SAIF v. Thompson

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Workers Compensation
  • Date Filed: 12-03-2014
  • Case #: A152618
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Sercombe, P.J. for the Court; Tookey, J.; & Schuman, S.J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under ORS 656.802(4), the “clear and convincing” standard of proof required to rebut the firefighter’s presumption under Workers Comp law does not require the defendant to prove an alternative cause of the condition, only that it’s asserted claim is “highly probable.”

SAIF Corporation appealed a Workers’ Compensation Board’s compensation award in which it reversed the Administrative Law Judge’s (ALJ) denial of compensation. Thompson filed an occupational disease claim after suffering a heart attack and undergoing successful surgery. The ALJ found SAIF successfully rebutted the firefighter’s presumption by offering expert testimony that Thompson’s injury could not have been caused by the stress resulting from being a firefighter. The Board reversed, holding that SAIF’s expert witness had not established any alternative theories for the cause of the injury, which resulted in SAIF’s failure to satisfy its burden of proof. The Court held that the Board had misapplied the standard of proof necessary to rebut the firefighter presumption. Reversed.

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