I Spy...for Free!

by Don Barthel, LLP
Suspicious about an applicant's veracity, but can't quite figure out why?

Trying to decide whether to assign a case to a private investigator?

Questioning whether your hunch can justify the costs of hiring your favorite gumshoe?

Consider saving lots of money by performing your own 15-minute background check...for free! Internet searches are quickly becoming an easy, effective, and inexpensive (not to mention…FUN!) way of researching an applicant's background and verifying their credibility.

She's Doing What?
The wealth of information readily available on the internet first became clear to me last year while defending the orthopedic/psych case of "Jill,"1 Jill had happily collected TD for over a year and seemed likely to continue on this course for a long while. Jill had provided a local cell phone number in her contact information, but almost immediately retracted the number—stating it was a "mistake"—and replaced it with what she described as her "real" number.

Huh? "Real" phone number? As opposed to what...a "fake" one? This seemed suspect, but what did it mean?

Spinal Surgery Authorization Process OR Pain In The Neck?

by Don Barthel, Esq.

Just received a primary treating physician's (PTP) request for authorization to provide spinal surgery? Think the proposed surgical treatment isn't reasonable and necessary?1 Don't stop to smell the roses...you're running out of time (literally!).

The WCAB's most recent (11/19/09) en banc decision, Cervantes v. El Aquila Food Products Inc, requires that you jump through so many hoops to deny the authorization request that even the WCAB Commissioners admit it "may seem redundant"!2 And all this redundacy must be completed within ten (10) days!

Your Choices Are GONE!
Per a prior WCAB Panel decision, Brasher 3, you had some choices when dealing with spinal surgery requests, such as:
  • Relying exclusively on UR's determination and letting applicant try to obtain a timely Labor Code 4062(b)4 report to fight UR determination, or
  • Obtaining both a UR determination and your own 4062(b) report, or
  • Completely opting out of UR and disputing the spinal surgery recommendation using only a 4062(b) report.

All your choices have disappeared!

B&B Announces Newest Partners

B&B recently announced its newest partners: Farai Kadzirange (Ontario), Sean Shabestari (Ontario), Patricia Carlos (Tarzana), Garrett Kuehn (San Diego), Tom Murphy (Tarzana), Peter Fitzpatrick (Ontario) and Monica Coats (Fresno).

Citing the new partners' "outstanding service" and "aggressive, client-oriented approach," B&B noted that its newest partners bring nearly 1½ centuries of legal experience to bear. It is the quality of work, attention to detail, and dedication to our clients this group consistently demonstrates that has permitted B&B to distinguish itself as one of California's truly premier workers' compensation defense firms.

Congratulations, Class of 2009!

Mark Fletcher is the Managing Attorney of Bradford & Barthel, LLP.

Technology Forecast: Clouds Ahead


Hey, we told you not to read this! Are you gone?

Ok, now that everyone has left, we can discuss this top-secret information...

B&B's Knowledge Management Department is leading the industry developing cutting-edge technological advances to benefit our clients and B&B's own staff, attorneys, and managers in ways that heretofore were unimaginable.

Do you start to fall asleep even at the mere mention of "technology"? Are you "too old" for all that "technobabble"?

Think again.

The DEU Violates the Labor Code and Costs You Money (Here's How to Prove It)

The Problem

This is not another long-winded treatise on how to get an apportionment determination approved by a WCJ. This article assumes that the apportionment is already approved or otherwise stipulated. Rather, this essay is aimed at ensuring that the DEU's misapplication of the 2005 Permanent Disability Rating Schedule (PDRS) and relevant apportionment labor codes1 does not cost you money!

The 2005 PDRS and AMA Guides (5th) introduce numerous ways to add and combine numbers. Inasmuch as the PDRS and Guides are, for legal purposes, mere regulations, whereas the applicable Labor Code sections are statutory, Labor Code 4663 and 4664 trump any conflict that may arise as between the Labor Code and Regulations. The DEU, too, has gotten into the mix, dictating an apportionment methodology that frustrates Labor Code intent and increases your PD exposure.

What is the DEU doing wrong?