Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services, Workers' Compensation Division
Role of the Workers’ Compensation Division
(1)In any hearing, the director may request to:
(a) Receive notice of all matters;
(b) Receive copies of all documents; and
(c) Present evidence, testimony, and argument.
(2) The director may appear in a matter by filing an entry of appearance. The director may be represented by an agency representative, assistant attorney general, or special assistant attorney general as authorized by the Department of Justice. If the director enters an appearance, all notices and documents in the hearing must be provided to the director’s representative.
(a) An agency representative may represent the director in hearings held before the administrative law judges of the board to determine the correctness of:
(A) An order under ORS 656.052 (Prohibition against employment without coverage) declaring a person to be a noncomplying employer (“NCE Orders”);
(B) A nonsubjectivity determination under ORS 656.052 (Prohibition against employment without coverage) declaring either that a person is not a subject employer or is not a subject worker (“NSD Orders”);
(C) An order assessing a civil penalty under ORS 656.735 (Civil penalty for noncomplying employers), 656.740 (Review of proposed order declaring noncomplying employer or nonsubjectivity determination), 656.745 (Civil penalty for inducing failure to report claims)(2), or 656.750 (Civil penalty for failure to maintain records of compensation claims);
(D) An order under ORS 656.745 (Civil penalty for inducing failure to report claims)(1) assessing a civil penalty against an employer or insurer with prior written consent of the Attorney-in-Charge of the Business Activities Section of the Department of Justice; and
(E) An order under ORS 656.254 (Medical report forms)(2) imposing sanctions to enforce medical reporting requirements.
(b) In cases assigned to lay representatives in accordance with subsection (a), above:
(A) Lay representatives are authorized to handle all settlement negotiations related to proposed NCE Orders, NSD Orders, and civil penalty or forfeiture orders. All settlement documents will be reviewed for legal sufficiency by the Department of Justice unless they conform to a form settlement document approved by the Attorney-in-Charge of the Business Activities Section. All settlement documents submitted to the Department of Justice will be accompanied by the original proposed order and any subsequent orders issued by the division.
(B) If the division issues a worker nonsubjectivity denial instead of referring the claim to the assigned claims agent, the division’s lay representative(s) may handle settlement negotiations resulting from that worker nonsubjectivity denial. Once a request for hearing has been filed contesting that worker nonsubjectivity denial, the lay representative(s) have seven calendar days within which to finalize any pending settlement negotiations and must coordinate settlement discussions with the assigned assistant attorney general or special assistant attorney general, who will assume representation on the case. The assistant attorney general or special assistant attorney general assigned to the case may extend the seven-day time period by authorizing the lay representative(s) to continue settlement negotiations. All settlement documents will be reviewed for legal sufficiency by the attorney assigned to the case before submission to an administrative law judge.
(c) Notwithstanding subsections (a) or (b) above, and under ORS 656.704 (Actions and orders regarding matters concerning claim and matters other than matters concerning claim), the Department of Justice will represent the division in all matters pertaining to a claim.
(3) The administrative law judge must not allow an agency representative appearing under section (2) of this rule to present legal argument as defined by this rule.
(a) “Legal argument” includes arguments on:
(A) The jurisdiction of the agency to hear the contested case;
(B) The constitutionality of a statute or rule or the application of a constitutional requirement to an agency; and
(C) The application of court precedent to the facts of the particular contested case proceeding.
(b) “Legal argument” does not include presentation of motions, evidence, examination and cross-examination of witnesses, or presentation of factual arguments or arguments on:
(A) The application of the statutes or rules to the facts in the contested case;
(B) Comparison of prior actions of the agency in handling similar situations;
(C) The literal meaning of the statutes or rules directly applicable to the issues in the contested case;
(D) The admissibility of evidence; and
(E) The correctness of procedures being followed in the contested case hearing.
(4) If the administrative law judge determines that statements or objections made by an agency representative appearing under section (2) involve legal argument as defined in this rule, the administrative law judge must provide reasonable opportunity for the agency representative to consult the Attorney General and permit the Attorney General to present argument at the hearing or to file written legal argument within a reasonable time after conclusion of the hearing.
(5) An agency representative appearing under section (2) must read and be familiar with the Code of Conduct for Non-Attorney Representatives at Administrative Hearings dated June 1, 2011, as amended Oct. 1, 2011, which is maintained by the Oregon Department of Justice and available on its website at https://www.doj.state.or.us/wp-content/uploads/2017⁄06/code_of_conduct_oah_contested.pdf.