Home > Uncategorized > Not Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

Not Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

Do you remember Tommy Jenkins?  He was your annoying friend in fifth grade.  He would sit next to you at lunch time, wanting to “share” your fruit snacks.  Of course, as soon as your fruit snacks were gone, Tommy would reach into his lunch box and pull out his chocolate covered wafers.

The nerve!  The gall!  THE CHUTZPAH!  Here is this kid enjoying the fruit snacks of your labor, the ones you begged your mom for and endured steamed vegetables to get.  And now you can’t even get a share of his chocolate treats.

Well, Tommy grew up, and eventually filed a workers’ compensation claim.  This time, however, he was not content with the money in his employer’s cookie jar, and wanted what was under its mattress as well.

In the case of State Compensation Insurance Fund v. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, defendant had advanced over $11,000 for a 2003 injury.  Following the enactment of SB899, the Workers’ Compensation Judge, awarded roughly $6,300 for the 2003 injury and $4,800 for the 2007 cumulative trauma.  (There was also a 2000 cumulative trauma, but that did not play an important role in this case).

Defendant sought credit, which the WCJ allowed.  But at that point, applicant petitioned for reconsideration. Recognize the chutzpah?  Already, applicant has gotten more money than he is entitled to, and now he wants to go deeper into the defendant’s pocket and get more!

In a decision based seemingly on some warped perception of “fairness,” the WCAB granted applicant’s petition, reasoning that defendant should not get the benefit of both apportionment and credit.  (Folks – I’m not making this up, this was the reasoning!)  The WCAB also expressed concern that an alternative result would leave the applicant with no “new money” for his 2007 injury.

I can only hope that this was just a “bad day at the Board” situation, and we won’t have to see similar decisions again.  Of course, hope and four quarters will buy you a dollar’s worth of lobbying money with which to change the law.

Categories: Uncategorized
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  1. March 27, 2012 at 8:06 am

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