Lance Johnson

Third Party Election Letters: Administrative Rule Changes Effective April 1, 2014

lance johnsonOAR 438-011-0055, effective April 1, 2014, mandates a new procedure for notifying claimants of third party election rights. Paying agencies must serve a written election demand by registered or certified mail or by personal service upon the claimant. The demand must include an informational disclosure complying with Board Bulletin #2. Additionally, the paying agency must ensure the claimant understands the meaning of the letter if he/she is unable to read or comprehend English or otherwise unable to understand written language. This is similar to CDA requirements, but does cause concern for compliance with illiterate or less illiterate claimants. Below is the complete text of the rule along with a link to the enclosure. 438-011-0055 Third Party Election Letter (1)… Continue reading

Drivers Selling Employer’s Products are “Subject Workers.”

lance johnsonThe Court of Appeals decided RJ Enterprises LLC of Oregon v. Department of Consumer and Business Services, February 27, 2013. The employer sought review of a Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) order upholding audit billings for workers’ compensation premiums for truck drivers. It argued the drivers that delivered its products were independent contractors, as specified in the contract. The Court disagreed. The employer is a frozen meat distributing company which uses truck-drivers to deliver its products. Although the drivers make their own schedules and delivery routes, they lease their trucks and are paid on a commission basis from the employer. SAIF determined the drivers are “subject workers” not independent contractors. An ALJ… Continue reading

Court Rules Claimants’ Attorneys Need More Money

lance johnsonIn SAIF v. Crystal L. DeLeon (06/28/2012), the Supreme Court held a claimant’s attorney is entitled to an attorney fee whenever the insurer initiates any level of review and the claimant ultimately prevails at any subsequent level. The party initiating the final level of review is no longer of consequence. The Court concluded “the legislature intended that, when a claimant obtains an award of compensation and an insurer initiates one of the listed forms of request for review of that award before one of the listed tribunals, and the final tribunal to consider the issue determines that the award should not be disallowed or reduced, the claimant is entitled to attorney fees….”