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Hunter v. Saif Corporation

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 12-07-2011
Case #: A140887
Duncan, J. for the Court; Haselton, P.J.; and Armstrong, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/A140887.pdf

Workers Compensation: A Workers' Compensation Board decision is not supported by substantial evidence when a medical expert's opinions are disregarded without the board supplying any reason for doing so.

Hunter filed a workers' compensation claim in 2005 claiming he suffered from medial compartment degeneration in his left knee. Hunter underwent a medical examination from Dr. James who reported that it was his strong opinion that a 1977 employment accident caused the degenerative condition in Hunter’s left knee. Hunter’s employer subsequently denied his claim. After an administrative law judge (ALJ) set aside the employer’s denial, the Workers' Compensation Board (board) reversed the ALJ, holding that Hunter failed to establish that the degenerative condition in his left knee was caused by a work-related injury. Hunter appealed, arguing that the board’s order was not supported by substantial evidence. The Court of Appeals agreed, stating that Dr. James presented medical evidence that, in his strong opinion, the 1977 accident caused the degenerative condition. The board disregarded the medical opinion without explaining its reasons for doing so, thus not supporting the decision with substantial evidence. Reversed and remanded.