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Case Law Updates for September 2017

Posted by Michael W. Sullivan on Sep 12, 2017 6:00:00 AM
Michael W. Sullivan

To keep Sullivan on Comp up to date on a monthly basis, our team dives into each panel decision and new laws to include an explanation of how each case fits within the workers' compensation scheme. Below is a sampling of this month's updates. Complete discussions of these topics can be found on Sullivan on Comp.

CHAPTER 5: INJURY

In Abea v. Parco, Inc., 2017 Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. LEXIS 302, the WCAB granted removal of a WCJ's order setting the matter for trial, even though the defendant objected on the grounds it had not completed discovery. The WCJ believed the case was ripe for trial because the "defendant has already denied the case without need for the discovery at issue." 

In Marroquin v. WCAB, 2017 Cal. Wrk. Comp. LEXIS 65 (writ denied), the WCAB found that an applicant's back injury was barred by LC 3600(a)(10), even though it believed he sustained injury AOE/COE.

In Miller v. O'Reilly Auto Parts, 2017 Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. LEXIS 319, the WCAB affirmed a WCJ's decision that an applicant's devastating injury while traveling to work was compensable under the special mission exception to the going and coming rule. 

 

CHAPTER 7: MEDICAL TREATMENT

Section 7.36 Utilization Review –– Procedures. The discussion concerns the procedures to be used when referring a request for medical treatment through the utilization review process.

In Sephers v. Stanislaus County Fairgrounds, 2017 Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. LEXIS 297, the WCAB held that a defendant's utilization review decision was untimely when the UR provider notified the requesting physician that additional information was needed, but on the same day, the UR physician prepared a UR denial stating that the medical records received were sufficient to make a medical determination and no additional medical information was necessary. 

In Maxton v. Lefiell Manufacturing, 2017 Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. LEXIS 316, the WCAB upheld a WCJ's decision that a defendant was liable for a handicap-adapted vehicle to assist an applicant in his use of a motorized scooter, and that the issue was not subject to the UR/IMR process. 

In Mancillas v. County of Los Angeles, 2017 Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. LEXIS 293, the WCAB affirmed a WCJ's finding that she was empowered to adjudicate the liens of Dr. Sobol because no order of consolidation had issued per LC 139.21.

In Lugo v. County of Los Angeles, 2017 Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. LEXIS 306, the WCAB upheld an award that relied on the opinion of Dr. Sobol even though he was suspended from the workers' compensation system based on a fraud conviction pursuant to LC 139.21. 

 

CHAPTER 9: TEMPORARY DISABILITY

In Pike v. County of San Diego, 2017 Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. LEXIS 321, the panel majority held that when acting on a timely petition to reopen, the WCAB may award temporary disability benefits more than five years from the date of injury for injuries on or after Jan. 1, 2008, provided that the applicant is limited to an aggregate of 104 weeks of benefits. 

 

CHAPTER 10: PERMANENT DISABILITY

In Guerrero v. Ramcast Steel Fabrication, 2017 Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. LEXIS 285, the WCAB held that an applicant was entitled to psychiatric permanent disability as a result of the violent act and catastrophic injury exceptions defined in LC 4660.1(c)(2). 

In Lopez v. General Wax Co., Inc., 2017 Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. LEXIS 291, the WCAB upheld an award of 100 percent permanent total disability when the applicant was injured when her index finger became stuck in a machine and was partially amputated. 

In Baker v. WCAB (Guerrero) (2017) 13 Cal. App. 5th 1040, the 6th District Court of Appeal held that the SIBTF must begin payment of benefits at the time the employer's obligation to pay permanent disability benefits begins. 

 

CHAPTER 11: RETURN TO WORK

In Sesena v. Residence Inn By Marriott, LLC, 2017 Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. LEXIS 320, the WCAB reversed a WCJ and held that an employee may be awarded separate vouchers for separate injuries even though they became permanent and stationary at the same time. 

In Espinoza v. Avis Rent A Car, 2017 Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. LEXIS 309, the WCAB upheld a WCJ's decision that an employer did not violate LC 132a when it terminated an employee pursuant to a compromise and release agreement with a voluntary resignation approved eight years earlier. 

 

CHAPTER 14: DISCOVERY AND SETTLEMENT

In Vargas, Gonzalez v. Barrett Business Services, Inc., 2017 Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. LEXIS 317, the WCAB concluded that an applicant was entitled to additional QME panels in gastroenterology and otorhinolaryngology when the additional panels were requested by the original QME and the primary treating physician. 

 

CHAPTER 15: PRETRIAL LITIGATION

In Staudt v. University of California Los Angeles, 2017 Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. LEXIS 324, the WCAB rescinded a WCJ's order dismissing an applicant's case after she did not personally appear at a mandatory settlement conference. 

In Thompkins v. Citizens Telecom, 2017 Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. LEXIS 300, the WCAB granted an applicant attorney's petition for dismissal as the attorney of record after he had secured two awards of compensation, including for future medical treatment. 

 

Topics: Case Law Updates