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Petition for Review of a Decision of the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services

Argued October 12, 1999

Petitioner, Marie Clark, appeals from a decision of the Director of the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES) denying her claim for temporary total disability benefits from July 14, 1995, through August 28, 1995, medical expenses, and accrued interest on benefits, based on aggravation of temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) she claims resulted from her work as a telephone operator. After a hearing, the hearing examiner concluded that claimant’s condition did not arise out of, or in the course of, her employment, and therefore denied the claim. In her appeal of the examiner’s order, petitioner argued that the examiner “neither discussed nor analyzed” evidence of aggravation. The Director affirmed the hearing examiner’s decision. Petitioner argues that the hearing examiner and Director both erred because even though they correctly found that her TMJ was not caused by her workplace duties (which she does not dispute), they did not consider whether her admittedly existing TMJ condition was aggravated by having to wear a headset in order to perform her duties, as found by her treating physician. We conclude that the hearing examiner and the Director failed to take into consideration or explain the reasons for rejecting the deposition testimony of petitioner’s treating physician and, therefore, remand for a thorough review of the record, further findings of fact, and an amended compensation order.

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