September 12, 1997
The Workers' Compensation Appeals Board has begun to submit significant panel decisions to California Compensation Cases for publication. Cases to be published will be those which the board believes will be of general interest and importance to the compensation practitioner.
According to WCAB Chairman Diana Marshall, the cases selected will involve new or recurring issues about which there is little published case law, or there is a need for restatement of a legal principle or an issue of general interest. Publication of these panel decision will augment the current body of appellate court opinions and board en banc decisions.
The first group for which publication is requested consists of four significant decisions which have been reviewed not only by the panel members who signed them but by the remaining board members as well. All agree that these cases merit general dissemination to the compensation community.
The four cases are:
*Gubbins v. Metropolitan Insurance Companies, (SAC 0227062), which involves an issue of an applicant's entitlement to multiple medical-legal examinations under Labor Code Section 4060(c). Section 4060(c) provides that if a medical examination is required to determine compensability, each party may select a qualified medical examiner to conduct an evaluation. The decision holds that, where the defendant has set up three separate examinations and there are three distinct parts of the body involved, an applicant would be entitled to multiple, equivalent examinations at the defendant's expense.
*Green-Rhoads v. Gran Teasley, dba Teddy Bear Carpet (RDG 0060772), which holds that Labor Code Section 5813, providing for sanctions and costs, is applicable only to applications for adjudication filed on or after January 1, 1994 for injuries occurring on or after January 1, 1994.
*Becerra v. Eastside Reservoir Project/Advance Constructors (AHM 0051304), which holds that while the board has jurisdiction over cases arising out of Labor Code Section 3201.5 ("carve out" programs), it is premature to file either an application or a petition for reconsideration where no decision has been issued by the arbitrator under the relevant collective bargaining agreement.
*Cedeno v. American National Insurance Company (LAO 729720), which holds that a lien claimant was denied due process -- entitling petitioner to further proceedings -- when the lien claimant's right to cross-examine witnesses was unduly limited (for example, by a request to submit questions to the applicant's attorney) and where the opportunity to conduct discovery was refused.