Boehm & Associates v. WCAB (Florencio Lopez) (1999) 76 Cal. App. 4th 513, 64 Cal. Comp. Cases 1350.
Boehm successfully litigated this case on behalf of DHCS and three hospitals establishing the right of lien claimants to prejudgment interest. In that case, Mr. Lopez settled his claim for $4,000. Not willing to accept a nominal offer, Boehm went to trial on the threshold issue of industrial aggravation of a previously asymptomatic pre-existing condition. The judge’s decision denying liability was reversed on Boehm’s appeal. Next, Boehm claimed entitlement to prejudgment interest. Both the trial judge and the WCAB on appeal denied the claim, holding that interest was only due from the time the Board determined that the injury was an industrial liability, in keeping with the Board’s relevant rules at the time. Boehm filed a petition for writ of review before the Court of Appeal. The court reversed the Board’s interpretation of Labor Code § 4603.2(b) and awarded prejudgment interest. In the end, Boehm recovered not only the full amount of the DHCS lien, $62,000.00, but for the first time in California history, Boehm received prejudgment interest, an additional $19,000.00. As a result of this case, the WCAB was also compelled to re-write its own rules (8 Cal. Code Regs. 9792.5) to conform to the new statutory interpretation. The case has not only enabled the recovery of prejudgment interest in many trial decisions, but the specter of such liability has had a beneficial effect in a high percentage of negotiated settlements.