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JUNE 3 (legislative day, May 28), 1940.-Ordered to be printed

Mr. CAPPER, from the Committee on Claims, submitted the following

REPORT

[To accompany S. 3143]

The Committee on Claims, to whom was referred the bill (S. 3143) for the relief of Chandler V. Jensen, having considered the same, report favorably thereon with the recommendation that the bill do pass with the following amendments:

On page 1, line 3, strike out "and" and insert "to".
On page 1, line 7, strike out the initial "J" and insert "V.

On page 2, line 4, after the word “injury" insert "alleged to have been”.

The sole purpose of the bill is to waive in favor of Chandler V. Jensen the bar of the time limitations in sections 15 to 20, inclusive, of the Federal Employees' Compensation Act, and to leave the Compensation Commission free to determine the merits of Mr. Jensen's claim for disabilities due to an injury alleged to have been received by him on August 10, 1936, in the performance of his duties as forest ranger on the Deerlodge National Forest, Butte, Mont., and to afford him such measure of relief as the facts, when established, may show him to be entitled to, in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Employees' Compensation Act.

Claimant's reason for not filing his claim within the statutory period is that he did not think his injury was serious.

The facts are fully set forth in the following communications, which are appended hereto and made a part of this report.

UNITED STATES EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION,

Washington, February 19, 1940. CHAIRMAN, COMMITTEE ON CLAIMS,

United States Senate, Washington, D. C. DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: Reference is made to your request for the Commission's report upon the bill, S. 3143, for the relief of Chandler V. Jensen. The bill provides:

"That sections 15 and 20 inclusive, of the Act entitled 'An Act to provide compensation for employees of the United States suffering injuries while in the performance of their duties, and for other purposes,' approved September 7, 1916, as amended, are hereby waived in favor of Chandler J. Jensen, an employee of the United States Forest Service, Missoula, Montana, and the United States Compensation Commission is authorized and directed to consider and act upon any claim filed with the Commission, within one year after the date of the enactment of this Act by said Chandler V. Jensen for compensation under the provisions of such Act of September 7, 1916, as amended and supplemented, for compensation for disabilities due to an injury received by him on August 10, 1936, in the performance of his duties as forest ranger on the Deerlodge National Forest, Butte, Montana."

It appears from the file in this case that Mr. Jensen on August 22, 1936, while employed as district ranger by the Forest Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, sustained injury when he wrenched his back in lifting a 500-pound snag; that on September 28, 1936, he filed a claim for compensation benefits on account of disability resulting from that injury; that he suffered no loss of pay as a result thereof.

The Commission has paid the medical expense incurred by Mr. Jensen on account of the injury of August 22, 1936, in the amount of $45.

The file in that case contains a statement dated at Butte, Mont., September 8, 1936, signed by Dr. Peter Potter, which reads as follows:

"Report in case of Chandler Jensen, injured August 22, 1936.

“Prognosis: Patient is suffering from severe back strain with resultant sciatica on right side, which will quite probably leave patient with weakness of back muscles, and possible sciatica."

After careful consideration of all the evidence then on file in that case together with the opinion of its own medical advisers, the Commission concluded that the sciatica was not attributable to the injury of August 22, 1936, and that compensation benefits could, therefore, not be extended to Mr. Jensen on account of this condition, and he was so advised by letter of February 9, 1937.

The first notice to the Commission of an injury sustained by Mr. Jensen on August 10, 1936, is contained in a copy of a memorandum dated Butte, Mont., November 2, 1936, prepared by R. T. Ferguson, Forest Supervisor of the United States Forest Service, and transmitted to the Commission by Mr. Ferguson's letter of October 31, 1936, in support of Mr. Jensen's claim on account of the injury of August 22, 1936. This memorandum reads in part as follows:

“On or about August 10 Ranger Jensen was endeavoring to open a railroad boxcar door in order to unload some official equipment. The door fell off the track on top of Jensen. Once again his back was injured slightly, but principally so, he reported, by the bruises involved.

However, the file in the same case contains an affidavit executed by Mr. Jensen himself at Butte, Mont., on September 5, 1936, likewise in support of his claim on account of the injury of August 22, 1936, which reads in part as follows:

"The only time my back had been injured in the previous 10 years was on May 24, 1936. At that time I hurt my back in lifting a horse trailer that had been stalled on a streetcar track."

This affidavit contains no reference to the alleged injury of August 10, 1936. In any event, no claim for compensation on account of that injury was filed by Mr. Jensen until September 13, 1938, when the Commission received a preliminary claim form (C. A. 1), executed by Mr. Jensen, in which he stated that he had sustained an injury on August 10, 1936, when the door of a boxcar consigned to the Forest Service fell, striking his back.

Since it did not appear from the file in this case that any claim for compensation on account of the alleged injury of August 10, 1936, had been filed within 1 year from the date thereof, as is required by the mandatory provisions of sections 18 to 20 of the Federal Employees' Compensation Act of September 7, 1916, the Commission had no authority to consider the merits of any claim predicated on such injury, and Mr. Jensen was so advised by letter dated March 16, 1939.

Since, for the reason stated above, the Commission was precluded from considering the merits of this case, no final determination has been made with respect thereto, and the Commission can therefore express no opinion thereon.

The bill, S. 3143, is apparently designed merely to waive in favor of Chandler V. Jensen the bar of the time limitations in sections 15 and 20, inclusive, of the act of September 7, 1916, and to leave the commission free to determine the merits of Mr. Jensen's claim, when filed, and to afford him such measure of relief as the facts, when established, may show him to be entitled to, in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Employees' Compensation Act.

In thus viewing the bill, the Commission interprets the expression “for disabilities due to injury received by him on August 10, 1936” in lines 4 and 5 of page 2 of the bill as descriptive only and serving merely to identify the alleged injury. As, however, it has sometimes been contended that similar language constituted a legislative determination of the fact of injury and of the circumstances under which it was sustained, requiring merely an award of compensation by the Commission without the necessity or authority upon its own part to determine the facts relative thereto, it is suggested that after the word “injury" in line 4 of page 2 of the bill there be inserted the words "alleged to have been".

It appears from the context that the word "and”, in line 3, of page 1 of the bill is insufficient to bring about proper waiver, and that the word “to” may have been intended. Correction in this respect is suggested, if the bill is otherwise favorably considered.

It is noted also that Mr. Jensen's middle initial is given in the body of the bill as “J.” whereas it elsewhere appears to be given as “V.. Correction in this respect is suggested.

In view of the foregoing, the Commission makes no recommendation as to the advisability of the enactment of the bill, S. 3143. Very truly yours,

(Mrs.) JEWELL W. SWOFFORD, Chairman.

UNITED STATES SENATE,
COMMITTEE ON INTERSTATE COMMERCE,

April 16, 1940.
In re: S. 3143, “For the relief of Chandler V. Jensen."
Hon. ARTHUR CAPPER,

United States Senate, Washington, D. C. MY DEAR SENATOR CAPPER: I am informed that the above bill has been referred to you for consideration and am therefore writing to you about it.

This bill was introduced for the purpose of permitting the Employees' Compensation Commission to consider Mr. Jensen's claim on its merits. On August 10, 1936, while in the employ of the United States Forest Service, Mr. Jensen sustained an injury to his back when a railroad boxcar door fell upon him. At the time this accident occurred he did not think it very serious and therefore did not file an application for compensation. However, on August 22, 1936, he again injured his back while employed as a district ranger, by lifting a 500-pound snag. He then applied for compensation based upon that injury. The Commission denied that claim on the ground that the sciatica from which he was suffering was not due to the injury of August 22, 1936. The injury of August 10th, however, was not considered at this time.

Mr. Jensen then filed a claim on September 13, 1939, based upon his injury of August 10, 1936. That claim the Commission had no authority to consider and this measure is designed to grant them that permission. I am sending you herewith a telegram I received from Mr. Jensen informing me of the reason he did not file his claim within the statutory period of 1 year. After considering this case, I hope it may be possible for you to report it favorably to the full committee. With kindest regards, I am, Cordially yours,

B. K. WHEELER. [Telegram]

SPOKANE, WASH., April 16, 1940. Senator BURTON K. WHEELER,

Washington, D. C. Reasons case was not reported officially to Commission within 1 year. At time of accident I did not think it was serious. Forest supervisors memorandum of November 2, 1936, reported case. Commission received copy of same.

CHANDLER JENSEN.

WALLA WALLA, Wash., April 29, 1940. Senator BURTON K. WHEELER,

United States Senate Building, Washington, D. C. MY DEAR SENATOR WHEELER: I received your letter of April 18, requesting further information regarding why the case was not reported by me within 1 year. As stated in my telegram of April 16, the reasons I did not file an official notice within 1 year are: First, at the time of the accident I did not think it was serious, although I did report it to my superior officer; and secondly, my superior officer, Forest Supervisor R. T. Ferguson reported the case within 3 months (November 1936) in the form of a memorandum of which the Commission received a copy.

The reason I filed the application in 1939 was that the fiscal agent in Missoula thought it advisable and with my application and his comments he thought possibly the case could be reopened. However, this failed and I am asking your assistance in reopening the case.

I have been transferred to Walla Walla, Wash., to work on the Walla Walla flood-control project and will be here for approximately 16 months before returning to Missoula, Mont.

I will be glad to send you any further information that you may need for submission to the Claims Committee, since the opening of the case may mean a lot to me in the future. Sincerely yours,

CHANDLER JENSON.

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