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SAIF Corp. v. Satterfield

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 03-27-2013
Case #: A148357
Sercombe, J. for the Court; Haselton, C.J.; and Ortega, P.J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A148357.pdf

Workers Compensation: A report issued a year after injury indicating increased functioning is new information under OAR 436-120-0350.

While working as a carpenter for McIntyre, Satterfield seriously injured his right wrist. Shortly thereafter, an occupational therapist and a hand surgeon examined Satterfield and determined his injury precluded him from performing the essential tasks of a carpenter. SAIF determined that Satterfield was eligible for vocational assistance. A year later, two doctors conducted tests and found that although Satterfield expressed that he was in pain, there was no objective indicator that he could not return to work as a carpenter. As a result, SAIF terminated Satterfield’s vocational assistance. Satterfield requested administrative review, and a medical arbiter panel found that the use of Satterfield’s wrist was not significantly limited. A vocational reviewer set aside SAIF’s decision terminating vocational assistance, and an ALJ affirmed that decision, finding that the three reports indicating that Satterfield could return to work were not new information under OAR 436-120-0350 and should not be considered. SAIF and McIntyre appealed, arguing that the three reports issued a year after the injury were not reexaminations of preexisting facts but new objective findings based on examinations and testing. The Court found that the three reports indicate increased functioning, which are included as “new evidence” or “new information.” The reports should have been considered in reviewing SAIF’s decision to terminate vocational assistance. Reversed and remanded.