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 Legal Resources



Welcome to the Workers' Compensation Board

Mission Statement

Board Members

Hearings Division

Board Review Division

Administrative Services Division

Mission Statement

          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 Act.

Board Members

Holly Somers, Board Chair

Holly 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.


Vera Langer, Board Member

Vera 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.


Vera Langer, 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 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.


Steve Lanning, Board Member

Steve 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, 2009.

          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.

Hearings Division

Hearings Division

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.  

          Hearings 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.

Board Review Division

Board Review Division

          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. 

          Board orders are appealable to the Oregon Court of Appeals. 

Administrative Services Division

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, interpreter 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.