Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re Compensation of Guild

Court of Appeals of Oregon

May 16, 2018

In the Matter of the Compensation of Timothy C. Guild, Claimant.
v.
SAIF CORPORATION and Hill Meat Company, Respondents. Timothy C. GUILD, Petitioner,

          Argued and submitted April 4, 2017

          Workers' Compensation Board 1500066OM

          R. Adian Martin argued the cause and fled the briefs for petitioner.

          Elaine Schooler argued the cause and fled the brief for respondents.

          Before DeHoog, Presiding Judge, and Hadlock, Judge, and Schuman, Senior Judge.

         Case Summary: Claimant seeks judicial review of an order of the Workers' Compensation Board (board) denying his request for permanent total disability benefits. Claimant argues that the board unreasonably rejected his attending physician's medical opinion that claimant is completely physically disabled on the ground that the doctor had also commented on claimant's age, his education, and job availability. Held: The board's finding that claimant did not prove complete physical disability was not supported by substantial evidence because no reasonable person, properly viewing the record as a whole, could make that finding. Further, the board failed to adequately explain its reasons for rejecting the doctor's opinion; as a result, the board's order lacked substantial reason.

         Reversed and remanded.

          [291 Or.App. 794] DEHOOG, P. J.

         Claimant seeks judicial review of an order of the Workers' Compensation Board (board) denying his request for permanent total disability (PTD) benefits. Claimant argues that the board unreasonably rejected his attending physician's medical opinion that claimant is completely physically disabled on the ground that the doctor had also commented on claimant's age, his education, and job availability. According to claimant, the board's order was therefore not supported by substantial evidence. In response, respondents assert that substantial evidence supports the board's finding that claimant was not completely physically disabled. We conclude that the board's finding was not supported by substantial evidence because no reasonable person, properly viewing the record as a whole, could make that finding. We further conclude that the board failed to adequately explain its reasons for rejecting the doctor's opinion; as a result, the board's order lacked substantial reason. We therefore reverse and remand.

         We take the relevant facts from the unchallenged findings of fact in the board's order and undisputed evidence in claimant's medical records. Claimant worked at a meat packing plant (respondent Hill Meat Company) as a kitchen manager, a position that involved both physical labor and supervisory duties. Respondent SAIF Corporation was the workers' compensation insurer for the plant. In April 2004, claimant sustained a compensable right shoulder injury. After recovering from the resulting surgery, claimant self-limited for a period of time before returning to full duty work. SAIF accepted a claim for "complex tear of the anterior portion of the glenoid, right shoulder" and, in November 2004, a Notice of Closure awarded claimant no permanent partial disability benefits. Claimant's aggravation rights for the 2004 injury claim expired in November 2009.

         Claimant sustained another compensable right shoulder injury in July 2010, and, in December of that year, underwent surgery to treat that injury. In April 2011, Dr. Fry became claimant's attending physician. He opined at that time that it was very unlikely that claimant would ever return to his previous employment. Also in April 2011, SAIF [291 Or.App. 795] denied several conditions as not compensably related to the 2010 injury. After an initial denial of permanent partial disability benefits, a November 2011 Order on Reconsideration modified that award to 12 percent whole person impairment for the 2010 injury. The parties later entered into a Claim Disposition Agreement in which claimant fully released all benefits arising from the 2010 injury, except medical service-related benefits.

         In July 2014, SAIF voluntarily reopened and accepted claimant's Own Motion claim for a "post-aggravation rights" new or omitted medical condition (traumatic arthritis of the right shoulder) relating to claimant's 2004 injury. At that time, Fry opined that claimant was completely physically disabled due to his right shoulder and would be off work permanently. Fry opined that claimant's shoulder disability was approximately 75 percent due to his 2004 injury, 15 percent to his nonwork activities, and 10 percent to his 2010 injury. In February 2015, Fry again opined that claimant was completely physically disabled by his right shoulder condition and that correction was not possible. As detailed below, Fry wrote in his chart notes that claimant could not work because of chronic pain, atrophy, and loss of range of motion.

         Finally, in April 2015, claimant's attorney sent Fry a "concurrence letter" that summarized an earlier conversation between the two professionals. The letter instructed Fry that, if he "agree[d] with the contents" of the letter, he should check the appropriate box and sign the letter before returning it to the attorney. Among other matters discussed below, the letter stated that claimant's newly accepted arthritis condition rendered him permanently totally disabled. The letter also stated, "Given [claimant's] age, educational background and his injury you do not believe there are any jobs out there he could do." The letter concluded with, "You do not believe it is likely [claimant] is employable now or at anytime [sic] in the future." Fry checked "yes" and signed the letter.

         SAIF's August 2015 Own Motion Notice of Closure denied claimant PTD benefits for the "post-aggravation rights" new or omitted medical condition (traumatic arthritis [291 Or.App. 796] of his right shoulder) relating to claimant's 2004 injury claim. Claimant appealed that denial. The ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.