Mar
09
2009
4

Don’t Believe The Hype: Almaraz/Guzman is the law!

Get your head out of the sand!

Get your head out of the sand!

UPDATE 9/3/2009:  Download the new en banc Ogilvie II and Almaraz/Guzman II decisions here!

There are numerous workers’ compensation professionals who are incredibly unhappy with Ogilvie and Almaraz/Guzman.  Vocational experts are unhappy with Ogilvie, and somewhat hopeful with Almaraz/Guzman.  Impairment rating specialists are not happy with Ogilvie or Almaraz/Guzman.  These people may be unhappy with these new cases, but at least they’re starting to adapt.

As Julius Young of WorkCompZone.com just reported, some people are dealing with Almaraz/Guzman by putting on “webinars.”  Phil Walker and Christopher Brigham have each announced “webinars.”  According to Walker’s promotional e-mail, he charges $2,000.00 to appear for a one day seminar – and now he’s giving it away for free.

People will try to convince you that Almaraz/Guzman is not the law or “just” a WCAB decision.  Do not believe these people.  Ogilvie and Almaraz/Guzman are both en banc cases.

En banc decisions of the Appeals Board are binding precedent on all Appeals Board panels and workers’ compensation judges. (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 8, § 10341; City of Long Beach v. Workers’ Comp. Appeals Bd. (Garcia) (2005) 126 Cal.App.4th 298, 313, fn. 5 [70 Cal.Comp.Cases 109, 120, fn. 5]; Gee v. Workers’ Comp. Appeals Bd. (2002) 96 Cal.App.4th 1418, 1425, fn. 6 [67 Cal.Comp.Cases 236, 239, fn. 6]; see also Gov. Code, § 11425.60(b).)

Ogilvie and Almaraz/Guzman are binding precedent on judges and the WCAB itself.  Don’t believe the hype and don’t stick your head in the sand. [1] If you argue it is not the law or not binding precedent, you will lose.  Yes, these cases may be appealed and may even be overturned.

I think it likely they will be appealled and highly unlikely they will be overturned.

  1. Photo courtesy of blakeimeson []

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