Parsons Corp. of California v. Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, U.S. Dept. of Labor, No. 77-3626

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore BROWNING and KILKENNY, Circuit Judges, and EAST; KILKENNY
Citation619 F.2d 38
Docket NumberNo. 77-3626
Decision Date15 May 1980
PartiesPARSONS CORPORATION OF CALIFORNIA and Commercial Insurance Company of Newark, New Jersey, Petitioners, v. DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION PROGRAMS, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR and Gerald W. Gunter, Respondents.

Page 38

619 F.2d 38
PARSONS CORPORATION OF CALIFORNIA and Commercial Insurance
Company of Newark, New Jersey, Petitioners,
v.
DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION PROGRAMS, UNITED
STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR and Gerald W. Gunter,
Respondents.
No. 77-3626.
United States Court of Appeals,
Ninth Circuit.
May 15, 1980.

Page 39

B. James Finnegan, Kiernan & Finnegan, San Francisco, Cal., for petitioners.

Laurie Streeter, Gilbert Renault, U.S. Dept. of Labor, Washington, D. C., on brief; James J. Simonelli, Stockton, Cal., for respondents.

Petition for Review of an Order of the Benefits Review Board, United States Department of Labor.

Before BROWNING and KILKENNY, Circuit Judges, and EAST, District Judge. *

Page 40

KILKENNY, Circuit Judge.

STATEMENT OF THE CASE

Petitioners seek reversal of an order of the Benefits Review Board (the "Board"), which affirmed a decision of an administrative law judge allowing the claim of Gerald W. Gunter filed pursuant to the Longshoremen's and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, 44 Stat. 1424, as amended, 33 U.S.C. § 901, et seq., (the "Act"), as extended by the Defense Base Act, 55 Stat. 622, 42 U.S.C. § 1651, et seq. This court has jurisdiction pursuant to 33 U.S.C. § 921(c) and 42 U.S.C. § 1651. 1 We affirm.

BACKGROUND FACTS

Gerald W. Gunter was employed by the Parsons Corporation of California from June, 1973, to August, 1974, as a rotor blade technician at the Bien Hoa Air Force Base in Viet Nam. His work consisted of degreasing and repairing helicopter blades, and it brought him into contact with toxic chemicals such as naptha, methyl ethyl ketone, toluene, sulphuric acid and chromic acid.

In April of 1974, Gunter discovered, while reading, that the vision of his left eye was blurred. After a great deal of fruitless medical consultation and treatment, and a rapid worsening of his vision in both eyes, Gunter's condition was diagnosed as Leber's Optic Atrophy. The parties agree on this diagnosis and also on the conclusion that the disease left Gunter, for compensation purposes, totally and permanently blind. The dispute between the parties is over whether Gunter's disability was caused by his employment activities.

Leber's Optic Atrophy is a rare disease of unknown etiology which attacks the optic nerves. The disease is thought to be attributable in part to hereditary factors. However, there is no history of the disease in Gunter's family. Before the administrative law judge, the parties waged a battle of medical experts, who both testified as to the likelihood that Gunter's work environment precipitated the disease. The administrative law judge found for Gunter.

Petitioners appealed the ruling to the Benefits Review Board, arguing that the administrative law judge had applied the wrong standards for reviewing the evidence and, therefore, had not given proper weight to their evidence against causality. The Benefits Review Board affirmed the decision of the administrative law judge. Petitioners now appeal to this court.

ISSUE

The sole issue is whether petitioners presented substantial evidence to overcome the statutory presumption in favor of Gunter's claim.

DISCUSSION

Petitioners vigorously contend that the compensation award must be reversed for the reason that the administrative law judge applied an incorrect legal standard in assessing the evidence. In sum, they argue that they provided substantial evidence to rebut the statutory presumption 2 that Gunter's claim falls within the provisions of the Act. Once such substantial evidence is produced, they argue, the statutory presumption "falls out" of the case and the burden is then on Gunter to persuade the trier of fact that his disability arose from conditions

Page 41

in his work environment. Petitioners urge that the administrative law judge, while weighing all the evidence, improperly considered the burden of providing substantial evidence to overcome the statutory presumption as evidence itself. This, they conclude, was reversible error under the authority of Del Vecchio v. Bowers, 296 U.S. 280, 56 S.Ct. 190, 80 L.Ed. 229 (1935). 3

First, we note that petitioners are incorrect in their assertion that once substantial evidence is produced to...

To continue reading

Request your trial
42 practice notes
  • Office of Workers' Compensation, v. Greenwich Collieries, 93744
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 20, 1994
    ...be resolved in favor of the disabled miner"); Parsons Corp. of Cal. v. Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, Dept. of Labor, 619 F.2d 38, 41 (CA9 1980) ("statutory policy that all doubtful questions of fact be resolved in favor of the injured employee"); Hansen v. Director, Of......
  • Med-Tec, Inc. v. Kostich, No. C 97-4047-MWB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • October 28, 1997
    ...court declines to follow Burbank and Dolco. The court notes that neither the Burbank nor the Dolco decision even cite to Cascade Corp., 619 F.2d at 38, the controlling precedent in the Ninth Circuit. Furthermore, the court notes that the most recent decision from the United States District ......
  • Hensley v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, No. 79-2552
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • March 17, 1981
    ...rests with the employer or employee. Cf. Parsons Corp. of California v. Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, 619 F.2d 38, 41 (9th Cir., 1980) ("Even after the substantial evidence is produced to rebut the statutory presumption, the employer still bears the ultimate burden of ......
  • Yahoo! Inc. v. La Ligue Contre Le Racisme, No. 01-17424.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • August 23, 2004
    ...on Yahoo! in California constitute conduct expressly aimed at California. Cf. Calder, 465 U.S. at 789-90, 104 S.Ct. 1482; Cascade Corp., 619 F.2d at 38; Inamed Corp., 249 F.3d at Indeed, LICRA and UEJF expressly aimed the cease-and-desist letter, the service Page 1135 of process, and the se......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
42 cases
  • Office of Workers' Compensation, v. Greenwich Collieries, 93744
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 20, 1994
    ...be resolved in favor of the disabled miner"); Parsons Corp. of Cal. v. Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, Dept. of Labor, 619 F.2d 38, 41 (CA9 1980) ("statutory policy that all doubtful questions of fact be resolved in favor of the injured employee"); Hansen v. Director, Of......
  • Med-Tec, Inc. v. Kostich, No. C 97-4047-MWB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • October 28, 1997
    ...court declines to follow Burbank and Dolco. The court notes that neither the Burbank nor the Dolco decision even cite to Cascade Corp., 619 F.2d at 38, the controlling precedent in the Ninth Circuit. Furthermore, the court notes that the most recent decision from the United States District ......
  • Hensley v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, No. 79-2552
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • March 17, 1981
    ...rests with the employer or employee. Cf. Parsons Corp. of California v. Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, 619 F.2d 38, 41 (9th Cir., 1980) ("Even after the substantial evidence is produced to rebut the statutory presumption, the employer still bears the ultimate burden of ......
  • Yahoo! Inc. v. La Ligue Contre Le Racisme, No. 01-17424.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • August 23, 2004
    ...on Yahoo! in California constitute conduct expressly aimed at California. Cf. Calder, 465 U.S. at 789-90, 104 S.Ct. 1482; Cascade Corp., 619 F.2d at 38; Inamed Corp., 249 F.3d at Indeed, LICRA and UEJF expressly aimed the cease-and-desist letter, the service Page 1135 of process, and the se......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT