Procedure

Abea v. Parco Inc. (BPD) (2017 Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. LEXIS 302)

The WCJ set the matter for trial over defendant’s objection. Defendant objected to the matter been set for trial because they had not completed discovery. The WCJ ruled that the matter was ready for trial because the defendant had already denied the case without need for further discovery on the issue.

The defendant filed a Petition for Removal which was granted by the WCAB.

The WCAB concluded that the WCJ’s interpretation of Labor Code §5403 placing a limit on defendant’s right to discovery once a claim has been denied was incorrect.

The WCAB stated that the fact that a defendant denies a claim within 90 days does not mean that it should be deemed ready to proceed to trial on the issue of injury at the expiration of the 90-day period.

The WCAB concluded that they should be allowed to complete its deposition of the applicant and the QME which should been set before the pretrial conference.

The WCAB concluded that the right to complete discovery was a due process issue.

 

Staudt v. UCLA (BPD) (2017 Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. LEXIS 324

The WCJ dismissed applicant’s case that after she did not personally appear at a mandatory settlement conference.

The WCAB rescinded the judge’s order.

The WCAB held Labor Code §5700 states that either party may be present at a hearing, in person, by attorney, or by any other agent.

The Appeals Board found that Rule 10301(u) defines a hearing to mean any trial, mandatory settlement conference, rating mandatory settlement conference, status conference, lean conference, or priority conference at a district officer before the appeals Board.

The WCAB concluded that because the applicant was represented by her attorney at the MSC, she did appear for the hearing pursuant to Labor Code §5700.

 

Mancillas v. County of LA (BPD) (2017 Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. LEXIS 293

The WCJ determined that she had jurisdiction to adjudicate the liens of Dr. Sobol because no order of consolidation had issued pursuant to Labor Code §139.2

Defendant filed a Petition which was denied with the WCAB explaining that eventually the liens of the physician would be consolidated and heard and the special adjudication unit, but until then, the district offices of the WCAB had no jurisdiction to hear the liens in question.

The WCAB also ruled that the Judges could determine whether or not the liens were associated with the charged criminal conduct and therefore were subject to dismissal with prejudice, or not associated with the conduct, in which case the liens could be litigated and negotiated on their merits.

The WCAB concluded that the WCJ properly proceeded to trial on the relevant issues because the liens of Dr. Sobel were not consolidated.

(Since the WCAB’s decision the liens were consolidated pursuant to Labor Code §139.21)

 

Lugo v. County of LA (BPD) (2017 Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. LEXIS 306

The WCJ issued a decision based on the opinions of Dr. Sobol even though he was suspended from the Worker’s Compensation system based on fraud conviction pursuant to Labor Code §139.21.

Defendant filed a Petition for Reconsideration which was denied. The WCAB found that Labor Code §139.21 does not make reports prepared by suspended physicians prior to suspension inadmissible.

The Appeals Board believes that if the Legislature wished to make reports prepared by suspended doctors prior to suspension inadmissible, it would have explicitly done so.

The WCAB found no proof was introduced at trial connecting the conviction with the treatment in the case or the preparation of the report which have made reliance on the report improper.

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