March 8, 1996
Judicial Ethics Panel Appointed
A nine-member Ethics Advisory Committee, which will oversee recently adopted regulations setting specific ethical standards for judicial officers within the Division of Workers' Compensation, has been appointed by Casey L. Young, DWC Administrative Director.
"The committee will ensure compliance with the new regulations, which incorporate the standards in the California Code of Judicial Ethics and create additional standards and ethical safeguards covering the types of situations workers' compensation referees face," Young said.
The nine members, representing workers, insurers, defense and applicant attorneys, workers' compensation referees and the general public, include:
- Honorable Eugene M. Hyman, Judge of the Santa Clara Municipal Court in San Jose, who will serve as chair. Judge Hyman is a former workers' compensation specialist; and he has worked as a teacher and a police officer. He also assisted the Josephson Institute of Ethics in a study of ethical issues in the workers' compensation judiciary.
- John F. Henning, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO since 1970. Prior to that, Mr. Henning held such esteemed positions as U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand, United States Under Secretary of Labor, and Director of the California Department of Industrial Relations.
- C. Gordon Taylor, a principal of the firm Haworth, Bradshaw, Stallknect & Barber, Inc. at its San Francisco office. Mr. Taylor was chairman of the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board from 1984-88, and before that had a private practice specializing in the defense of workers' compensation cases and related matters since 1961. He is past president of the Northern California Compensation Defense Attorneys Association and is past president of the Western Association of Workers' Compensation Boards.
- Joseph E. Markey, President of the California Self-Insurers Association, an organization of private and public employers who are self-insured for workers' compensation. He has been with the association since 1973. From 1989 to 1994, Mr. Markey was Executive Director of Californians for Workers' Compensation Reform.
- Victor H. Beauzay, an attorney who has had extensive experience representing industrially injured and disabled employees before the WCAB. He is a member of the Board of Governors and former president of the California Applicant's Attorneys Association. Mr. Beauzay has also held various investigative and judicial assignments with the California State Bar regarding State Bar disciplinary matters.
- James Contreras, Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Cumbre, Inc., an independent insurance agency/brokerage firm based in Upland, California. Mr. Contreras is a board member of the Latin Business Association, which helps provide opportunities for minority owned businesses in the city of Los Angeles. He is also a member of the California Small Business Association.
- Michael J. McClain, General Counsel of the California Workers' Compensation Institute, a private nonprofit association of worker's compensation insurers. Mr. McClain has extensive experience as both an applicant and defense attorney, including 17 years as workers' compensation counsel for Industrial Indemnity Insurance Company.
- George W. Mason, Jr., Presiding Workers' Compensation Judge of the Walnut Creek WCAB since 1991. Mr. Mason began working as an attorney specializing in workers' compensation in 1974. He also held the position of workers' compensation judge in the Oakland WCAB before he was appointed to his current position as presiding judge.
- Elena Jackson, Workers' Compensation Judge in the Riverside district office of the WCAB. Ms. Jackson once worked as a workers' compensation conference referee in the Norwalk office and as an attorney representing injured workers in the Southern California area.
Taylor, Contreras, McClain, Mason, and Jackson will serve four-year terms. Hyman, Henning, Markey, and Beauzay will serve two-year terms.
The ethics advisory committee will receive and review complaints regarding the conduct of workers' compensation referees, as well as other DWC employees, to the extent they exercise judicial or quasi-judicial functions. It will send complaints to the administrative director with recommendation to investigate where warranted, monitor the outcome of investigations, and make public reports on the integrity of the adjudicatory process.