Judgment No. 4117
1. The Medical Committee’s opinion of 20 December 2012, as well as the Administration’s decisions of 7 January and 13 February 2013, are set aside.
2. The matter is remitted to the EPO, in accordance with consideration 8, for a differently constituted Medical Committee to consider the experts’ report of 12 September 2012, and related reports, and to provide an opinion on whether the complainant’s invalidity was caused by an occupational disease.
3. The EPO shall pay the complainant costs assessed in the sum of 7,000 euros.
4. All other claims are dismissed.
The complainant challenges the finding that his invalidity was not caused by an occupational disease.
medical board; service-incurred; invalidity
As noted by the Tribunal in Judgment 4046, consideration 5, in some circumstances, the Tribunal has treated a challenge to what has been identified in the complaint as a decision but, in fact, was an anterior step to the challengeable final administrative decision, as a challenge to the final administrative decision itself. An example is found in Judgment 2715, consideration 4. In that case the Organization concerned objected to receivability, inter alia, because the complaint was mistakenly directed against the Administration Committee’s preliminary opinion, rather than the Secretary General’s final decision. The Tribunal sought to identify what the complainant intended by the complaint and treated the complaint as a manifestation of an intention to challenge the final administrative decision. While, explicitly, the complainant had challenged and sought to set aside the “decision” of the Administration Committee, the Tribunal treated the complaint as being directed against the final administrative decision of the Secretary General. This course is open to the Tribunal in the present case.
ILOAT Judgment(s): 2715, 4046
Before proceeding to consider the merits of the complaint, one further preliminary issue concerning receivability should be mentioned. There is one judgment of the Tribunal, Judgment 2787, which, in consideration 3, draws a distinction between procedural and medical aspects of a Medical Committee’s opinion and affirms that, by implication and because of Articles 107(1) and (2) and 109(3) of the Service Regulations as applicable at the material time, the latter (the medical aspects) could be challenged before the Tribunal without the prior filing of an internal appeal to the Appeals Committee. Even if the distinction created by this judgment should continue to be applied by the Tribunal (which may be doubted), there is no bright line between an opinion of a Medical Committee on procedural aspects and an opinion on medical aspects. The present case illustrates that an opinion of the Medical Committee may have both procedural and medical characteristics. In the present case, the Tribunal is satisfied that the decisions of 7 January and 13 February 2013 were decisions “taken after consultation of the Medical Committee” for the purposes of Articles 109(3)(a) and 110(2)(a) of the Service Regulations. Accordingly, the complainant was entitled to bring his complaint directly to the Tribunal [...].
ILOAT Judgment(s): 2787
internal remedies exhausted; medical board; medical opinion; medical grounds
It does not matter, for present purposes, whether the [Medical] Committee is bound to accept the views of the expert. But what, as an absolute minimum, the Committee must do is give earnest and substantial consideration to the views of the expert or experts it has consulted, and it can reject their views only for cogent and compelling reasons.
expert inquiry; medical board
Even though damages were sought by the complainant, no arguments were advanced in the pleas about the nature of the damages, the reasons for awarding them and the appropriate quantum. Accordingly, no damages will be awarded.