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Chapter 4.5. Division of Workers' Compensation
Subchapter 2. Workers' Compensation Appeals Board--Rules and Practice Procedure
Article 8. Hearings

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§10561. Sanctions.


(a) On its own motion or upon the filing of a petition pursuant to Rule 10450, the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board may order payment of reasonable expenses, including attorney's fees and costs and, in addition, sanctions as provided in Labor Code section 5813. Before issuing such an order, the alleged offending party or attorney must be given notice and an opportunity to be heard. In no event shall the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board impose a monetary sanction pursuant to Labor Code section 5813 where the one subject to the sanction acted with reasonable justification or other circumstances make imposition of the sanction unjust.

(b) Bad faith actions or tactics that are frivolous or solely intended to cause unnecessary delay include actions or tactics that result from a willful failure to comply with a statutory or regulatory obligation, that result from a willful intent to disrupt or delay the proceedings of the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board, or that are done for an improper motive or are indisputably without merit. Violations subject to the provisions of Labor Code Section 5813 shall include but are not limited to the following:

  (1) Failure to appear or appearing late at a conference or trial where a reasonable excuse is not offered or the offending party has demonstrated a pattern of such conduct.  


  (2) Filing a pleading, petition or legal document unless there is some reasonable justification for filing the document.  


  (3) Failure to timely serve documents (including but not limited to medical reports and medical-legal reports) as required by the rules of the Appeals Board, the Court Administrator, or the Administrative Director, where the documents are within the party or lien claimant's possession or control, unless that failure resulted from mistake, inadvertence, or excusable neglect.  


  (4) Failing to comply with the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board's Rules of Practice and Procedure, with the regulations of the Administrative Director or the Court Administrator, or with any award or order of the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board, including an order of discovery, which is not pending on reconsideration, removal or appellate review and which is not subject to a timely petition for reconsideration, removal, or appellate review, unless that failure results from mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect.  


  (5) Executing a declaration or verification to any petition, pleading, or other document filed with the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board:  


  (A) that: (i) contains false or substantially false statements of fact; (ii) contains statements of fact that are substantially misleading; (iii) contains substantial misrepresentations of fact; (iv) contains statements of fact that are made without any reasonable basis or with reckless indifference as to their truth or falsity; (v) contains statements of fact that are literally true, but are intentionally presented in a manner reasonably calculated to deceive; and/or (vi) conceals or substantially conceals material facts; and  


  (B) where a reasonable excuse is not offered or where the offending party has demonstrated a pattern of such conduct.  


  (6) Bringing a claim, conducting a defense, or asserting a position:  


  (A) that is: (i) indisputably without merit, (ii) done solely or primarily for the purpose of harassing or maliciously injuring any person, and/or (iii) done solely or primarily for the purpose of causing unnecessary delay or a needless increase in the cost of litigation; and  


  (B) where a reasonable excuse is not offered or where the offending party has demonstrated a pattern of such conduct.  


  (7) Presenting a claim or a defense, or raising an issue or argument, that is not warranted under existing law - unless it can be supported by a nonfrivolous argument for an extension, modification, or reversal of the existing law or for the establishment of new law - and where a reasonable excuse is not offered or where the offending party has demonstrated a pattern of such conduct. In determining whether a claim, defense, issue, or argument is warranted under existing law, or if there is a reasonable excuse for it, consideration shall be given to:  


  (A) whether there are reasonable ambiguities or conflicts in the existing statutory, regulatory, or case law, taking into consideration the extent to which a litigant has researched the issues and found some support for its theories; and  


  (B) whether the claim, defense, issue, or argument is reasonably being asserted to preserve it for reconsideration or appellate review.  


  This subdivision is specifically intended not to have a "chilling effect" on a party or lien claimant's ability to raise and pursue legal arguments that reasonably can be regarded as not settled.  


  (8) Asserting a position that misstates or substantially misstates the law, and where a reasonable excuse is not offered or where the offending party has demonstrated a pattern of such conduct.  


  (9) Using any language or gesture at or in connection with any hearing, or using any language in any pleading or other document:  


  (A) where the language or gesture (i) is directed to the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board, to any of its officials or staff, or to any party or lien claimant (or the attorney or other representative for a party or lien claimant) and (ii) is patently insulting, offensive, insolent, intemperate, foul, vulgar, obscene, abusive, or disrespectful; or  


  (B) where the language or gesture impugns the integrity of the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board or its Commissioners, judges, or staff.  


  (e) Notwithstanding any other provision of these rules, for purposes of this rule and Labor Code section 5813: (1) a lien claimant may be deemed a "party" at any stage of the proceedings before the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board; and (2) an "attorney" includes a lay representative of a party or lien claimant.  


  (f) This rule shall apply only to applications filed on or after January 1, 1994.  



     Note: Authority cited: Sections 133, 5307, 5309 and 5708, Labor Code. Reference: Sections 4903.6(c) and 5813, Labor Code.  


 HISTORY 
   
1. New section filed 12-23-93; operative 1-1-94.  Submitted to OAL for printing only pursuant to Government Code section 11351 (Register 93, No. 52).

2. Amendment filed 12-19-2002; operative 1-1-2003. Submitted to OAL for printing only pursuant to Government Code section 11351 (Register 2002,  No. 51).

3. Amendment of section and Note filed 11-17-2008; operative 11-17-2008. Submitted to OAL for printing only (Register 2008, No. 47).

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