The Court of Appeal Issued a Published Decision on Labor Code Section 3208.3 Definition of “Substantial Cause”

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

The applicant was a school teacher who claimed a cumulative trauma to psyche arising out of her employment. The employer denied the injury claiming a “good faith personnel action” under Labor Code section 3208.3 (h).

The applicant saw an Agreed Medical Examiner (AME). The applicant was then referred to an Independent Medical Examiner (IME) to determine apportionment between industrial and nonindustrial factors of disability.

The Workers’ Compensation Judge found on the IME report that the applicant had 15 percent non industrial factors, 51 percent to overall classroom teaching and 34 percent associated with the personnel actions. This 34 percent fell short of the 35-40 percent needed for a 3208.3 defense. The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) agreed with the WCJ on petition for reconsideration.

The defense maintained the non industrial factors should not be included in determining substantial cause and eliminated from the calculation. The appeals court disagreed and indicated the entire set of industrial and non industrial factors are taken into consideration.


Editor: Harvey Brown

Firm: Samuelsen, Gonzalez, Valenzuela and Brown

Address: 18881 Von Karman # 250 Irvine 92612

Phone: 949 252-1300

Case: San Francisco Unified School District v. WCAB (Cardozo)
This is a published Court of Appeal case

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

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