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Providence Health System Oregon v. Walker

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 09-26-2012
Case #: A145132
Duncan, J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; and Haselton, C.J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/Publications/A145132.pdf

Administrative Law: ORS 656.262(7)(c) requires an insurer or self-insured employer to reopen a claim for processing upon "any finding" of compensability, regardless of any appeal or possibility of review. Additionally, a penalty and attorneys fees cannot be imposed when the employer had a legitimate doubt as to its obligations.

Providence Health System Oregon (Employer) appealed the Workers' Compensation Board's (Board) decision that required Employer to reopen and process an employee's claim for an omitted condition. Because the Board determined that the employer had no "legitimate doubt" about its obligation to reopen and process the employee's claim, the Board awarded attorneys fees to employee and assessed a penalty against employer. The Court of Appeals found that ORS 656.262(7)(c) required reopening of the claim upon "any finding" of compensability, regardless of any appeal or possibility of review. Thus, the Board did not err by finding the employer should have reopened and processed the claim after an ALJ found the claim was compensable. As for the penalty and attorney fees, the Court found that since there was room for legitimate doubt as to employer's obligation under ORS 656.262(7)(c), the award of attorney fees and a penalty was improper because it was not supported by substantial evidence. Reversed.