Court broadens appeal rights for injured state workers

Author Subject: Court broadens appeal rights for injured state workers
Del Posted At 11:21:04 12/15/2000
In what is now becoming routine, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled on Thursday, December 14, 2000 that another provision of workers' compensation law is unconstitutional. We are still awaiting word on "Smothers" although this ruling further increases the likelihood that that ruling will be favorable to Oregon workers.

The claimant (injured worker) argued that the 1995 amendments to the claim closure process (Mannix and Derfler's SB 369) violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, because they deprived him of an oral evidentiary hearing, including the right to appear, to present live testimony, and to cross-examine adverse witnesses in meeting his burden of proof and persuasion regarding an award of PTD (permanent total disability) benefits.

This Court reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals and the order of the Workers' Compensation Board. The case was remanded to the Workers' Compensation Board for further proceedings.

Why do our elected officials and those most senior in the Department of Consumer and Business Services continue these policies that deprive Oregon workers of their state and federal constitutional rights? Also considering the overall negative picture portrayed in the Ed Welch report, one would think that finally they would honor their moral and ethical obligation to protect Oregonians from such abridgement.

The Court stated this from another ruling. "the Constitution recognizes higher values than speed and efficiency. Indeed, one might fairly say of the * * * Due Process Clause in particular, that [it was] designed to protect the fragile values of a vulnerable citizenry from the overbearing concern for efficiency and efficacy that may characterize praiseworthy government officials no less, and perhaps more, than mediocre ones."

This important ruling can be read at

The following is the article in the Oregonian. The article ignored the fact that present standards and reality have made it virtually impossible to receive PTD. The article is in the Metro section on page B7, December 15, 2000.

Court broadens appeal rights for injured state workers

SALEM - A law that prevents injured workers who claim total and permanent disabilities from having hearings on their appeals is unconstitutional, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

In a unanimous ruling, the court said a 1995 state workers' compensation law allowing only written evidence in appeals by injured workers denies them due process rights under the U.S. Constitution.

Although significant for broadening appeal rights, the ruling will have little apparent effect on the overall workload of the workers' compensation system.

The system approved 24 permanent, total disability awards in 1999 and rescinded 11, for a net increase of only 13 cases, according to the Department of Consumer and Business Service. The number of awards granted has dropped sharply since the mid-1980s, when the legislature began to tighten requirements for disability claims.

- The Associated Press
Tarzan Re: Court broadens appeal rights for injured state workers (Currently 0 replies)
Posted At 11:32:12 12/15/2000

The system is geared to save the insurance companies money.

I find it hard to imagine only 13 people disabled this year, I thought I was eligible, no, too dumb, too smart, too something.

Every step of the way, they are saying you are lying, and not hurt, and it's all about fraud, and saving the insurance company money. Your not trying hard enough.


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