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Special Report: WCAB Must Act on Petition for Reconsideration Within 60 Days

The workers' compensation appeals board (WCAB) has historically and increasingly faced a struggle to handle the volume of cases that come its way. As a result, too often it has failed to take action on a filed petition for reconsideration within the statutorily required 60 days. To date, parties have been protected from that failure because it was deemed a due process right to have the petition reviewed by the WCAB. Currently, scores and perhaps hundreds of cases are in that situation. In a new appellate court case, Zurich American Insurance Co. v. WCAB, it all seems to have changed, leaving all those parties without a remedy, and changing the reconsideration demands on practitioners. Labor Code § 5909 states, "A petition for reconsideration is deemed to have been denied by the appeals board unless it is acted upon within 60 days from the date of filing." It was not uncommon for the WCAB to grant reconsideration beyond the 60-day period due to its own errors or inefficiencies. But...

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