Boehm & Associates v. WCAB (Brower) (2003)

Boehm & Associates v. WCAB (Brower) (2003) 108 Cal. App 4th 137, 68 Cal. Comp. Cases 548.

In this case, Boehm represented the California Department of Health Services (Medi-Cal). Boehm overturned a WCAB reduction of Medi-Cal’s recovery entitlement. The applicant accepted a nominal settlement of $4,000. Boehm successfully tried the issue of industrial injury, but the workers’ compensation judge limited Medi-Cal’s recovery on a $12,000.00 lien to $1,760.00, relying on his interpretation of Welfare & Institutions Code §14124.78. That code section limits Medi-Cal’s recoveries in tort actions to 50 percent of a beneficiary’s settlement or award, after deduction for attorneys’ fee. Boehm argued that the Welfare & Institutions Code applied only to tort cases and not to workers’ compensation cases. Both the Board and the Court of Appeal summarily denied Boehm’s petition. Boehm then appealed to the California Supreme Court knowing that the Court accepts only about 1% of civil appeals for review. The Court nevertheless accepted Boehm’s appeal and remanded the case to the Court of Appeal with an order to issue a written opinion. On remand, the Court of Appeal agreed with Boehm that Medi-Cal was entitled to full reimbursement of its lien rather than only fifty percent of the amount of applicant’s settlement.