Corkum v. Bi-Mart Corp.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Employment Law
  • Date Filed: 05-28-2015
  • Case #: A153295
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Sercombe, P.J. for the Court; Hadlock, J.; & Tookey, J.

Under ORS 656.005(24)(c), a condition renders the worker more susceptible to an injury when it is a passive contribution (e.g. age, gender, weight) which does not have its own independent, active pathological impact on the body part.

Claimant appealed a judgment from the Workers’ Compensation Board that dismissed his claim for workers’ compensation relating to his hernia. The Board decided that his claim could be dismissed, even though it was a type of injury on which a claim could be made. The Board dismissed because the injury stemmed from a pre-existing condition and the work incident did not amount to a materially contributing cause to the injury. Claimant argued that the Board improperly relied upon the testimony of the expert witness, because the condition of abdominal wall weakness was not a pre-existing condition, but in fact was a condition that made him more susceptible to hernias. Under ORS 656.005(24)(c), if a condition merely renders a worker more susceptible to an injury then it is not a pre-existing condition. A pre-existing condition exists if the contribution to the injury is an active contribution, and not a passive one. Based on the testimony of the expert witness and the ruling of the Board, the Court held that the factors relied upon in determining the cause of the injury were passive contributions, and therefore were not pre-existing conditions. The Board had incorrectly relied on there being pre-existing conditions in their ruling. Reversed and remanded.

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