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Petition for Review/Depublication Denied in Stevens v. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board

The Supreme Court of California denied review and denied the request for depublication in Stevens v. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board on February 17, 2016, though Judge Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar believed petition for review should have been granted. This means the opinion of the Court of Appeal (which is similar to the Supreme Court of California’s opinion South Coast Framing, Inc. v. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (Clark)) the California Constitution gives the Legislature “plenary power” to pass laws relating to Workers’ Compensation which is not limited by the rest of the state Constitution – basically complete power to act (as long as it doesn’t conflict with the rest of that section of the California Constitution or federal due process rights under the U.S. Constitution, meaning basically the provision has some support).

As reminded by the Court of Appeal in Stevens, the Legislature found the process prior to SB 863 was time-consuming, costly, and did not result in uniform treated based on evidence-based medicine.  In response, the Legislature crafted IMR which is faster and less prone to errors than using the med-legal process.  While still subject to other legal attacks regarding the constitutionality of the IMR process, this is the process we have now, and along with the other reforms of SB 863 has resulted in significant savings for employers and insurers.

For additional information regarding this topic or any legal matters, please contact Martin Guzman at Martin.Guzman@PHGlaw.com or Helen Sagastume at Helen.Sagastume@PHGLaw.com.