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Tentative significant decisions

All dockets are in Adobe Acrobat/PDF format

January 2018

Vocational services
The director of the Department, rather than the supervisor's designee, must make a final determination regarding the provision of vocational rehabilitation services after an employer disputes an initial vocational determination.
In re Stephanie R. Kalis, Dckt. No. 17 10985 (January 2, 2018)

June 2018

Total Disability/Kept on Salary
The Board affirmed a Department order denying TLC benefits because the record shows the employer kept the worker on salary at his usual salary amount during the period at issue. To determine the adequacy of salary paid to the worker, the Board looked to the wages at time of injury, which was determined in a final and binding wage-rate order.
In re Miguel A. Escorcia, Dckt. No. 17 12979 (June 4, 2018)

Affidavits of Prejudice/Transfer of PDO after Hearings
A party attempted to affidavit a judge when the chief judge transferred the file for writing a PDO. The Board held that the right of a party to affidavit a judge applied only to the judge who conducts the hearing, not to a judge who writes the PDO, a mediator, or a review judge.
In re Gail A. Gomez, Dckt. No. 17 15610 (June 7, 2018)

T1 when an OAP Backdates Claim Closure
The Department closed the claim on May 6, 2015, and affirmed the order on September 15, 2015. On appeal, the Board issued an OAP directing the Department to close the claim effective May 6, 2015. Later, the Department issued a ministerial order closing the claim without indicating the precise date of closure. The claimant appealed, asking that the claim be closed effective May 6, 2015. The Department argues that May 6, 2015, cannot be the effective date of claim closure because it adjudicated the claim through September 15, 2015. The Board held that the date the Department last adjudicated the merits of the claim was September 15, 2015.
In re Saiola S. Muasau, Dckt. No. 17 12438 (June 28, 2018)

July 2018

Segregation of Non-Existent Undiagnosed Conditions
It is improper for the Department to segregate a nonexistent undiagnosed condition from a claim. The Board clarifies that the Department did have jurisdiction to issue the order, but it was erroneous to do so.
In re Dennis D. Johnson, Dckt. No. 17 18840 (July 2, 2018)

October 2018

Betty Wilson Significant Decision Overruled
To the extent that Betty Wilson can be applied to prohibit any further Department action on a claim once an appeal has been filed to an order, such as a segregation order, and jurisdiction over that order has passed to the Board or the courts, the decision is legally incorrect and overruled.
In re David M. Spitzner, Dckt. No. 17 24346 (October 29, 2018)

Tax/Refusal to Produce Records
The firm's one-time failure to produce records at an initial meeting does not constitute a "refusal to allow adequate inspection" by the Department under RCW 51.48.040. RCW 51.48.040 contains no time limit within which a firm must comply.
In re Mountain Terrace Builders Inc., Dckt. No. 18 10226 (October 30, 2018)