B&B Speeds Up Litigation Process; Saves Clients Money!

B&B Speeds Up Litigation Process; Saves Clients Money!
by Mark Fletcher, LLP

Bradford & Barthel, LLP, is proud to announce yet another milestone in our quest for defense excellence.

Already a leader in client services and innovation, B&B is taking yet another giant leap forward in further defendng our clients' interests. On September 14, 2009, all 12 B&B offices "went live" with the e-filing program at every WCAB venue. This means B&B clients will have their matters heard more quickly, skipping ahead of firms using the slower, outdated Optical Character Recognition (OCR) format.

With e-filing, a party can file a DOR and get a date virtually immediately. A hearing notice may be obtained within 24 hours of filing the DOR. By contrast, OCR forms are filed manually, leading to delays lasting weeks and months as parties wait for a pleading to be scanned and acted on by a WCAB District Office.

B&B Scores "Split Decision" in Almaraz/Guzman

B&B Scores "Split Decision" in Almaraz/Guzman
by Don Barthel, Esq.

The defense, led by Bradford & Barthel's own Louis Larres, scored a number of "wins" in Round Two of Almaraz/Guzman:

"Not Fair" is "No Standard"
The WCAB has now jettisoned its original standard for determining whether an AMA Guides-based PD rating is rebutted. In AG I, the WCAB claimed an injured worker need only demonstrate the Guides-based rating is "inequitable, disproportionate, and not a fair and accurate measure of the employee's [PD]." The AG II majority acknowledged Mr. Larres' arguments that this standard "is subjective and may lead to inconsistent and non-uniform permanent disability ratings, i.e., what is inequitable, disproportionate, and not fair and accurate to one trier-of-fact may be equitable, proportionate, and fair and accurate to another." (AG II, p. 28) Indeed, "a 'fairness' standard is not a true standard at all." (AG II, p. 29, footnote 38)

Ogilvie I and II are "Dead on Arrival"

Ogilvie I and II are "Dead on Arrival"
by Don Barthel, Esq.

On 9/3/09, the WCAB revisited its earlier DFEC discussions with Ogilvie with yet another en banc decision: Ogilvie II.

Largely reiterating its earlier standard for rebutting the diminished future earnings capacity modified (DFEC) found in the 2005 Permanent Disability Rating Schedule, the majority gave employers much to cheer about. Indeed, given the language found on pages 30-32 of Ogilvie II, there is good reason to believe we will rarely see any serious attempt by an applicant's attorney to fight the DFEC front.

The reason?

It will take far too long!

The Future of Almaraz/Guzman? (Reading the Crystal Ball)

The Future of Almaraz/Guzman? (Reading the Crystal Ball)
by Donald R. Barthel, LLP

After a whirlwind of activity, the writ and responses have been filed with the Court of Appeal (Sixth District) in Guzman. The briefs have all been received by the WCAB in both Almaraz and Guzman.

Now what?
Industry insiders agree that the Court of Appeal likely will take no action until the WCAB issues Almaraz/Guzman II. While the Court of Appeal could have dismissed the pending writ when the WCAB decided to grant reconsideration, no such action has been taken. Does this mean the 6th DCA is ready to pounce when Almaraz/Guzman II issues? Only time will tell.

How much time?
Not much!

Objecting to Untimely PQME Reports: A Ticking Time Bomb

Objecting to Untimely PQME Reports: A Ticking Time Bomb
by David Grant, LLP

An instructive panel decision issued recently concerning the time frames for objecting to untimely panel QME reports. The WCAB in Teytud v. Clean Innovation Corp. (36 CWCR283) (ADJ 3371087) ruled the defendant waived its right to object to an untimely PQME report.

The original PQME delayed providing a report for over five months. In response to a defense motion, the WCJ ordered the appointment of a new PQME. Applicant attorney filed a Petition for Removal with the WCAB.

The panel based its decision on Labor Code Section 4062.5, which can be summarized as follows:

How Much Is A CAAA Member Really Worth?

How Much Is A CAAA Member Really Worth?
by Donald R. Barthel, Esq.

The Problem
In the post-SB 899 world, applicant attorneys are evidencing increasing creativity to step up their revenue stream. Not so very long ago, a CAAA member could make a fortune. Permanent disability based on work restrictions and subjective complaints permitted unconscionable—but lucrative—awards. Penalties calculated on the species of the benefit? Cha ching! Fees for work on vocational rehabilitation issues? Low hanging fruit!

Life was great... for CAAA.

These days, however, applicant attorneys are starving (or so they say!). Lately applicants attorneys have been looking to deposition fees and Labor Code 5710 as important source of income via outrageous rates. How much should you pay?

To Tell The Truth

To Tell The Truth
by Tahmeena Ahmed, Esq.

Daniel Dailey (Tarzana) is putting yet another bad guy away!

A bench warrant just issued for the arrest of the most recent applicant who foolishly tried to lie to Dan.

Apparently Mr. Dailey is a student of Paulo Coelho.1

Mr. Dailey knows how to look into the eyes of liars; he is well on his way to securing his seventh (or is it his eighth) perjury conviction. The complaint filed by the DA's office arose out of a simple deposition question posed by Mr. Dailey as he looked "directly into [applicant’s] eyes": "Sir, have you had any prior treatment in psych?" Mr. Dailey gave applicant the rope, and, with a stream of falsehoods, applicant hung himself out to dry! Interestingly, applicant's attorney did request a break to meet with his client. Apparently any attempt at "coaching" utterly failed!

Another one bites the dust! Congratulations Dan!

Tahmeena Ahmed is a Senior Partner of Bradford & Barthel and a Managing Partner of the Tarzana office.

1 Paulo Coelho is the best selling Portuguese language author who has sold more than 100 million books in over 150 countries worldwide. His writings have been translated into 67 languages, and he wrote "No one can lie, no one can hide anything, when he looks directly into someone's eyes.&qwuot;

"I'll See You When I See You, My Friend"

"I'll See You When I See You, My Friend"

The workers' compensation industry recently suffered a huge loss with the passing of Byron Jerome Wynn, who—along with his 8-year-old son, Alex—was tragically killed on the Artesia Freeway in Bellflower on December 6, 2008.

A mountain of a man with a heart to match, Mr. Wynn had worked as a Hearing Representative, mainly at the Los Angeles WCAB, since 1991 until his untimely death.

Known in workers' compensation circles for his smile and warm words of encouragement for everyone he met, Mr. Wynn was a beloved individual at AIG and the LA WCAB. The love and respect he earned in the industry were made obvious by the hundreds of mourners who attended his funeral on December 13, 2008. Amongst the speakers at the funeral was Mr. Aaron Rinehart, who worked with Mr. Wynn at AIG. There was not a dry eye when Mr. Rinehart recited the words that Mr. Wynn repeated so very often: "I'll see you when I see you, my friend."

Byron is survived by his wife (Alex's mother), Virginia McCoy Wynn, and his stepson, Everett White. Please address donations for the Wynn family to:

Emily Mach
Southern California Litigation Manager, W.C.
AIG Commercial Lines
One Mac Arthur Pl #500
Santa Ana, CA. 92707


Please make your check payable to Mrs. Virginia Wynn.

"Dude, Where's My... Witness?"

"Dude, Where's My... Witness?"1
by Donald R. Barthel, Esq.

The BIG trial is about to begin. The defense attorney (DA) scans the waiting room for the star defense witness (Star) to arrive. DA and Star have spoken about this case at great length. The matter cannot be won without Star. But where is Star?

"My witness will show up," mumbles DA to himself. "He's got to show up."

But when the judge looks to DA to begin his defense, Star is no where to be seen.

DA stutters.

DA stammers.

DA, scratching his head, recalls a couple of cites and mumbles something about Kuykendall and Tyler.2

DA asks for a continuance…

AHM District Office Move

AHM District Office Move
by Donald R. Barthel, Esq.

You can't believe everything you read...

According to the Department of Industrial Relations website, the Anaheim WCAB District office is located at

1661 N. Raymond Avenue Ste 200, Anaheim, CA 92801-1162

WRONG!

Although the Anaheim office was on Raymond for many years, it moved on Monday, December 22, 2008.

The new address: