Welcome to the Workers'
Board Review Division
Administrative Services Division
Our mission here at the Workers' Compensation Board is to provide timely and impartial
resolution of disputes arising under Oregon Workers' Compensation Law and the Oregon Safe Employment
J. Somers, Board Chair
Holly Somers was appointed as Chair of the Workers'
Compensation Board on September 18, 2013. Holly's experience in
workers' compensation spans over 25 years. She began as a receptionist
at a workers' compensation insurance company, advancing to claims
assistant and then claims examiner before entering law school
at Northwestern School of Law at Lewis and Clark College. Following
law school, she practiced as a trial lawyer, primarily handling
workers' compensation cases on behalf of injured workers, until
she became an Administrative Law Judge in 2003. She was appointed
Presiding Administrative Law Judge in 2007, where she continued
to work until her appointment as Chair.
Langer, Board Member
Vera holds law degrees (J.D. and LL.M. in criminal law) from the Charles University School
of Law in her native Czech Republic. She came to Oregon in 1981 as a political refugee. In 1986,
she again graduated from law school, this time, from the University of Oregon School of Law. She
became a member of the Oregon State Bar in 1988.
Initially, Vera worked as a law clerk for the Oregon Court of Appeals, and later served
as an Assistant Attorney General in the Appellate Division of the Oregon Department of Justice. In
1993, Vera became a staff attorney for a workers’ compensation carrier. In 1995, she joined a law
firm working as an appellate attorney representing employer interests, where she was responsible for
handling appeals to the Workers’ Compensation Board and appellate courts.
Vera became a Board Member on April 19, 2002. She is currently serving
her third consecutive term as a Board Member.
Greig Lowell, Board Member
Greig is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. He also holds a workers’
compensation claims examiner certificate and a general lines adjuster’s license.
Greig has over 20 years of workers’ compensation experience.
From 1986 through 2002, he worked as a claims supervisor/manager. He also served as the President
of the Oregon Self-Insurers Association.
In addition to his contributions to the Board, Greig worked as an instructor
in workers’ compensation courses for the Insurance Education Association and Lane Community
College. On April 19, 2002, Greig became a Board Member. He is currently serving
his third consecutive term as a Board Member.
Margaret F. Weddell, Board Member
Margaret attended Kansas University and the University of Missouri at Columbia, where she
received a B.S. in rehabilitation. In 1993, she received her Juris Doctorate degree from Lewis &
Clark Law School and became a member of the Oregon State Bar.
Thereafter, Margaret built her experience representing the interests of injured workers
in several Portland law firms. On February 29, 2008, Margaret became a Board Member.
In addition to her contributions to the Board, Margaret
served as chair of the executive committee of the OSB Workers'
Compensation Section. For several years, Margaret also coordinated
the Workers’ Compensation Bench-Bar Forum. Currently, she teaches
Workers’ Compensation law at Lewis & Clark Law School.
Lanning, Board Member
Steve has a 30-year history with organized labor
including 22 years with the Oregon AFL-CIO as their Government
Affairs Specialist. In that capacity he lobbied workplace
health and safety issues at the Oregon Legislature, staffed
the Oregon AFL-CIO's Safety, Health and Workers' Compensation
Committee and served on two of Oregon OSHA's advisory committees.
In 2009, Steve coordinated the construction of
the Fallen Workers Memorial on the State Capitol Mall to remember
those killed and injured on the job. The Memorial was dedicated
by Governor Kulongoski on Workers' Memorial Day, April 28,
Steve received a Master's degree in political science
from Portland State University in 1981 and taught at the University
of Portland, Portland Community College and Chemeketa Community
College as an adjunct instructor for ten years prior to his
employment with the Oregon AFL-CIO.
Steve became a Board Member on September 10, 2012.
Joy M. Dougherty,
Presiding Administrative Law Judge (PALJ)
The Hearings Division ensures timely and impartial resolution
of Oregon workers’ compensation and Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division (OR-OSHA) disputes.
Dispute resolution can be accomplished in a number of methods.
Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) conduct contested case hearings which result in the issuance of an
Opinion and Order, consistent with statutory requirements. Additionally, ALJs provide motion decisions,
review and/or approve settlements between the parties. ALJs also provide mediation services.
Division offices are located in Portland, Salem, Eugene, Medford, Bend, Coos Bay, Pendleton,
and Ontario. Hearings are also held in Astoria, Klamath Falls, Newport, and Roseburg. Contact information for
ALJs and their judicial assistants is available on this website.
The Board provides timely and impartial resolution of disputes
appealed from its Hearings Division. The Board also approves claim disposition agreements, reviews
disputes regarding the processing of “own motion” claims under ORS 656.278, and resolves disputes
arising from third party settlements/judgments.
The Board consists of five full-time members, two of whom are
selected from among persons with backgrounds understanding the concerns of employers, and two of whom
are selected from among persons with backgrounds understanding the concerns of employees. The fifth
member represents the interests of the public and serves as the Board Chair. The members are appointed
to four-year terms by the Governor and confirmed by the Oregon Senate.
All five Board Members are required to impartially
apply the law and, once appointed, may not represent any special interest. The members also consult
with the Chair regarding the hiring of ALJs, as well as participate in adopting/amending administrative rules. In
making case decisions, the Board members may sit together “en banc,” which includes all five
members, or in panels of two or three. A concurrence of a majority of the members participating is
necessary for a decision whether sitting "en banc,” or as a panel.
orders are appealable to the Oregon Court of Appeals.
|Administrative Services Division
The Administrative Services Division (ASD) is the operational center of WCB.
It provides support to the other two divisions to ensure that effective and efficient
service is provided to the public. Services include docket, hearing notice production,
services, litigation coding and record retention. ASD also handles
the facilities, risk management, contracts and billing, mail processing, statistics,
payroll, and personnel on behalf of WCB.