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Tentative significant decisions

All dockets are in Adobe Acrobat/PDF format

February 2019

Total Disability/Light Duty Offers/Undocumented Immigrant Workers
The worker obtained employment using a false social security number, then sustained an industrial injury The worker said she would accept the employer's light-duty job if she didn't have to provide proper identification. The employer could not allow her to work under that condition. The Department terminated time-loss compensation and issued an overpayment. The Board held that the light duty job offer was bona fide and within the worker's physical restrictions, and the failure to check citizenship status at the time of her original employment application doesn't bear on the issues presented. Federal law requires the employer to only check certain documents to establish a person's eligibility to work, and the worker used the false social security number to obtain employment. The inability to provide proof of employment for the light duty job was the cause of her inability to take the new job, not the industrial injury. Therefore, the time-loss denial and overpayment are affirmed.
In re Patricia Valentin, Dckt. No. 17 10974 (February 7, 2019)

March 2019

Hearsay
The Board agreed with the IAJ's holding that the worker failed to prove a need for further treatment. The Board issued the D&O to reverse an evidentiary ruling. When an expert witness testifies and references an out-of-court assertion by another expert and there is no objection lodged to the statement, the content of the statement is admissible as substantive evidence, not only as an ER 703 foundation for the witness's opinion.
In re Leticia Sanchez Jimenez, Dckt. No. 18 21048 (March 1, 2019)

May 2019

Willful Misrepresentation
The Board agreed with the IAJ that the worker didn't obtain benefits through willful misrepresentation when she failed to disclose a post-industrial injury sexual assault. The Board issued this D&O to address the issue of innocent misrepresentation, holding that the worker failed to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that she was otherwise entitled to time-loss compensation during the period at issue.
In re Jennifer M. Bond, Dckt. No. 18 11296 (May 23, 2019)

Standard of Review/Abuse of Discretion Standard
The Board held that once the Department director grants any disability benefits in an over-seven reopened claim, the director's grant or denial of other specific benefits must be reviewed under a preponderance of the evidence standard of review.
In re George H. Higgins Sr., Dckt. No. 17 16301 (May 29, 2019) [dissent]

June 2019

Somatic Syndrome Disorder
Because the plain language of WAC 296-14-300(3) doesn't apply to injury claims, the Board doesn't reach the question of whether the Department had authority to promulgate the regulation.
In re Martha E. Perez, Dckt. No. 18 10694 (June 7, 2019)

September 2019

Equitable Estoppel
The Board held that the facts in cases needn't be identical to facts presented to the courts in prior cases. "We are fully capable of granting equitable relief within the guidelines set by our courts when we are confident that the courts would grant the same relief—without needing the facts before us to be nearly identical to those in a published court decision."
In re Lyle R. Applegate, Dckt. No. 18 16730 (September 13, 2019)