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:
- Lawrence Weiner v. Ralph’s Company, Permissibly Self-Insured and Sedgwick Claims Management Services, Inc. (Adjusting Agent) ADJ 347040, MON 0305426 (en banc) (6/11/2009)
Obviously, you’ll need to read and interpret Weiner v. Ralph’s for yourself. Here’s the Board’s own summary:
- 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
- A saving clause was not adopted to protect vocational rehabilitation rights in cases still pending on or after January 1, 2009
- The vocational rehabilitation statutes that were repealed in 2003 do not continue to function as “ghost statutes” on or after January 1, 2009
- 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
- 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?
- Vocational rehabilitation is gone unless there is a “vested” right by way order that became final prior to 1/1/2009.
- If you already have a final order for vocational rehabilitation, the WCAB can still hear a dispute.