The Court of Appeal Issued a Non Published Decision Involving Mistake, Inadvertence, or Excusable Neglect

This is a very significant case for workers’ compensation principles in that it discusses the current case law.

The applicant was injured in 1999.  The applicant received an award from the Ventura Workers’ Compensation Board. Within five years the applicant filed a Petition to Reopen, but filed it at the Los Angeles Board.

A trial was held at the Oxnard Board on the Petition to Reopen in 2010. The Workers’ Compensation Judge (WCJ) ruled that the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) lacked jurisdiction over the Petition to Reopen because the petition was not timely filed at the correct board. At the time the applicant filed the petition, the venue regulations required him to file in Ventura not Los Angeles.

On Petition for Reconsideration the WCAB agreed with the WCJ.

The Court of Appeal reversed. The venue  regulations changed and the Court of Appeal considered this a procedural change that should not affect liability.

They further indicated that,  as a matter of law, relief should be granted under the theory of mistake, inadvertence or excusable neglect,  since the applicant merely filed at the wrong board.

The United States Court of Appeals Appeals Issued a Decision in Michigan with Far Reaching Effects

This is a very significant case for workers’ compensation principles.

This newsletter usually only reports on cases decided in California. This case was decided in a United States Court of Appeal regarding entitlement to workers’ compensation benefits under Michigan law. This decision will apply to California law as well. The case revolved around an alleged systematic attempt by the workers’ compensation carrier to deny benefits. The appellants in this case alleged a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) suit.

They alleged fraudulent denial of worker’s compensation benefits. They alleged among other things that the carrier employed a physician to deliberately deny benefits.

The appellate court indicated that even though state law punished the improper denial of benefits the appellants could still bring a RICO suit because that is under federal law.

Here the case was allowed to proceed because the RICO claims were not preempted by state law and because plaintiffs adequately pleaded a pattern of racketeering.



Editor: Harvey Brown

Firm: Samuelsen, Gonzalez, Valenzuela and Brown

Address: 3501 Jamboree Suite 602, NB 92660

Phone: 949 252-1300

Newsletter Sign up

Workers Compensation Feed

Recent Newsletters