Workers' Compensation Section

News from the Section

View from the Incoming Chair

By Yvonne Lang, Esq.
Oxnard, California

I am so excited about my new role as Chair of the State Bar Workers’ Compensation Section Executive Committee. I am passionate about what I do, who I do it with and about the practice of workers’ compensation law. My goal this year as chair is to help you use the State Bar Workers’ Compensation Section Executive Committee resources to reinvigorate your practice and to help you fully realize why you do what you do in order to improve your practice.

First things first, as we approach the end of 2015 your State Bar Workers’ Compensation Section Executive Committee will be participating in our annual Long Range Planning in the mid- November. At this Long Range Planning the Executive Committee coordinates the coming year for you our section members -- including outlining educational sessions, beginning the Awards process, soliciting new members for the Executive Committee through our Application process and of course discussing our publications like the Workers’ Compensation Quarterly.

Since we will be doing all this planning I wonder if I might ask you all a favor -- Do you have an idea for a seminar topic that we have not covered in a while or ever. Do you want to volunteer to speak at an educational session? Do you have suggestions about an underserved area of the state where you think we should have an educational session? Are you enjoying our on-line catalogue of CLE materials? What about webinars? Are you watching our webinars? Is there a subject you would like covered in webinar form? Are you a wordsmith? How about volunteering to write an article for the Quarterly? Aside from all these questions he Executive Committee and I are here to listen to your suggestions because our membership is very important to us. READ MORE

Lessons Learned for Rebutting the DFEC Adjustment Factor in a Permanent Disability Rating String: CONTRA COSTA COUNTY vs. WCAB (DAHL)

By Robert G. Rassp, Esq.

In order to understand Contra Costa County v. Workers’ Comp. Appeals Bd. (Dahl), 240 Cal.App.4th 746, 80 Cal. Comp. Cases --, it is important to first understand the facts of the case.  Ms. Dahl was a medical records clerk for the County who claimed cumulative trauma to her neck and right shoulder through March 2005.  She had been employed by the County for 8 years, has a bachelor’s degree from CSU Hayward and a felony conviction for possession and sale of methamphetamine.  An AME opined that the Applicant had a WPI that resulted in an adjusted permanent disability rating of 59%.  At trial, the Applicant tried to rebut the standard permanent disability rating by using the second of three rebuttal methods described in Ogilvie v. Workers’ Comp. Appeals Bd. (2011) 197 Cal. App.4th 1262, 76 Cal. Comp. Cases 624,which is based on LeBoeuf v. Workers’ Comp. Appeals Bd. (1983) 34 Cal.3d 234, 48 Cal. Comp. Cases 587.

Based on a review of the medical reports, interviews with the Applicant, and EDD data, the Applicant's vocational expert opined she had a proportional earnings loss of about 87% that, according to the expert, equals a 77% permanent disability rating, based on an analysis of the same or similarly situated employees. A defense vocational expert opined the Applicant's proportional earnings loss was only 30%. The defense expert considered all of the medical and vocational evidence submitted at trial and individualized his conclusions to the Applicant's specific situation.

The WCJ found a 59% permanent disability and concluded that the Applicant did not rebut the rating. The WCAB reversed the WCJ and held that the Applicant could rebut the scheduled rating by showing the injury impaired her amenability to rehabilitation, even where there was less than 100% permanent total disability. READ MORE....

Webinar: Workers' Compensation 101: The Fundamentals of Rating

January 8, 2016, 12 noon - 1 p.m.

1 hour participatory MCLE credit; 1 hour legal specialization credit in Workers' Compensation Law. You must register in advance to participate.

We present an introductory course that covers the basics of rating permanent disability. The course will teach how to read and understand ratings strings including each individual component of the rating and how it affects the calculation of disability. The Workers’ Compensation 101 series of webinars is designed with the beginning practitioner in mind. The entry level practitioner will learn step by step how to rate workers’ compensation reports using the 2014 Permanent Disability Rating Schedule (PDRS). The program will also cover some quirks between the 2005 and 2013 PDRS as well as the changes in permanent disability payment rates from 2005 through 2014.

Speaker: Eric Ledger works as Industrial Relations Counsel with the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board.

Webinar: Physical Injuries Caused by Stress: When Does McCoy Apply?

January 15, 2016, 12 noon - 1 p.m.

1 hour participatory MCLE credit; 1 hour legal specialization credit in Workers' Compensation Law. You must register in advance to participate.

When work stress results in a physical injury a significant question arises as to whether the affirmative defenses against a psychological injury apply. This issue was directly addressed in San Bernardino Co. v. WCAB (McCoy). Ever since the McCoy decision parties and the courts have struggled to correctly apply the holding. Greg Gomez, applicant’s attorney and former deputy attorney general, discusses the precise burdens of proof that each side has in arguing a McCoy scenario. The webinar will provide a roadmap for handling a McCoy issue with recent case examples from the WCAB.

Speaker: Greg Gomez

Webinar: Immigration Law Issues in Workers’ Compensation

January 29, 2016, 12 noon - 1 p.m.

1 hour participatory MCLE credit; 1 hour legal specialization credit in Workers' Compensation Law, 1 hour legal specialization in Immigration & Nationality Law. You must register in advance to participate.

Nikki Jacobson, a distinguished law professor and immigration and workers’ compensation attorney, will discuss how to navigate immigration concerns that arise in workers’ compensation cases including common pitfalls and traps.

Join us as a tricky area of crossover law – immigration law and workers’ compensation is discussed. Learn how to properly navigate a multitude of concerns that arise when the client’s immigration status affects the workers’ compensation case and vice versa. Topics addressed will include 132a litigation, temporary disability, psyche claims, and U visas among others.

6 Hours of Self-Study CLE in the Specialty Areas -- Complimentary for Members of the Workers' Compensation Section!

Thank you to members of the Workers' Compensation Section.  A member benefit of 6 hours MCLE credit, including in the subfields.As a 2015 benefit of Section membership, we are pleased to offer six hours of MCLE credit, offering credit in all of the MCLE subfields.

If you were purchasing these courses individually in our Online Catalog, they would cost $210 -- so that's your Section membership more than paid for, and then some!

Just watch these programs, and keep a record of having done so in the event you're audited for MCLE compliance.

You can access these programs and the accompanying written materials any time this year in the Members Only Area.

MEMBERS ONLY: List of CLE webinars and Substantive Law Articles Available FREE on State Bar Website

As a benefit of Section membership, the state bar is pleased to offer six hours of MCLE credit, offering credit in all of the MCLE subfields, Elimination of Bias in the Legal Profession, Detection and Prevention of Substance Abuse and Emotional Distress and Legal Ethics. Just keep a record of having watched them, in the event you're audited for MCLE compliance.

State Bar Workers’ Comp Section members may also use this link to access a plethora of our most popular articles from our publications.

Online CLE

See Online CLE and click on Workers' Compensation to find out how you can get online participatory MCLE credit for Workers' Compensation programs at your convenience. Choose from a wide selection of State Bar of California MCLE programs at both modem and broadband connection speeds. For information about other options for CLE credit, see Education .

Save Money with CEB

CEB Discount Program for Section MembersContinuing Education of the Bar, California (CEB) is extending some special discount offers to our section. As a member of the Workers' Compensation Section, you're eligible for:

  • 10% off selected CEB print or online books
  • A rebate on your section dues that can be applied to the cost of a CEB Gold CLE Passport or a CLE program ticket

A complete list of the products eligible for a discount is available on a CEB web page accessible through our Members Only Area . Information about the section dues rebate program can be found on the CEB Web site .

Contact Us

Workers' Compensation Section
The State Bar of California
180 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1639
FAX 415-538-2368