Home > Uncategorized > Tired of Reform Talk? Stop on By…

Tired of Reform Talk? Stop on By…

The internet seems obsessed with the pending reforms included in Senate Bill 863, which received yet another amendment (its sixth) just yesterday.  Coverage extends to all aspects of the bill, from the hired protestors outside of Senator Kevin de Leon’s office to speculation that Governor Brown is supporting the reform in exchange for some slack from the business community in getting Proposition 30 passed.

And the comments… oh the comments!  Every online article is loaded with comment after comment of pure venom, with claims ranging from “the reform bill will prevent attorneys from representing injured workers” to critiques of a subsection which will require the euthanasia of injured workers with a predicted treatment cost over $75.36 (I made that one up, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see a commenter make a claim to that effect).

Your humble blogger is inclined to take a more relaxed approach.  If these reforms become law, we can all review them and plan accordingly for the new claims that arise.  If the reforms do not become law, then all of this frustration and furious typing away our respective hopes and fears will be for nothing.

While the world focuses on the real life imitating a certain television series, your humble blogger has another story for you, small in its significance but of considerable utility in its duplication.

A small claims court Judge has ordered Michele Marquez, a (former?) Hacienda La Puente Unified School District child-development teacher, to pay $5,000 in restitution to the district.  Claiming an injury in September 2010, she was placed on disability leave but was discovered to be working another job by the school district’s investigator.

Bear in mind, dear readers, this occurred in May of 2012, but the internet is a large place, and your humble blogger has only discovered this occurrence now.

California Small Claims Court is available for claims under $5,000 for any entity (not a natural person).  And, any number of claims under $2,500 may be filed in a calendar year.  Perhaps this is a venue that should be considered by insurers and self-insured employers alike?

After all, temporary disability caps out at just over $1,000 per week, so each claim could possibly reflect each payment made through the applicant’s fraud.

Sometimes the local law enforcement is not interested in pursuing fraudster workers – they are occasionally focused on uninsured employers or, sometimes, violent crime (who would a thunk it?).  That doesn’t meant that an employer or insurer can’t attempt to recover their losses through other means.  (No, dear readers, this is not an invitation to hire thugs and inflict new impairments on your workers.  Let’s stay inside the law, shall we?)

Has anyone out there tried this crazy idea?  Has there been any luck enforcing 104 small-claims court judgments for every payment of temporary disability ever made?

In any case, WCDefenseCA sends out a big “Huzzah!” to Hacienda La Puente Unified School District in refusing to eat unreasonable costs in this case.  Employers and Insurers state-wide would do well to follow suit.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Chris
    August 31, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Fabulous! Love the creative ideas! Let the games begin! You know all the protesting is based on the supposition that apparently everyone is California will eventually be hurt at work! Notwithstanding the master of the obvious most folks have injuries based on a rel injury not suffering from bilateral arms bilateral knees, erectile dysfunction, Gerd, brain injures, headaches all resulting from lifting a big Mac at work (or in Calley on the way back from your QME exam because the QME evaluation caused the applicant to be hungry and therefore causing additional symptoms including gaining one pound which now the applicant demands gastric bypass) due to all of the above related compensable consequences (translation: money)!! This pretzel logic and blatant gaming of all that defies common sense when everyone knows what is really going on!!! Employers are not a source of never ending cash flow and the reality is that good people who do not game the system wind up unemployed due to their employer going out of business. Pathetic and sad. Remember the pigs get the slop and the hogs get nothing, but in California everyone is suffering because of the hogs. Maybe some of those protesters are hired because they lost their job due to the bankrupt employer or the employer left the state because of the cost of workers compensation claims.

    • August 31, 2012 at 11:11 am

      Absolutely, Chris. And you know, that’s why you see the groups lining up the way they are. The unions can read the writing on the wall and have probably realized that the employers are going under, so they support these reforms. The applicants’ lawyers and the lien claimants are the ones wringing their little hands over this more than anyone else.

      In any case, it should be interesting to see this thing play out and start working with some of the new tools if the Gov signs off.

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