In re Compensation of Schreiber, 112219 ORWC, 18-03975

Docket Nº:WCB 18-03975, 18-03769, 18-02466, 18-02467
Case Date:November 22, 2019
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
          Guinn Law Team, Claimant Attorneys           MacColl Busch Sato PC, Defense Attorneys           Reviewing Panel: Members Lanning and Woodford.           ORDER ON REVIEW          The 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.          We adopt and affirm the ALJ’s order with the following supplementation to address the employer’s “combined condition” argument.[1]          The 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 (2010).          The 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.          For the 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...

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