71 Van Natta 1317 (2019)
In the Matter of the Compensation of RAYMOND W. SCHREIBER, JR., Claimant
WCB Nos. 18-03975, 18-03769, 18-02466, 18-02467
Oregon Worker Compensation
November 22, 2019
Law Team, Claimant Attorneys
MacColl Busch Sato PC, Defense Attorneys
Reviewing Panel: Members Lanning and Woodford.
ORDER ON REVIEW
self-insured employer requests review of Administrative Law
Judge (ALJ) Fulsher’s order that set aside its denial
of claimant’s injury claim for a left hand/palm
condition. On review, the issue is compensability.
adopt and affirm the ALJ’s order with the following
supplementation to address the employer’s
“combined condition” argument.
employer asserts that claimant’s November 16, 2017,
left hand/palm injury is a “combined condition.”
Because claimant has proven an “otherwise compensable
injury,” the burden shifts to the employer to prove
that: (1) claimant suffers from a statutory
“preexisting condition”; (2) his condition is a
“combined condition”; and (3) the
“otherwise compensable injury” is not the major
contributing cause of the disability/need for treatment of
the combined condition. ORS 656.005(7)(a)(B); ORS
656.266(2)(a); SAIF v. Kollias, 233 Or.App. 499, 505
employer argues that, because claimant has arthritis in his
left wrist, fingers, and carpometacarpal (CMC) joints, it has
established that he suffers from a statutory
“preexisting condition.” For the following
reasons, we disagree.
purposes of ORS 656.005(24)(a)(A), preexisting
“arthritis” means “the inflammation of one
or more joints, due to infectious, metabolic, or
constitutional causes, and resulting in breakdown,
degeneration, or structural change.” Hopkins v.
SAIF, 349 Or. 348, 363-64 (2010). To establish the
existence of preexisting “arthritis or an arthritic
condition,” the employer must establish by [71 Van
Natta 1318] expert testimony that claimant suffers from
“inflammation of whatever joint or joints it contends
are affected by the arthritic condition.” Id...