Home > Uncategorized > No Butler, No Maid for Applicant

No Butler, No Maid for Applicant

The Court of Appeal recently denied applicant’s petition for a writ of review in the case of Sharon Dunnigan v. City of Inglewood.  Applicant has engaged in a long and drawn-out quest for free home health care services, including cleaning services, following her injuries which resolved by way of stipulation to the tune of 50% future medical treatment.

The workers’ compensation Judge initially awarded applicant home care services as a form of reasonable medical treatment, but the defendant sought reconsideration by the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board.

The WCAB, in a November 21, 2011 decision, found that defendant had a valid point – applicant failed to prove that home health care services were reasonably necessary.  At his deposition, the Agreed Medical Evaluator responded to questions about applicant’s need for home health care services by requesting additional information about what needs to be cleaned and how often it is cleaned.  The key line from the WCAB opinion?

“Although, when read in isolation, portions of [the AME’s] testimony appear to support a need for certain undefined housecleaning services, [the AME] admits over and over in his deposition that he has insufficient information to render a valid opinion.”

Because the good doctor never expressly stated that any specific housecleaning services were reasonably required to relieve the applicant from the effects of the injury, applicant failed to carry her burden of proving entitlement to a butler and maid.  And now, it appears, the Court of Appeal is of little help to her either.

Now, before you start calling your humble blogger cruel and heartless, I tell you that I take no pleasure from the suggestion that the poor applicant will now have to live in a dirty house covered in dust and cobwebs, with garbage piling up around her.  That being said, my lawyer’s mind sees this situation as one of two possible fact-patterns:  either applicant can clean the house herself and is just lazy, or applicant really can’t clean her home because of her impairment and needs the help.

If she’s just being lazy, I have no sympathy for her, and neither should you – she’s just milking the system and trying to shake down the defendant for unwarranted money.

If she’s not just being lazy, and her impairment prevents her from cleaning her own home, then why didn’t she pay attention to the AME when he was testifying at deposition?  The good doctor is clearly saying that he needs more information before he can provide an opinion – so why not give it to him?  Schedule a re-evaluation (defendant is paying for it anyway) or provide a letter describing the house and the cleaning activities it requires.

The fact that applicant did not follow up with the AME restrains my typically bleeding heart from gushing forth over and equally keeps my sharp attorney’s eyes from crying my dear readers a river over her plight.

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