Defendant denied right to cross-examine applicant is denied “due process of law”

This is a published appellate court case

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

The applicant had an admitted injury to the right ankle, right hand and back. These injuries were admitted. The applicant also alleged a psychiatric injury that was denied. There were multiple hearings before the Workers’ Compensation Judge (WCJ).

At the first hearing on whether the applicant was temporarily disabled the applicant admitted to working from time to time. The defendant’s cross-examination was terminated over the defendant’s objection. The defendant filed for reconsideration and the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) denied reconsideration.

There were three more hearings and the applicant was eventually found permanently and totally disabled. The applicant refused to testify at all three of the hearings. The WCJ did not allow the defendant to cross- examine the applicant at each hearing. The defendant filed for reconsideration after each hearing indicating that it was “denied due process”. Each time the WCAB agreed with the WCJ.

The appellate court indicated that cross-examination is an element of a fair trial. The lack of cross-examination was prejudicial. Therefore, the WCAB decision was annulled.

Case: Ogden v. WCAB (Von Ritzhoff)

Harvey Brown
3501 Jamboree Rd. Suite 602
Newport Beach, CA 92660

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