Gorre v. City of Tacoma (Majority and Dissent)Annotate this Case
Edward Gorre was a firefighter employed by the city of Tacoma (City), who suffered from valley fever (coccidioidomycosis). Gorre's diagnosis was not disputed. At issue was whether valley fever was considered a "respiratory disease" or an "infectious disease" under RCW 51.32.185(1)(a) or (d) that shifts the burden of proving the disease's proximate cause from Gorre to the employer City. The Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals and reinstated the superior court's judgment in the City's favor. The Supreme Court concluded that "respiratory disease," as used in RCW 51.32.185(1 )(a), referred only to diseases that medical experts diagnose as respiratory diseases. The Court also concluded that the "infectious diseases" qualifying for RCW 51.32.185(1)(d)'s evidentiary presumption were limited to those diseases specifically enumerated in RCW 51.32.185( 4 ). Because medical experts in Gorre's case testified that valley fever was an infectious disease, not a respiratory one, and because it was not one of the infectious diseases enumerated in RCW 51.32.185(4), the presumption did not apply.