’s denials of claimant’s current combined left shoulder condition. We took this action in response to the parties’ request to address the effect of the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. SAIF, 361 Or. 241 (March 30, 2017). Having received the parties’ supplemental arguments, we proceed with our reconsideration.          After further consideration in light of the recent Brown decision, we continue to find that the employer’s “ceases” denial should be set aside. We reason as follows.          In Brown, the court concluded that the correct inquiry under ORS 656.262(6)(c) was whether the previously accepted condition (rather than the work-related injury incident) remained the major contributing cause of the claimant’s disability or need for treatment of the combined condition. 361 Or. at 282. Therefore, a carrier may deny the accepted combined condition if the “otherwise compensable injury” (i.e., the medical condition that the carrier previously accepted) ceases to be the major contributing cause of the combined condition. Id.          The word “ceases” presumes a change in the worker’s condition or circumstances such that the “otherwise compensable injury” is no longer the major contributing cause of the disability or need for treatment of the combined condition. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Young, 219 Or.App. 410, 419 (2008). Thus, in accordance with the Brown rationale, to support its denial under ORS 656.262(6)(c), the employer must prove a change in claimant’s condition or circumstances such that the previously accepted left shoulder trapezius strain ceased to be the major contributing cause of the disability or need for treatment for the combined left shoulder condition. ORS 656.262(6)(c); ORS 656.266(2)(a); Brown, 361 Or. at 282.          The causation issue...

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