Hamilton v. SAIF

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Workers Compensation
  • Date Filed: 12-30-2015
  • Case #: A151151
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Egan, J., for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; & Nakamoto, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

The issue of whether a request for hearing is timely is a jurisdictional issue and must be decided by the Worker's Compensation Board as a threshold issue if presented as an issue in the original claim.

Hamilton was denied a SAIF claim related to a pain in her wrist. Hamilton requested review before an ALJ, arguing that her claim was timely and compensable. SAIF disputed whether her injury was caused by work. The only evidence at the hearing were exhibits documenting expert medical opinions and Hamilton’s testimony. The ALJ concluded that the request for hearing was untimely and dismissed Hamilton’s claim. Hamilton appealed to the Worker’s Compensation Board, which upheld the denial of the claim. Hamilton requested reconsideration, arguing that the Board did not decide the issue of timeliness. The Board issued an order explaining that it was unnecessary to decide the timeliness issue because she was not entitled to compensation on the merits of her claim. Hamilton appealed to the Oregon Court of Appeals. SAIF argued that the issue of timeliness was moot because it expressly affirmed the ALJ’s order. The court held that SAIF’s rejection of Hamilton’s claim was on the merits, not because of the issue of timeliness. The court thereby determined that the board did not decide the issue of timeliness, and therefore could not consider the merits of the claim. Reversed and remanded.

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