If Human Resource is for Humans, Then Litigation is for Lawyers

by Gerald Kline (July 18, 2018)

Humans are arguably the most valuable and important resource engaged in the furtherance of a company’s goals and success. Nothing gets done without a human involved at some point in the process. Until we are replaced by AI and robots, without humans, business does not get done.

Yet unlike other more traditional resources, humans can be difficult to quantify, bring online and maintain. Most companies recognize both their value and challenges and have a commitment to the management of this resource through human resource departments.

Combatting the Infiltration of Chiropractic PQMEs

by Kimberly R. Wagner (July 11, 2018)
One of the farthest reaching and most litigated effects of SB899 is the alteration of the Panel Qualified Medical Evaluator process. No longer are the days of the “dueling doctors” who were replaced by what soon came to be known as the “QME dance,” both terms calling to mind equally ridiculous cartoonish scenarios of colleagues in white coats (though the latter scene sounding far more civilized). Labor Code §4062 set forth the steps of the dance, with one party objecting, or at least giving the pretense of an objection, to the treating report in order to gain access to the coveted PQME panel. In practice, however, it seems to be rarely enforced that the party issuing said objection be held to it, each party regressing to its most favorable position at the completion of the process.

There has been much litigation as to who has the right to choose the appropriate specialty of a PQME panel (never mind the fact that this is the only opportunity for defendants to obtain a medical-legal opinion aside from initial Medical Provider Network consultations, usually prior to the injured worker’s representation, in contrast to the nearly unlimited chances that an injured worker has to change Primary Treating Physicians). It quickly became evident, particularly in the case of Messele v. Pitco Foods, (2011) 76 CCC 1318, that the party with the privilege to select the panel specialty was whomever could input its request the fastest, relegating such a crucial part of the process to a technicality. The WCAB demonstrated a preference in its subsequent decision of Richmond v. Santa Rosa Tile Co., 2014 Cal.Wrk.Comp.P.D. LEXIS 658 to uphold whatever panel specialty was “properly” obtained first, even if it was somewhat questionable in relation to the applicant’s claim. It would appear that the concern lay at least in part in clearing the backlog of issuing PQME panels, though it is unclear as to whether the WCAB considered a possible side effect of now additional panel requests being submitted under Title 8 Cal. Code of Regs. §31.7 due to the disagreement.