Newsline No. 26-12  
June 1, 2012  

WCAB adopts new and amended rules relating to lien claims

The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) has adopted or amended three sections of its Rules of Practice and Procedure (Rules) relating to lien claims. These new lien Rules went into effect on May 21, 2012. The lien Rules are posted on the WCAB’s website.

Here is a brief summary of the changes:

Dismissal of liens for lack of prosecution: Rule 10582.5 establishes new procedures for dismissing a lien claim for lack of prosecution. Although Rule 10582.5 became effective on May 21, 2012, it is not operative until August 1, 2012. This approximately 2½ month period gives lien claimants that have not previously filed a declaration of readiness to proceed (DOR) the opportunity to do so before the Rule becomes operative.

The WCAB emphasizes that, although Rule 10582.5 gives lien claimants a 2½ month grace period to file DORs, a lien claimant that files a DOR before it is actually ready to proceed runs various risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, (1) sanctions for filing the DOR prematurely and (2) discovery closure at the lien conference without the allowance of a continuance. Further, lien claimants who file multiple DORs must appear at each lien conference and, if they fail to appear, they may be subject to sanctions and/or dismissal of their liens. It might well be that a lack of personnel to handle multiple appearances will not constitute good cause for failing to appear.

Filing and service of liens: Rule 10770 amends the procedures for the filing and service of lien claims.

Lien conference and trial procedures: Rule 10770.1 establishes new procedures for lien conferences and lien trials, including:

The above summary of Rules 10582.5, 10770, and 10770.1 does not purport to fully cover all new or amended provisions. Members of the workers’ compensation community are encouraged to go to the WCAB website to review the complete copies of the new lien Rules and to adequately familiarize themselves with all of the changes.