Home > Uncategorized > Defendant Bears Burden of Validating MPN

Defendant Bears Burden of Validating MPN

We have all read the Court of Appeal opinion in the Valdez case.  Applicants can treat where they like and choose a quasi-QME to write admissible reports.  No doubt, applicants’ attorneys will guide their clients towards a balanced and honest physician with the sole aim of making applicant healthy enough to return to work, and not to inflate applicant’s impairment rating.

So, the defense is stuck with the consolation prize of not having to pay for treatment, even though it will be showered with report after report saying that the paper cut sustained at home is industrial and has caused 100% disability.

Enter the Fernando Sarmiento case.  Mr. Sarmiento filed two claims against Payroll Management Group/Blue Chip Recycling.  Applicant treated outside of the defense’s medical provider network, and defendant’s efforts to compel treatment within the MPN were met with stiff judicial resistance.

Taking its case to the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, the defense rightly argued that the Valdez en banc case entitled the defense to at least some protection through its MPN.  Mind you, dear readers, that this panel decision pre-dates the Court of Appeal decision by about two weeks.

But the WCAB was of little help to the defense, denying the petition for reconsideration, it treated defendant’s petition as one for removal and denied it as well.  Apparently, the defense had not (yet) proven that it had a properly established and noticed MPN.

But, the WCAB did provide a method by which the defense could prove the validity of its MPN and reap the limited benefits of the MPN and what the Court of Appeal left standing from Valdez.

Reasoning that “a defendant, as a party, is entitled to file a declaration of readiness to proceed to an expedited hearing to determine the employee’s entitlement to medical treatment,” the WCAB held that the defendant must file a declaration of readiness to proceed to expedited hearing, and prove that it has a properly established and noticed MPN.  (See: Breanna Clifton v. Sears Holding Corporation).

Lock and load, dear readers, there is yet another step in the workers’ compensation dance.

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