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WPI155.02Board's Findings

6A WAPRAC WPI 155.02Washington Practice Series TMWashington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil

6A Wash. Prac., Wash. Pattern Jury Instr. Civ. WPI 155.02 (7th ed.)
Washington Practice Series TM
Washington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil
July 2019 Update
Washington State Supreme Court Committee on Jury Instructions
Part XI. Workers' Compensation
Chapter 155. Workers' Compensation
WPI 155.02 Board's Findings
This is an appeal from the findings and decision of the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals. The Board made the following material findings of fact:
(Here insert the Board's material findings.)
By informing you of these findings, the court does not intend to express any opinion on the correctness or incorrectness of the Board's findings.
This instruction should be given in every case.
RCW 51.52.115.
The statute requires that the exact findings of the Board on each material issue be given in the form of an instruction to the jury. The cases below discuss what constitutes a material finding of fact for this purpose, and confirm that the instruction should include only those findings deemed material by the trial court.
Jurisdictional finding. The Board's first finding of fact is commonly called the jurisdictional finding. Although contained in the Certified Appeal Board Record provided to the court, the jurisdictional history document is generally not an exhibit for consideration by the jury. Unless there is a fact in dispute that affects the Board's jurisdiction, such as the date a document was communicated to a party, it may be unnecessary to include the Board's first finding in this instruction.
On occasion, a more detailed recitation of history may be set out in the first finding when references in testimony read to the jury relate to prior adjudication of the claim and/or the results of prior litigation. When a more expanded jurisdictional finding is present, it must be kept in mind that Gaines v. Department of Labor and Industries, 1 Wn.App. 547, 551–52, 463 P.2d 269 (1969), disapproved providing the jury with findings other than those pertaining to the “ultimate fact[s]” of the case, including “recitals of summaries of evidence.” Also, in McDonald v. Department of Labor and Industries, 104 Wn.App. 617, 624, 17 P.3d 1195 (2001), the court approved an instruction directing the jury to disregard any action of opening or closing the claim.
In Stratton v. Department of Labor and Industries, 1 Wn.App. 77, 459 P.2d 651 (1969), it was held reversible error to give an instruction that sets forth a hearing examiner's rejected decision as a finding of the Board. The court noted that the trial court is required to advise the jury only of the exact findings pertaining to each material issue before the court; it is not required to instruct the jury on all matters that may have been denominated “findings” by the Board. To the same effect, see Nash v. Department of Labor and Industries, 1 Wn.App. 705, 462 P.2d 988 (1969).
Other non-material findings. “Evidentiary commentary” may properly be excised from the Board's findings as long as the revision does not change the “ultimate fact-finding.” Wendt v. Dep't. of Labor & Indus., 18 Wn.App. 674, 685, 571 P.2d 229 (1977).
In Stratton v. Department of Labor and Industries, 7 Wn.App. 652, 501 P.2d 1072 (1972), the court held that it is reversible error to include in the jury instructions comments on the claimant's behavior that are not supported by the evidence.
Commonly, only the Board's specifically-denominated findings of fact are presented in this instruction. However, the WPI Committee notes that, occasionally, the Board's conclusions of law, or the body of its decision, may actually include a finding of fact. If the court finds that inclusion of such information as a finding of fact is necessary to properly present the material issue to the jury, such information should be framed in this instruction as a finding of the Board. Gaines v. Dep't of Labor & Indus., 1 Wn.App. 547, 463 P.2d 269 (1969).
[Current as of November 2016.]
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