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City of Eugene v. McCann

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 03-07-2012
Case #: A146910
Hadlock, J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; and Sercombe, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/sites/Publications/A146910.pdf

Workers Compensation: Under ORS 656.802(4), cardiovascular diseases are defined as a physical impairment of the heart or blood vessels that is gradual in nature; this definition precludes symptoms of an underlying disease that do not cause physical impairment of the heart.

Under Workers' Compensation Law, there is a "firefighters' presumption" that deems certain medical conditions to be presumptively caused by employment when those conditions are suffered by individuals who have worked as firefighters for at least five years. The firefighter-claimant in this case was found to have chronic vagal syndrome. Chronic vagal syndrome is a condition that causes the claimant’s heart to beat too slowly, however the underlying cause is a nervous system disorder. Claimant therefore argued that her condition should satisfy the firefighters' presumption under the category of "cardiovascular-renal disease." The Court of Appeals held that although the term "cardiovascular-renal disease" did not have as narrow of a meaning as the employer had argued, neither did it have as broad a meaning as the Workers' Compensation Board determined. The Court of Appeals remanded the case to the Workers' Compensation Board to reconsider the case with the correct statutory standard for cardiovascular-renal disease, which is a physical impairment of the heart. Reversed and remanded.