The Pandemic of 2020 will be encased in history books and forever taught as core historical curriculum destined to be known as the worst world-wide calamity since WW II.
Through these difficult and painful times, we continue to wish you both health and safety as well as for your family, love ones and friends alike. We will get through this.
WHERE WE ARE RIGHT NOW
- SETTLEMENTS: We are seeing a few applicant attorneys, who customarily express aggressive over-demands for settlement, coming to more moderate terms. This is a good time to settle cases, since many applicant attorneys are not agreeing to video conference depositions and 5710 fees can be significant, especially for those high-volume practices. And, the new WCAB appearance rules will end the “mass filing” of multiple cases at one WCAB location.
- DEPOSITIONS: We are encouraging applicant attorneys either to agree to a video conferencing deposition or some plausible alternative. Some are agreeable, others are not. Delays in discovery could become “nuggets of settlement opportunity.” Be persistent. We are conducting some physician depositions telephonically.
- QME / AME: We just issued a newsletter on this evolving subject. Proposed Emergency Regulations 8 CCR 78: PQME: The times frames for scheduling the examinations are extended and if an actual face-to-face evaluation is essential, it can be bifurcated to a time within 90 days after the end of the Stay-Safe-at Home Order. A PQME or AME may provide a record review and electronic interview summary report in the meantime. Under limited circumstances, a tele-health examination can be performed in lieu of a formal QME examination, but with party consent and limitations. During the period of emergency, reports may be served electronically upon mutual consent.
- ALTERNATIVE? Using a PTP report upon which to base settlement, so long as it is reasonable and not outside the bounds, rather than undergoing the expense and delays of the attenuated PQME process.
- WCAB HEARINGS: Beginning 05/04/2020, the DWC will hear all MSC’s, Priority Conferences, Status Conferences, Expedited Hearings and Case-in-Chief Trials telephonically. Each WCJ will have a designed conference line. Generally, I am liking the telephonic conferences, since it virtually eliminates the “wait your turn” while an applicant attorney makes the rounds at multiple other hearing rooms. The “downside?” If one party doesn’t appear, the matter will go OTOC and this can become a real issue.
- FILING OF TRIAL EXHIBITS: WCAB Rule 10670(b)(3) requiring parties to file trial exhibits no later than 20 days prior to trial is suspended by WCAB En Banc decision filed on 04/28/2020.
- “THREE MINUTES WITH INGBER & WEINBERG: We are posting our V-logs every Wednesday. Please visit our web site to view: https://icomplaw.com/vlog/
Please stay and well.