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March 10, 2021

Mitigating Skyrocketing PAGA Claims – Is Relief on the Horizon?

Bankruptcy has been the unfortunate result for many California businesses forced to defend expensive PAGA claims. In their Daily Journal and Lawyer Monthly articles, Corinne Spencer and Antwoin Wall explain the rising trend in these claims and why there is hope for change coming.

Loss of Consortium Claims Upending Employer Subrogation

No employer wants to find themselves in the midst of a workers’ compensation matter, especially when the employee in question was injured through no fault of the employer. In her Risk Management magazine article, Saerim Luciano explains that employers can subrogate to recover in third-party injury claims, but when the time comes to mediate or settle, many are shocked to find out that a different party may threaten their ability to recover.

Top Wage & Hour Law Developments to Watch in 2022

After the result of recent employer-friendly court rulings, laws on minimum wage and equal pay are expected to affect employers in 2022. In an interview with Law360, Antwoin Wall discusses the decisions that may bring some defense to employers. Read more.

Exploring Limitations on the WCAB’s Authority to Develop the Record

There is an inherent conflict between the Workers’ Compensation judge and the Appeals Board authority in developing the record. In an article for Lexis Nexis, Raymond Correio explores the conflicting tensions related to the legislative policies in the California labor code. Learn more here.

Be In the Know: Employment & Workers’ Compensation Legal Roundup

Worker Terminated After Sustaining Work Injury Fails to Meet 132a Burden

In Loera v. Northrop Grumman, the Appeals Board upheld the trial judge’s finding that the employer did not violate the law in terminating an injured employee. Prior to the worker’s date of injury, the employer had cause to terminate the employee for excessive unexcused absences. Due to his work-related injury, the employee was on disability for over a year and then was terminated from his employment upon return to work. The judge relied on a 2003 Supreme Court of California case finding applicant did not meet his burden of proving discrimination under Labor Code section 132a. Read more here.

DWC Proposed Changes to Copy Service Fees and Rules

The DWC has proposed copy service fees and rule changes that if implemented, will go into effect on April 1, 2022. The proposal will increase flat rate costs for copies of the first set of records from $180 to $230. Additionally, bills must be paid or objected to within 30 days of receipt by the claim administrator or the unpaid sum will increase by 25 percent. Read more about the proposed changes here.

Defendant Entitled to New PQME Despite its Own Negligent Errors

In a recent case, an unrepresented injured worker obtained a panel qualified medical examiner (PQME), but was not evaluated due to multiple negligent errors by the defendant that resulted in the appointment having to be rescheduled. After the appointment was rescheduled for the third time, the worker hired an attorney, at which point the defendant requested a new PQME under Romero. In a split WCAB decision, the defendant was entitled to a new PQME because applicant had not “received” or participated in the original examination. Learn more about the decision here.

Biden Vaccine-or-Test Mandate Blocked

The U.S. Supreme Court blocked President Biden’s vaccine-or-test mandate for large private businesses, but most employees at healthcare facilities that get federal funding must be vaccinated. Be in the know and learn more.

Retroactive COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave

In February, the California legislature approved supplemental paid sick leave for people suffering from COVID-19, making it retroactive to January 1, 2022. It will extend through September 30, 2022. Full-time employees of employers with 26 or more workers will be entitled to up to 80 hours of sick leave for COVID-related reasons. Too, parameters for employer tax credits to pay for the additional sick leave have changed and some employers who don’t qualify under these new parameters will bear the cost. Read more.

Webinar Events: In Case You Missed It

The 2021 Year-End Case Law Update webinar in December featured Yvonne Lang, Anahid Silah and Meline Sirounian discussing topics on workers’ compensation claims and litigation, employee crossover issues and more.

If you missed it, and would like to learn more, contact your relationship partner at (818) 501-4343 or email Yvonne Lang directly at yl@4pbw.com.

Get to Know PB&W

Partner Spotlight – Ani Baghdassarian

Meet our newest partner, Ani Baghdassarian! In the office, Ani focuses on defending workers’ compensation claims. Away from work, this athletic attorney has competed in two mini triathlons in Lake Tahoe. If she hadn’t become an attorney, she would be traveling the world and experiencing its culture à la Anthony Bourdain. Get to know Ani here.

Partner Spotlight – Alexandra Dunlevy

Alexandra Dunlevy’s personal mantra is “attitude is everything.” She brings these words to life through her work when strategizing workers’ compensation issues for clients. What does she do away from the firm? Think wannabe Martha Stewart. Alexandra loves to cook, bake, garden and entertain. Get to know her here.

Honoring The Trailblazing Legal and Civil Rights Legacy of Thurgood Marshall

For Black History Month, we were proud to honor legal trailblazer and civil rights pioneer Thurgood Marshall for his contributions to the legal and societal landscape in this country. As an activist, lawyer and the first African-American justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, he not only inspired future generations of lawyers and jurists of all races, backgrounds and creeds, he also strengthened the fabric of the nation with legal efforts that bettered the lives of all Americans. Read here to learn more.

International Women’s Day 2022: Malala Yousafzai And Her Quest To Empower Girls Through Education

In celebration of International Women’s Day 2022, a day when the world celebrates the power and courage of women around the world, PB&W honored all the brave young women like Malala Yousafzai who are effecting change in our world. Learn more about Malala and her fight for girls’ education here.

A Look Back at Our Holiday Celebration

The winter holiday season is over and we’re well into a New Year. Here is a look back at our seasonal celebration at Casa del Mar, where we enjoyed food, drinks and good times with family, friends and colleagues. Thank you to everyone who joined us!

 

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