spine injury cure
Utilization Review Certified: 1 Fun Size Bag

A few weeks ago I posted about how swearing can reduce pain.1 If you thought that was unbelievable, read on:

Researchers at University of Rochester Medical Center have apparently found that the dye in blue M&M’s can lessen the secondary effects of spinal injuries.2 Those mice that received the injections of this blue dye recovered the ability to walk, and those without the injections did not.  The only side effect reported was, I kid you not, that the mice turned blue.

You can’t make this stuff up.  Anyhow, here’s the first ten jokes that occurred to me after reading that article:

  1. The blue M&M’s replaced the tan M&M’s in 1995 when it was discovered the tan ones caused spinal injuries.3
  2. Not to be outdone, Skittles researchers report their candies allow you to pee unicorns.
  3. The WCAB has now issued another en banc opinion that the office candy jar constitutes the rendering of first aid.
  4. *Disclaimer: This study was funded by The Great Pumpkin, the Easter Bunny, and the Mars Corporation.
  5. It has now been discovered that the members of the Blue Man Group are impervious to spinal injuries.
  6. …and that’s why the Smurfs have the lowest workers’ compensation premiums on the Cartoon Network.
  7. Researchers also found that it was the blue dye in Viagra, not sildenafil citrate, that helped with erectile dysfunction.
  8. The legislature has amended Labor Code 4604.5(d)(1) to allow a maximum of 24 ounces of M&M’s per industrial injury.
  9. “Your honor, under Braewood v. WCAB (Bolton), Defendants must authorize the blue M&M’s in order to treat the underlying industrial condition.”
  10. The Governor has added a new ballot measure that would replace the California MPN system with a new M&M based system.

I think the last one is my favorite.  :)

  1. Photo courtesy of Daneen_vol []
  2. Via Slashdot []
  3. You remember the tan ones, don’t you? []

Smith/Amar Reversed
Smith/Amar Reversed

Oral argument on Smith v. WCAB (California Youth Authority) went forward on Smith out that on April 7, 2009.  Today, we have the result – Smith/Amar has been unanimously reversed by the California Supreme Court in case number S150528.  Download a copy and read it for yourself here:

For more background on Smith/Amar, check out my prior post discussing the oral argument.

California Court of Appeals, Sixth Appellate District
California Court of Appeals, Sixth Appellate District

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any crazier in workers’ compensation than Ogilvie, Almaraz/Guzman, Benson, and XyzzxSJO2.  Yesterday I found out that on April 7, 2009 the case of Smith v. WCAB (California Youth Authority) is on calendar for oral argument.  As with Almaraz/Guzman, Smith v. WCAB dealt with similar legal issues across two particular workers’ compensation cases.  In case you missed it, here’s the court of appeal decision:

Smith involved an informal denial of medical treatment without a formal petition to terminate medical care under L.C. 4607, after an award of permanent disability. Eight years after Smith’s  award, SCIF refused to authorize epidural injections.  Smith’s attorney sought utilization review, Smith was reexamined by the AME who said the injections were necessary to relieve from the effects of the industrial injury.  Although SCIF then authorized the injections without the need for a hearing, Smith’s attorney sought fees under L.C. 4607.

The WCJ denied Smith’s attorney’s petition for fess since there was no formal petition to terminated medical care.  The WCAB denied reconsideration on the grounds that SCIF’s was not denying all medical treatment.

Amar is substantially similar to Smith, except that in Amar the workers’ compensation judge took the extra step of opining that SCIF’s denial of medical treatment was made in good faith, not unreasonable, and not improper.

However, the 2nd Appellate Court reversed the WCAB in Smith and Amar, stating in relevant part:

“We see no difference when a carrier informally denies some of the treatment that is a necessary part of medical care previously awarded. This is tantamount to a petition to deny medical care even though the carrier continues to provide treatment for some of applicant’s medical care.”

“Insurance carriers who fail to provide previously awarded medical care may not avoid attorney fees to successful applicants’ attorneys through the expedient of an informal denial, even when they do so in good faith.”

I would love to watch the oral argument on this case – but Los Angeles is a bit of a hike for me. 1  I am very very interested to see how this case shakes out.

  1. I last watched oral argument on the Mt. Diablo Unified School District v. WCAB (Rollick) case back on 8/5/2008.  It was particularly interesting for me since I was familiar with the applicant attorney, defense attorney, and facts of that case.  If nothing else, its always fun to watch judges get snarky. []