Home > Uncategorized > More Sanctions for Sloppy and Lazy Lien Claimants

More Sanctions for Sloppy and Lazy Lien Claimants

It is no secret to anyone that your humble blogger loves cases where lien claimants get their comeuppance.  Such was the case in the relatively recent panel decision of Kathy Capone v. First Bank & Trust.

There, the case-in-chief had resolved and the issue of a lien was set for lien conference – lien claimant blew off the hearing date and blew the deadline by which to object to the Notice of Intention to Dismiss.  The workers’ compensation Judge ordered the lien dismissed and lien claimant filed a petition for reconsideration, arguing that (1) it didn’t get a call from the defendant on the day of the status conference; (2) the failure to appear was inadvertence; and (3) it is entitled to a hearing on the merits.

Now the comeuppance:

The WCJ initially pointed out that lien claimant’s petition is nothing more than a boiler plate “Points and Authorities” in which the contentions are generally irrelevant to the facts of the case.  As it turns out, the WCJ recently reviewed an almost identical P&A from the same lien claimant.

As to the claim of inadvertence, the WCJ describes this as “cavalier” and notes that the failure to appear is a pattern and recommends the penalty of $1,000.  Furthermore, citing California Code of Regulations section 10240, the WCJ noted that lien claimant could not have appeared by telephone, but even if it could, it should have notified the defendant of its intention not to appear and provided its telephone number.  Defendant has no obligation to spend all day at the Board staring longingly at its phone, wondering why lien claimant is playing hard-to-get.

In response to lien claimant’s petition for Reconsideration, the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board adopted and incorporated the WCJ’s report, denied the petition, and noted that the WCJ may consider the question of sanctions.

To the handful of lien claimants who read this blog – you need not fear this treatment of your humble blogger’s scathing quips if you don’t waste defendant’s time with failures to appear or showing up to lien conferences without preparation or authority.  If you have just too many cases to keep track of, then (1) hire more people; or (2) take fewer cases.  As a defense attorney, I am not responsible for subsidizing a failed business model.

WCDefenseCA gives a hearty “Huzzah” to the WCJ for an excellent report – this is how the lien abuse of the workers’ compensation system gets pared down.

Categories: Uncategorized
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