Applicant is deemed one hundred percent disabled with no need for apportionment

This is a Board panel decision

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

The applicant suffered an injury to his head, neck, back, shoulders, circulatory system,and psyche as  aresult of an industrial motor vehicle accident.

The applicant saw multiple doctors including a primary care physician (PTP), neurological Qualified medical examiner (QME), and psychological Qualified medical examiner.

The psychological Qualified medical examiner apportioned 5 per cent to non industrial causes. A vocations expert testified the applicant was 100 per cent totally disabled.

The case went to trial. The  Workers” Compensation Judge (WCJ) found that the applicant was 100 percent disabled and there was no legal basis for apportionment. The WCJ declined to follow the apportionment found by the psychological qualified medical examiner.

The defendant filed a petition for reconsideration. The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) reviewed the report of the psychologist  They determined that the apportionment was not legal apportionment.

The psychologist did not explain how and why the apportionment contributed to his permanent disability.

Based on the opinions of the QME,  PTP and vocational expert the applicant was deemed to be 100 per cent disabled.

Valdes v. City of Torrance

 Editor: Harvey Brown
Samuelsen, Gonzalez, Valenzuela & Brown
3501 Jamboree Suite 602
Newport Beach, Ca 92660
(949) 689-5586


If you file a DOR a petition for contribution is not required for contribution

This is an order denying a writ of review

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

Applicant filed a specific injury and a cumulative trauma. The first defendant covered the specific and part of the cumulative trauma.

Based on  an Agreed Medical Examiner (AME)  the date of the end of the cumulative trauma changed. The first defendant entered into a compromise and release for a cumulative trauma since the AME found no specific injury.

Eight days later the Workers’ Compensation Judge (WCJ) joined the second defendant on the cumulative trauma.

The first defendant filed a Declaration of Readiness to Proceed (DOR). The second defendant objected to the DOR “on contribution issues”. No petition for contribution was filed within one year.

The second defendant claimed to an arbitrator that the contribution issue was barred because no petition for contribution was filed within one year. The first defendant claimed estoppel indicating the second defendant knew of the contribution issue timely by way of DOR and emails. The arbitrator found the contribution issue timely.

The Court of Appeal in denying  the second defendant’s writ indicated that a DOR is satisfactory under Labor Code section 5500.5 and WCAB Rule 10510.  The DOR was deemed sufficient to institute proceedings.

Brotherhood Mut. Ins. V WCAB

 Editor: Harvey Brown
Samuelsen, Gonzalez, Valenzuela & Brown
3501 Jamboree Suite 602
Newport Beach, Ca 92660
(949) 689-5586


Psychiatric injury is supported by substantial medical evidence and compensable as extraordinary event

This is a Board Panel decision

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

The applicant was a tree trimmer employed less than 6 months. A coworker inadvertently put applicant’s climbing rope in to  a wood chopper. This resulted in a left leg dislocation and later surgical amputation. The defendant accepted injury to multiple body parts but not to psychiatric injury.

At trial the Workers’ Compensation Judge (WCJ) found the orthopedic compensable but did not rule on whether the applicant’s injury resulted from a “sudden extraordinary employment condition.”

Defendant petitioned for reconsideration indicating there was no psychiatric injury under Labor Code section 3208.3 (d) because the applicant had not worked 6 months. and the “sudden extraordinary exception” to this code section did not apply.

The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) reviewed Matea v WCAB and SCIF v WCAB (Garcia). They indicated the facts revolved whether the injury was “uncommon, unusual and unexpected and did not result from a routine and regular event.”

They ruled the applicant showed the manner in which his leg was amputated was from an “uncommon, unusual and unexpected event” and not from a “routine and regular employment event.”

Therefore, the psychiatric claim was compensable .


Panel finds good cause to set aside Order Approving Compromise and Release

This is a Board panel decision

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

The applicant sustained an accepted cumulative trauma injury to the low back and hips while working as a maintenance worker. The applicant saw a primary treating doctor who did not discuss permanent disability in his report.

A claims adjuster offered the unrepresented applicant a $7500 settlement without negotiations and did not explain the applicant had a right to a Qualified Medical Examiner (QME).

The applicant did not know what permanent and stationary meant and signed a Compromise and Release (C&R) that stated applicant’s temporary disability was ongoing based on the primary treating doctor. The C&R stated the applicant was not permanent and stationary.

Defendant’s attorney got the C&R approved on a walk-through. Two days later the defendant sent applicant a letter indicated his temporary disability was discontinued and his right to dispute this.

The applicant retained counsel who filed a petition to set aside the C&R. The Workers’ Compensation Judge (WCJ) concluded there was no good cause to set aside the C&R. The applicant filed a petition for reconsideration.

The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) reversed the WCJ. The panel ruled the applicant had not been given adequate notices of his rights before entering into the C&R.

Moreno v Hidden Valley Ranch


Ruling on cancer presumption under Labor Code section 3212.1 is upheld

This is an order denying appellate review

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

The applicant was employed as a probation officer. He was assigned to the
Narcotics Task Force under his employment for nearly two years. This was
through the State Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement. However, the County
where he was a probation officer paid his salary.

He was designated a Special Agent of the State and reported directly to the State. He had job duties that included incinerator operations and exposure to known carcinogens. The applicant later developed pancreatic cancer while employed by the County and filed a Workers’ Compensation claim asserting the cancer presumption of Labor Code section 3212.1.

The case went to trial and the Workers’ Compensation Judge (WCJ) found that there was substantial medical evidence supporting the applicant’s entitlement to the Labor Code section 3212.1 cancer presumption.
The applicant filed a petition for reconsideration and the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) in a Board panel decision agreed with the WCJ.

This resulted in the defendant filing for a Writ of Review with the appellate court. The appellate denied defendant’s petition for writ of review, concluding that substantial medical evidence supported a finding of the cancer presumption.


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