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In re Compensation of Bledsoe

Court of Appeals of Oregon

December 4, 2019

In the Matter of the Compensation of Jared L. Bledsoe, Claimant.
v.
CITY OF LINCOLN CITY, Respondent. Jared L. BLEDSOE, Petitioner,

          Argued and submitted August 21, 2019

          Workers' Compensation Board 1702447, 1702259

          Paul B. Meadowbrook argued the cause and fled the briefs for petitioner.

          Howard R. Nielsen argued the cause for respondent. Also on the brief was Bohy Conratt, LLP.

          Before DeHoog, Presiding Judge, and Egan, Chief Judge, and Mooney, Judge. [*]

         Case Summary:

         Claimant seeks review of an order of the Workers' Compensation Board contending that the board erred in allowing employer to offset claimant's permanent partial disability award by an amount that employer asserts it overpaid claimant for temporary total disability. Held: The record before the board does not permit a finding that claimant received an overpayment of benefits for temporary total disability. Therefore, employer was not entitled to take an offset.

         Reversed and remanded.

         [301 Or.App. 12] EGAN, C. J.

         Claimant seeks review of an order of the Workers' Compensation Board, contending that the board erred in allowing employer City of Lincoln City to offset claimant's permanent partial disability award by the amount that employer asserts it overpaid claimant for temporary total disability. For the reasons described here, we conclude that the board erred in approving the offset of benefits, and we therefore reverse.

         The facts are undisputed. Claimant, who worked for employer as a police officer, has a compensable claim for post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from a work incident in August 2014. After claim acceptance, employer issued a notice of closure on March 9, 2016, setting forth a medically stationary date of November 12, 2014, and a period of temporary total disability ending on November 12, 2014. Claimant sought reconsideration, checking a box on the reconsideration request form asserting that the claim had been closed prematurely. Claimant did not check a box on the form disputing the duration of temporary disability.

         On reconsideration, the Appellate Review Unit (ARU) agreed with claimant that closure had been premature and set aside the notice of closure. Employer resumed payment of temporary total disability benefits. See OAR 436-060-0020(8) ("If a closure * * * has been found to be premature and there was an open ended authorization of temporary disability at the time of closure, the insurer must begin payments under ORS 656.262, including retroactive periods, and pay temporary disability for as long as authorization exists or until there are other lawful bases to terminate temporary disability").

         On September 9, 2016, employer issued a second notice of closure, setting forth a medically stationary date of August 1, 2015, and a period of temporary total disability through July 17, 2015. Claimant again sought reconsideration, again asserting that the claim had been prematurely closed; and again, claimant did not check the box challenging the duration of temporary disability. On November 8, 2016, the ARU agreed with claimant once again that the claim had been prematurely closed and set aside the notice [301 Or.App. 13] of closure. Employer resumed payment of temporary total disability benefits.

         On February 27, 2017, employer issued a third notice of closure. Once again, the notice stated that claimant had become medically stationary on August 1, 2015, and that claimant's period of temporary disability ran through July 17, 2015. Claimant sought reconsideration, again asserting that the claim had been closed prematurely. Claimant also asserted that he was not yet medically stationary. Claimant did not check the box on the reconsideration request form challenging the duration of temporary disability. The ARU, in its reconsideration order, extended claimant's medically stationary date to ...


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