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Washington County v. Jansen

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 02-29-2012
Case #: A144114
Armstrong, J. for the Court; Haselton, P.J.; and Duncan, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/sites/Publications/A144114.pdf

Workers Compensation: Claimant has the burden of proving that an occupation disease is still a part of a combined condition claim after a denial by the employer.

Washington County (Employer) appeals a review order in which the Workers' Compensation Board (Board) set aside its denial of Jansen's combined condition claim. Jansen filed a claim for bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome, which Employer accepted. Jansen was later diagnosed with a pre-existing psychological disorders and amended her claim to reflect these disorders. Employer then denied the claim on the basis that the carpal tunnel was not the major cause of Jansen's disability. The ALJ and Board set aside Employer's denial stating that Employer failed to prove that Jansen's carpal tunnel was no longer a major cause. The Court held that, under ORS 656.266(1), (2)(b), if the combined condition includes a compensable occupational disease, then the burden is on the claimant to show the invalidity of employer's denial. Therefore, the Board erred in placing the burden on Employer. Reversed and remanded.