Don’t Believe The Hype: Almaraz/Guzman is the law!
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.
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 Don’t believe the hype and don’t stick your head in the sand. 1 If you argue it is not the law or not binding precedent, you will lose.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.