IMR CONSTITUTIONAL CHALLENGE UPDATE
On January 25, 2016, the California Supreme Court in Stevens v. WCAB (WCAB No. ADJ 1526353; Case No. A143043) indicated that it was extending the time through March 3, 2016 for it to decide whether to grant or deny review.
On December 4, 2015, applicant’s attorney Joseph Waxman had filed a petition for review of the 1st District Court of Appeal’s decision finding that Independent Medical Review (IMR) was “fundamentally fair” and afforded injured workers constitutionally adequate “opportunities to present evidence and to be heard.”
On December 22, applicant’s attorney also filed a Request for Depublication of the 1st DCA’s decision currently under appeal. The request for depublication was opposed both by State Compensation Insurance Fund (representing defendant/respondent) and by the Administrative Director of the Division of Workers’ Compensation.
The Administrative Director then filed an answer opposing the petition for review on January 7. State Fund’s response was filed on January 14 and applicant’s attorney filed his reply on January 15.
Respondents assert that the 1st DCA properly decided the matter. They also contend that the statutes which established the IMR system under the sweeping changes enacted by the California legislature when it passed SB 863 are both fair and constitutionally permissible. They maintain that the legislature is granted plenary power by the California Constitution to establish the workers’ compensation system and that it acted reasonably in response to the escalation of medical costs and defects it perceived in the delivery of medical care to the state’s injured workers. Respondents also contend that the petitioner has not demonstrated an appropriate ground for the California Supreme Court to grant review the of the Court of Appeal’s decision.
The California Supreme Court will issue its decision to grant or to deny the petition for review by March 3, 2016.
LIEN ACTIVATION FEE UPDATE
As of January 1, 2016, all liens subject to the activation fee provisions of Labor Code Section 4903.06 for which the activation fee had not been paid by December 31, 2015 were dismissed by operation of law.
The plaintiffs in Angelotti Chiropractic, Inc., et al v. Baker, et al. have petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for review of the underlying court’s decision. The Courts have not yet issued a determination regarding granting or denial of review.