Casey v. City of Portland

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Administrative Law
  • Date Filed: 04-20-2016
  • Case #: A15S2297
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Armstrong, P.J.; Hadlock, C.J.; Egan, J.

If an employer expressly reserves an employee's right to maintain a second action or proceeding at the time of its first denial of a worker’s compensation claim, the initial denial has no preclusive effect on an employee’s subsequent claim.

In 2010, the City of Portland (employer) denied an employee’s worker’s compensation claim on the ground that it was precluded by employer’s previous 2002 denial of a related claim. The Worker’s Compensation Board upheld that denial. The employee requested a hearing with an ALJ, who upheld the 2010 denial because the 2002 denial was a final decision of law once employee failed to appeal the decision. On appeal, the employee argued that because employer’s 2002 denial expressly reserved employee’s right to have his later claim “reconsidered for possible acceptance,” claim preclusion did not bar employee’s 2010 claim. The 2002 denial was made through written notice which contained “boiler plate” language of the statutory requirements for an appeal of the decision. It also stated, “if in the future you are diagnosed with a condition . . . related to this exposure . . . your claim will be reconsidered for possible acceptance.” The Court held that although employee did lose the right to contest the denial of his claim as it existed at the time of the employer’s initial denial, employee still maintained the right to have that claim reassessed upon the satisfaction of a future condition. Therefore, the Court held that Worker’s Compensation Board erred in upholding the denial of employee’s 2010 claim because employer reserved employee’s right to seek reconsideration of his claim in the future. Reversed and remanded.

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