510 P.2d 587 (Or.App. 1973), McDowell v. State Acc. Ins. Fund

Citation:510 P.2d 587, 13 Or.App. 389
Opinion Judge:THORNTON, J.
Party Name:In the Matter of the Compensation of Charles McDowell, Claimant. Charles McDOWELL, Respondent, v. STATE ACCIDENT INSURANCE FUND, Appellant.
Attorney:Al J. Laue, Assistant Attorney General, Salem, argued the cause for appellant. With him on the brief were Lee Johnson, Attorney General, and John W. Osburn, Solicitor General, Salem. James B. Griswold, Portland, argued the cause and filed the brief for respondent.
Case Date:May 31, 1973
Court:Court of Appeals of Oregon
 
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510 P.2d 587 (Or.App. 1973)

13 Or.App. 389

In the Matter of the Compensation of Charles McDowell, Claimant.

Charles McDOWELL, Respondent,

v.

STATE ACCIDENT INSURANCE FUND, Appellant.

Court of Appeals of Oregon.

May 31, 1973

Argued and Submitted May 7, 1973.

Al J. Laue, Asst. Atty. Gen., Salem, argued the cause for appellant. With him on the [13 Or.App. 390] brief were Lee Johnson, Atty. Gen., and John W. Osburn, Sol. Gen., Salem.

James B. Griswold, Portland, argued the cause and filed the brief for respondent.

Before SCHWAB, C.J., and LANGTRY and THORNTON, JJ.

THORNTON, Judge.

Two questions are presented by this workmen's compensation appeal:

(1) May a claimant who was awarded permanent total disability prior to the 1965 amendments to the Workmen's Compensation Law appeal from an own-motion order of the Workmen's Compensation Board issued in 1971 reducing claimant's award to permanent partial disability, and, if so, (2) may claimant prosecute such appeal against the State Accident Insurance Fund rather than the Workmen's Compensation Board?

Defendant, State Accident Insurance Fund (SAIF), appeals from a jury verdict which found the claimant permanently and totally disabled.

Claimant's compensable injuries occurred in 1946, 1953 and 1954. In 1955 claimant and the State Industrial Accident Commission entered into a stipulated judgment finding claimant to be permanently and totally disabled as a result of his accidents.

In 1971 the Workmen's Compensation Board, at the request of the State Accident Insurance Fund, reexamined claimant's case pursuant to the Board's own-motion power. The Board then entered an own-motion order finding claimant no longer permanently and [13 Or.App. 391] totally disabled, and reducing claimant's award to permanent partial disability equal to 145 degrees.

Claimant, being dissatisfied with the reduction in his award, sought review. The

Page 588

issues raised on this appeal center on the propriety of the review procedure followed by claimant.

In 1965 the Oregon legislature extensively revised the Workmen's Compensation Law. See, Oregon Laws 1965, ch. 285, p. 560. Before the 1965 amendments, the Workmen's Compensation Law was administered by a single agency, the State Industrial Accident Commission (SIAC).

In addition to its other functions, SIAC had the power to enter own-motion orders. See, former ORS 656.278(1) (1953).

Under the revised law the administrative functions were divided between the State Compensation Department, now the State Accident Insurance Fund (SAIF), and the Workmen's Compensation Board. Essentially, SAIF now functions as an insurance fund, and also makes initial determinations on the compensability and extent of industrial accidents. 1 See, ORS 656.262, 656.268(1), 656.632 to 656.646. So far as we are here concerned, the Board operates as a quasi-judicial agency reviewing the determinations made by SAIF, or by a direct responsibility employer. See, ORS 656.268 et seq.

Included within the Board's jurisdiction is the power to enter own-motion orders. See, ORS 656.278(1) (1971).

[13 Or.App. 392] The 1965 amendments included a provision intended to define the procedures applicable to claims arising before the fully effective date of the Act. 2 This provision, which was not included in Oregon Revised Statutes, states in pertinent part:

'(1) Subject to the provisions of subsections (2) to (5) of this section, all proceedings, rights and remedies with respect to injuries that occurred before the fully operative date prescribed...

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