In the Matter of the Compensation of William W. Hoffnagle, Claimant.
William W. HOFFNAGLE, Respondent. SHEARER'S FOODS, Petitioner,
and Submitted February 9, 2016
Compensation Board 1301384
P. Keene argued the cause for petitioner. With him on the
briefs was Oregon Workers' Compensation Institute, LLC.
M. Quinn argued the cause and fled the brief for respondent.
Ortega, Presiding Judge, and Lagesen, Judge, and Garrett,
summary: Employer seeks judicial review of an order of the
Workers' Compensation Board that set aside employer's
denial of claimant's conditions. The Board determined
that, within a letter denying a new injury, the employer also
accepted a new condition for an earlier injury. On review,
employer contends that the Board's order is fawed because
the letter at issue was solely a denial of a new injury, and
not an acceptance of anything. Held: The Board did
not err. Whether a condition was accepted is a question of
fact that is reviewed deferentially under the
"substantial evidence" standard, which includes
substantial reason. Substantial evidence supports the
Board's determination that the letter at issue served
more than one function, operating as a denial of a new injury
claim but an acceptance of a new condition associated with
the original injury.
question in this case is whether the Workers'
Compensation Board erred when it concluded that employer
accepted a condition concerning an original injury in the
context of a letter denying a new injury. Employer argues
that the board's reasoning is flawed because the letter
at issue was clearly, unambiguously, and exclusively a
denial- not an acceptance of anything. We conclude that,
under the circumstances, the board could reasonably disagree.
Accordingly, we affirm.
the facts from the board's September 3, 2014, order on
reconsideration. Claimant slipped and fell at work on June 7,
2012. On August 1, 2012, employer accepted a claim for a left
hip strain. Several weeks later, on September 10, claimant
was working when he felt a pop and a sharp pain in his lower
back. Claimant filed a claim for a new injury (lower back
strain) as well as a "Form 827" reporting an
aggravation of his June 2012 injury.
September, claimant had a telephone conversation with
employer's claims adjuster, who said that employer would
be issuing a denial of the new injury but that it "would
not matter" because claimant would receive benefits
under his June 2012 injury. Employer sent a letter on October
1, 2012, that stated:
"You filed a claim for a lower back injury that occurred
on 9/10/12 while you were employed with [employer]. After
careful review of the information in our file, it does not
appear that you sustained a new injury on that date.
Rather, the current condition appears to relate to your
prior injury that occurred 6112. Thus, we hereby issue a
denial of the new injury. All benefits will be paid on your
October 2012 letter also included the statement of hearing
rights that is required for a denial under OAR
438-005-0055(1). It did not include the information required
for notices of ...