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Chapter 4.5. Division of Workers' Compensation
Subchapter 2. Workers' Compensation Appeals Board--Rules and Practice Procedure
ARTICLE 15. FINDINGS, AWARDS AND ORDERS

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§10782. Vexatious Litigants.

(a) For purposes of this rule, "vexatious litigant" means:

  (1) A party or lien claimant who, while acting in propria persona (i.e., while representing himself or herself) in proceedings before the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board, repeatedly relitigates, or attempts to relitigate, an issue of law or fact that has been finally determined against that party or lien claimant by the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board or by an appellate court;  


  (2) A party or lien claimant who, while acting in propria persona in proceedings before the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board, repeatedly files unmeritorious motions, pleadings, or other papers, repeatedly conducts or attempts to conduct unnecessary discovery, or repeatedly engages in other tactics that are in bad faith, are frivolous, or are solely intended to cause harassment or unnecessary delay; or  


  (3) A party or lien claimant who has previously been declared to be a vexatious litigant by any state or federal court of record in any action or proceeding based upon the same or substantially similar facts, transaction(s), or occurrence(s) that are the subject, in whole or in substantial part, of the party or lien claimant's workers' compensation case.  


  For purposes of this rule, the phrase "finally determined" shall mean: (i) that all appeals have been exhausted or the time for seeking appellate review has expired; and (ii) the time for reopening under Labor Code sections 5410 or 5803 and 5804 has passed or, although the time for reopening under those sections has not passed, there is no good faith and non-frivolous basis for reopening.  


(b) Upon the petition of a party or lien claimant, or upon the motion of any workers' compensation judge or the Appeals Board, a presiding workers' compensation judge of any district office having venue or the Appeals Board may declare a party or lien claimant as a vexatious litigant.

(c) No party or lien claimant shall be declared a vexatious litigant without being given notice and an opportunity to be heard. If a hearing is requested, the presiding workers' compensation judge or the Appeals Board, in his, her or its discretion, either may take and consider both oral and documentary evidence or may take and consider solely documentary evidence, including affidavits or other written declarations of fact made under penalty of perjury.

(d) If a party or lien claimant is declared to be a vexatious litigant, a presiding workers' compensation judge or the Appeals Board may enter a "prefiling order," i.e., an order which prohibits the vexatious litigant from filing, in propria persona, any Application for Adjudication of Claim, Declaration of Readiness, petition, or other request for action by the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board without first obtaining leave of the presiding workers' compensation judge of the district office where the request for action is proposed to be filed or, if the matter is pending before the Appeals Board on a petition for reconsideration, removal, or disqualification, without first obtaining leave from the Appeals Board. For purposes of this rule, a "petition" shall include, but not be limited to, a petition to reopen under Labor Code sections 5410, 5803, and 5804, a petition to enforce a medical treatment award, a penalty petition, or any other petition seeking to enforce or expand the vexatious litigant's previously determined rights.

(e) If a vexatious litigant proposes to file, in propria persona, any Application for Adjudication of Claim, Declaration of Readiness, petition, or other request for action by the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board, the request for action shall be conditionally filed. Thereafter, the presiding workers' compensation judge, or the Appeals Board if the petition is for reconsideration, removal, or disqualification, shall deem the request for action to have been properly filed only if it appears that the request for action has not been filed in violation of subdivision (a). In determining whether the vexatious litigant's request for action has not been filed in violation of subdivision (a), the presiding workers' compensation judge, or the Appeals Board, shall consider the contents of the request for action and the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board's existing record of proceedings, as well as any other documentation that, in its discretion, the presiding workers' compensation judge or the Appeals Board asks to be submitted. Among the factors that the presiding workers' compensation judge or the Appeals Board may consider is whether there has been a significant change in circumstances (such as new or newly discovered evidence or a change in the law) that might materially affect an issue of fact or law that was previously finally determined against the vexatious litigant.

(f) If any in propria persona Application for Adjudication of Claim, Declaration of Readiness, petition, or other request for action by the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board from a vexatious litigant subject to a prefiling order is inadvertently accepted for filing (other than conditional filing in accordance with subdivision (e), above), then any other party or lien claimant may file (and shall concurrently serve on the vexatious litigant and any other affected parties or lien claimants) a notice stating that the request for action is being submitted by a vexatious litigant subject to a prefiling order as set forth in subdivision (d). The filing of the notice shall automatically stay the request for action until it is determined, in accordance with subdivision (e), whether the request for action should be deemed to have been properly filed.

(g) A copy of any prefiling order issued by a presiding workers' compensation judge or by the Appeals Board shall be submitted to the Secretary of the Appeals Board, who shall maintain a record of vexatious litigants subject to those prefiling orders and who shall annually disseminate a list of those persons to all presiding workers' compensation judges.


     Note: Authority cited: Sections 133, 5307, 5309 and 5708, Labor Code. Reference: Article XIV, section 4, California Constitution; and Sections 391, 391.2, and 391.7, Code of Civil Procedure.  


 HISTORY 
   
1. New section filed 11-17-2008; operative 11-17-2008. Submitted to OAL for printing only (Register 2008, No. 47).

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