In a published opinion the court of appeals upholds finding of Res Judicata

The applicant was injured in 1999 and 2000. In 2002, a Joint Stipulation with Request for Award was entered into. There were two insurance companies. Thereafter, one insurance company went into liquidation and CIGA assumed administration of the claim. State Farm was to reimburse CIGA 25 percent of all benefits paid.

In 2008, CIGA filed a petition for dismissal. The record reflects there was no action on this petition. Five years later CIGA sought to be relieved as administrator of the claim. The Workers’ Compensation Judge (WCJ) ruled that the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) was without jurisdiction to rescind or alter the award. Two decisions were issued by the WCJ and WCAB in 2008 and 2009, and CIGA did not appeal those decisions. Therefore, the WCAB ruled they were now final and “law of the case.”

The appellate court looked at CIGA’s liability to only be liable for “covered claims.” In spite of the law governing covered claims, CIGA failed to seek judicial review of the WCAB decisions of 2008, 2009, and 2011. In that light, the court indicated the strong public policy of CIGA being liable for covered claims does not outweigh the policy of having finality to a decision. Therefore, the initial decisions against CIGA were deemed Res Judicata.

Case: State Farm v. WCAB

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

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