Frequently asked questions and notices about DWC transcripts and public records
Q: If there is a request for a copy of a board transcript, does the $100 fee also apply?
A: No, the $100 fee is to prepare the transcript, so if it has already been prepared, and only a copy is ordered, then only the $1.50/per page fee plus tax and postage applies.
NOTICES REGARDING FEES FOR TRANSCRIPTS AND PUBLIC RECORDS
- Transcripts: Written transcripts of trials or hearings before Workers’ Compensation Administrative Law Judges are only prepared upon request; court reporters do not prepare transcripts in every case where they are actively reporting testimony. The Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) has recently changed the way in which payment for transcripts is made. The actual fee for transcripts has not changed; it is still $3.00 a page, plus sales tax and postage. However, there has been an administrative change in how fees are received and processed. Prior to the change, DWC required a deposit from the requesting party for transcript fees; the amount was based on the estimated number of pages to be transcribed by the court reporter. DWC provided refunds to the requesting party if the actual number of pages transcribed was less than the amount estimated and paid for. Yet with this process there were problems with issuing timely refunds of deposits. Under the new rule, no refunds are provided. DWC requires an upfront fee of $100 per transcript ordered, an amount which is significantly less than the average deposit that was collected before the rule changed. If the total transcript fee is above $100, any remaining balance must be paid prior to the transcript’s release. This process will not result in an increase of transcript fees for most injured workers.
- Public Records: Section 9990 was amended to allow DWC to charge $85.00 an hour instead of $40.00 an hour to respond to requests made under the Public Records Act for electronic records.
The Public Records Act, in Government Code section 6253(b), permits an agency to charge a statutory fee for copies of public records, instead of the “direct costs of duplication”. Labor Code section 127(a) provides that:
The administrative director may:
Charge and collect fees for copies of papers and records, for certified copies of official documents and orders or of the evidence taken or proceedings had, for transcripts of testimony, and for inspection of case files not stored in the place where the inspection is requested. The administrative director shall fix those fees in an amount sufficient to recover the actual costs of furnishing the services. No fees for inspection of case files shall be charged to an injured employee or his or her representative. (Emphasis added.)
The increased fees in section 9990 are consistent with the broader language of Labor Code section 127, which mandates the setting of fees in “an amount sufficient to recover the actual costs of furnishing the services”. The increased fees reflect DWC’s current “actual costs of furnishing the services” including staff time to perform research, downloading, redacting and transferring data and/or other records to storage media.
These increased charges do not apply to requests for copies of case documents contained in EAMS, unless the request requires a data sort necessitating research, programming and processing time in order to search for and extract documents from multiple case files.
The Copy Service Fee Schedule can be found here.