|U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR||OFFICE OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION PROGRAMS
DIVISION OF ENERGY EMPLOYEES OCCUPATIONAL
FINAL ADJUDICATION BRANCH
|FILE NUMBER:||[Number Deleted]|
|DECISION DATE:||November 10, 2008|
ORDER GRANTING REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION
AND REMAND ORDER
This is in response to the employee’s November 6, 2007 request for reconsideration of the November 3, 2007 final decision of the Final Adjudication Branch (FAB). For the reasons set forth below, the request for reconsideration is granted.
Pursuant to the authority granted by § 30.317 of the EEOICPA regulations, and for the reasons set forth below, the employee’s claim is remanded to the Seattle district office for further development and the issuance of a new decision. See 20 C.F.R. § 30.317 (2007).
On December 14, 2004, [Employee] filed a claim under Part E of the Act, identifying “plaque in the left lung” as the claimed medical condition. In an employment history, the employee stated that he worked as a pipe fitter and welder with J.A. Jones at the Hanford site in Richland, Washington from May 1, 1974 to March 31, 1985. The employee also stated that he worked at the Hanford site with the following employers:
· United Nuclear Corporation (UNC) as a pipe fitter with unspecified dates of employment
· Rockwell Hanford as a pipe fitter from February 1, 1987 to June 28, 1987
· Westinghouse Hanford as a maintenance supervisor from June 29, 1987 to September 31, 1996
· Dyncorp as a mechanical supervisor from October 10, 1996 to December 31, 2002
· Fluor Hanford as a mechanical supervisor from January 1, 2003 to May 31, 2004
· Delgen as a mechanical supervisor from June 1, 2004 until December 14, 2004
The Department of Energy (DOE) verified that the employee was employed at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland, Washington from August 9, 1965 to January 21, 1966. DOE also verified that he was employed at the Hanford site as listed below:
· Douglas United Nuclear from March 16, 1966 to July 8, 1966 and August 22, 1966 to October 7, 1966
· J.A. Jones from May 31, 1973 to August 31, 1973, May 7, 1974 to February 4, 1975, and February 6, 1975 to March 26, 1982
· UNC from August 26, 1985 to December 19, 1985 and December 27, 1985 to January 17, 1986
· Rockwell Hanford Operations from February 18, 1987 to June 28, 1987
· Westinghouse Hanford Company from June 29, 1988 to April 8, 1988 and April 13, 1988 to September 30, 1996
· Dyncorp from October 1, 1996 to February 18, 2001
· Fluor Hanford from February 19, 2001 to December 31, 2005 (the date of verification)
On November 3, 2007, FAB issued a final decision under Part E of EEOICPA finding that the employee was not entitled to benefits for his claim for pleural plaques, on the ground that he had not submitted medical evidence to substantiate a diagnosis of pleural plaques.
On November 6, 2007, the employee submitted medical records to support a diagnosis of asbestos-related pleural plaques. Dr. Lee W. Vance, in a medical narrative report dated June 3, 2002, diagnosed “pleural plaques compatible with lung disease due to asbestos exposure.” Dr. Vance also confirmed that the employee had no evidence of interstitial lung disease or asbestosis. Dr. Randol James, in a chest x-ray report dated June 14, 2002, diagnosed the employee with pleural thickening in the right interior. The employee also submitted a CT scan of his chest, signed by Dr. Clarence May on December 21, 2001, that confirmed his diagnosis of pleural plaques due to a “previous asbestos exposure.”
Submitted along with this evidence was a document called “Notice of Decision” from the Washington Department of Labor & Industries confirming the employee’s claim for state workers’ compensation, which was allowed for an asbestos-related lung disease. The additional evidence that the employee submitted from the Washington Department of Labor & Industries indicates that he might have received compensation and/or medical benefits due to asbestos-related pleural plaques. Due to the submission of this new medical documentation, additional development is needed to determine whether the employee’s pleural plaques condition is related to toxic substance exposures while he was employed by DOE contractors/subcontractors at a DOE facility.
The employee has clearly submitted a timely request for reconsideration, and FAB hereby grants his request. Under 20 C.F.R. § 30.319(c)(1), instead of issuing a final decision after granting a request for reconsideration, FAB may remand the claim to the district office for further development. Therefore, pursuant to that authority, as well as that granted by 20 C.F.R § 30.317, FAB remands this case to the Seattle district office. On remand, the Seattle district office will consider the medical and other evidence in the file regarding the employee’s claimed condition and develop for further information as it deems necessary. If the Seattle district office determines that the employee is entitled to benefits due to pleural plaques, it will need to determine whether his medical benefits need to be coordinated with any state workers’ compensation the employee may have received. Upon further development, the employee will receive a new recommended decision with regard to his asbestos-related pleural plaques claim under Part E.
Susan G. Price
Final Adjudication Branch