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Butcher v. SAIF

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 01-25-2012
Case #: A139877
Schuman, P.J. for the Court; Brewer, C.J.; & Wollheim, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/A139877.pdf

Workers Compensation: Following a modification of a worker's compensation claim, the employee is entitled to total disability compensation as authorized by her doctor, regardless of whether the curative treatment was in the place of hospitalization.

Butcher injured and received treatment for her back in 1986. In 2005, she sought treatment again, and on June 17, 2005, her doctor authorized her not to work. Butcher then asked SAIF to modify her 1986 claim to include her 2005 injury, a lumbar sacral strain/sprain. SAIF accepted her claim, but did not pay her temporary disability compensation. The Workers’ Compensation Board upheld SAIF’s decision. Butcher appealed to the Court of Appeals. SAIF claimed Butcher incorrectly relied on a section of the statute; a section that required that curative treatment must be “in lieu of hospitalization.” The Court determined that SAIF’s reading of the statute was incorrect, as there was no such requirement in this section of the statute. Moreover, the plain language of the statute did not support SAIF’s reading. Lastly, the Court determined that the legislative intent behind the statute did not support SAIF’s position. As such, the Court determined that Butcher was entitled to temporary disability compensation commensurate to the amount of time her doctor authorized. Reversed and remanded.