Jun
12
2009
0

Why did the WCAB in Weiner kill vocational rehabilitation?

WCAB: Throwing babies out with the bathwater since 1965

The WCAB: Throwing babies out with the bathwater since 1965

For context, its best to see the prior post about the WCAB’s Weiner v. Ralph’s (en banc) decision.  There’s even a link to the Weiner v. Ralphs (en banc) decision for download – just so you can play along at home.

The question in the title of the post is really a question about the WCAB’s rationale – not their end legal justification behind Weiner.  I believe the Weiner case hints that the WCAB is going to go the other way and uphold their rulings in Almaraz/Guzman and Ogilvie.

However, I think the WCAB’s rationale for ending vocational rehabilitation was because of the potential for enormous retroactive vocational rehabilitation maintenance allowance awards at the temporary total disability rate outside the cap (VRTD).[1][2]

  1. Photo courtesy of Stephane Raymond []
  2. You see, I’m suggesting that the bathwater is VRTD and the baby itself is vocational rehabilitation.  Kinda kills the metaphor, eh? []
Jun
11
2009
2

Weiner v Ralphs (en banc): Vocational Rehabilitation Ends

Weiner v. Ralphs spells the end of rehab

Weiner v. Ralphs spells the end of rehab

The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board recently solicited amicus briefs regarding the Weiner v. Ralphs case.  After review of the amicus briefs on the topic of the repeal of Labor Code Section 139.5 and vocational rehabilitation, the WCAB has just issued their en banc opinion.[1]

Download a copy of Weiner v. Ralphs (en banc) right here:

Obviously, you’ll need to read and interpret Weiner v. Ralph’s for yourself.  Here’s the Board’s own summary:

  1. The repeal of section 139.5 terminated any rights to vocational rehabilitation benefits or services pursuant to orders or awards that were not final before January 1, 2009
  2. A saving clause was not adopted to protect vocational rehabilitation rights in cases still pending on or after January 1, 2009
  3. The vocational rehabilitation statutes that were repealed in 2003 do not continue to function as “ghost statutes” on or after January 1, 2009
  4. Effective January 1, 2009, the WCAB lost jurisdiction over non-vested and inchoate vocational rehabilitation claims, but the WCAB continues to have jurisdiction under sections 5502(b)(3) and 5803 to enforce or terminate vested rights; and
  5. Subject matter jurisdiction over non-vested and inchoate vocational rehabilitation claims cannot be conferred by waiver, estoppel, stipulation, or consent.

What does Weiner v. Ralph’s mean to you?

  1. Vocational rehabilitation is gone unless there is a “vested” right by way order that became final prior to 1/1/2009.
  2. If you already have a final order for vocational rehabilitation, the WCAB can still hear a dispute.
  1. Photo courtesy of larryfishkorn []
Apr
14
2009
0

WCAB Solicits Amicus Briefs on Weiner VR Repeal Case

The WCAB is soliciting suggestions on vocational rehabilitation

The WCAB is soliciting input on vocational rehabilitation

The WCAB has just issued an “Order Allowing Amicus Briefs” (en banc) in the Weiner v. Ralph’s Company case.[1] The Weiner case is about the effect of the legislature’s repeal of Labor Code Section 139.5 as of January 1, 2009.  The repeal of this statute may have the effect of terminating all rights to vocational rehabilitation.

For the curious, you can download a copy of the Order Allowing Amicus Briefs (en banc) here:

The Board is allowing until May 11, 2009 for any interested party to file their own amicus brief on these Weiner vocational rehabiltiation issues.

  1. Photo courtesy of Mathoov []

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