California Comp Board to Revisit Controversial Decisions

By Staff Report

Apr. 9, 2009

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said it is “absolutely right” for the California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board to reconsider two controversial case decisions.

The board made an unusual announcement, saying Monday, April 6, that it would reconsider en banc decisions it made earlier this year in Wanda Ogilvie v. City and County of San Francisco and in the consolidated case of Mario Almaraz v. Environmental Recovery Services and Joyce Guzman v. Malpitas Unified School District.

The board in both cases ruled that a schedule adopted in 2005 for rating permanent disabilities can be rebutted with certain evidence.

But those decisions quickly came under fire from payers and the governor for putting upward pressure on workers’ comp rates.

“It’s absolutely right for the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board to reconsider its earlier decision, and its decision to do so shows that board members recognize the importance of this issue,” the governor said in a statement Tuesday, April 7. “It is important that we assist California workers injured on the job, and it is also important that we protect businesses to be sure they can weather the current economy and create jobs.”

The board said it will reconsider its prior decisions so that interested parties can provide it further briefing and amicus briefs.

Filed by Roberto Ceniceros of Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail

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