Last week I managed to obtain three walk through settlements at three different Boards in the same day – mostly due to the good will and kindness of Board staff and other attorneys. It was my plan to walk through a settlement in San Jose and then Oakland in the same morning to be followed up with an afternoon settlement in San Francisco.1
My morning walk through in at the San Jose WCAB was with an unrepresented injured worker. I had set my Board file and settlement documents down next to me and turned to speak to the injured worker – but when I turned back my Board file and documents were gone. An attorney had walked into the room, picked up my documents and Board file, put them in his bag along with his other materials nearby, and left for his office.
At this point, the dream was almost dead before it had even begun. Even if I managed to chase down my file which was now somewhere in San Jose, I only had a slim chance of finishing a walk through that morning and no chance of doing a second in the same morning.
I very nearly aborted the mission and returned to my office in defeat. Ultimately, I decided that I’d rather risk a spectacular failure than not try at all.
I called my office to get the phone number of the attorney I thought had picked up my file, called their office, and left a message asking for their attorney to call me back. He called me back a few minutes later and said my file was in his bag – he must have put it there accidentally. Unfortunately, his schedule didn’t permit him to bring the file back to the Board.
After apologizing to the injured worker and begging the forgiveness of the Judge, I left the Board and my really excellent parking space for the attorney’s office. I was probably inside their office for less than 30 seconds total since the attorney had left my Board file with his receptionist. Back to the Board, a less than primo parking spot, and last place in the walk through line. 23
Fortunately, the Judge and extremely understanding attorneys in the room allowed me to cut ahead in line to finish my walk through and continue on with my quest.