Judicial Review of an order of the Public Welfare Division.
Ronald J. Podnar, Stayton, argued the cause for petitioner. With him on the brief were Gehlen & Larimer, Stayton.
Al J. Laue, Assistant Attorney General, Salem, argued the cause for respondent. With him on the brief were Lee Johnson, Attorney General, and John W. Osburn, Solicitor General, Salem.
Thornton, Judge. Schwab, Chief Judge, and Langtry, Judge.
This is a petition for judicial review of an order of the Public Welfare Division.
The facts are not in dispute. Petitioner filed an application for an Old Age Assistance grant with the Public Welfare Division on July 7, 1969. Thereafter assistance was granted to petitioner until May 6, 1972, at which time the Division notified petitioner her grant had been suspended and that she owed the Division $203 for an overpayment.
At petitioner's request a hearing was held before a hearing officer appointed by the Division. The hearing officer rendered a decision on May 25, 1972, affirming the suspension of the grant and affirming petitioner's liability for the overpayment of $203, on the basis that petitioner was disqualified under the provisions of Executive Department Task Force Bulletin 25E.
Petitioner's sole contention on review is that inasmuch as ORS 9.320*fn1 requires that the state or a corporation must appear by an attorney in "* * * [a]ny action, suit, or proceeding," and since the Public Welfare Division was not represented by an attorney at the hearing involved, the entire hearing is null and void.
Petitioner relies on King v. Ind. Acc. Com., 211 Or 40, 309 P2d 159, 315 P2d 148, 318 P2d 272 (1957), in which our Supreme Court held that claim hearings of the accident commission were "proceedings" as used in ORS 41.900 (8), a statute similar in wording to ORS 9.320.
"(1) Where the Public Welfare Division conducts a hearing pursuant to ORS chapter 416 or the Public Welfare Division proposes to refuse, suspend or revoke a grant of general assistance as defined in subsection (4) of ORS 411.010 or a grant of public assistance as defined in subsection (5) of ORS 411.010 ...