Yi v. City of Portland
Case #: A149936
Hadlock, J., for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; and Sercombe, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A149936.pdf
Workers Compensation: Claim preclusion applies where the facts that entitled the plaintiff to relief in the first action are the same in the second action, and are of such a nature that they could have been joined in the first action.
Yi sought review of a Workers' Compensation Board order that upheld employer's denial of claimant's combined-condition claim. The claimant suffered a lumbar strain at work in April 2007. Post-injury medical examinations revealed that Yi needed treatment because of the lumbar strain combined with a preexisting condition. Employer denied Yi’s claim in 2007, 2009 and again in 2010 on the basis that the lumbar strain was not the major contributing cause of his disability. After the first two claims were denied by the employer but then set aside by the Workers Compensation Board and an ALJ, Yi asked the employer to issue a notice of closure and determine impairment in 2010. Yi received a medical evaluation concluding that there had been no change since his evaluation in 2007, and that his residual symptoms were due to the preexisting condition. This report resulted in the employer’s third denial in 2010. Yi requested a hearing asserting that the third denial was barred by claim preclusion, but the ALJ rejected the claim preclusion argument. On review, the Court held claim preclusion applies because the facts on which the employer relied in denying compensability are the same facts it relied on in denying the claimant’s two previous claims. The Court found the only difference between the three denials was dates of the denials, but dates are not part of the facts relied upon by the employer.