Workers Comp Zone


The long wait is over.

Governor Schwarzenegger has filled the last open slot on the California Workers Compensation Appeals Board. The appointment went to a fellow Republican, Greg Aghazarian. Aghazarian represented an area encompassing San Joaquin County as an elected member of the California Assembly (26th District) from 2002 to 2008.

Aghazarian (who I’ve never met) recently ran an unsuccessful race for an open California State Senate seat, losing to Davis-area Assemblywoman Lois Wolk by a 65% to 35% margin. One issue that surfaced in the campaign was his acceptance of six-figure per diem expenses while living in Stockton and commuting to Sacramento.

Aghazarian is a graduate of USC and McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento.

In the Assembly he served on the Public Safety and Natural Resources Committees as well as Chair of the Republican caucus.

He was honored in 2008 by the California Civil Justice Association, a business group that supports tort reform: … zarian-ho/

According to political blogs I’ve seen, there had been speculation a few years ago on whether Aghazarian would take a shot at unseating first term U.S. Rep Jerry McNerney. But eventually Aghazarian did not make the race.

There had been much speculation over whether the Governor would give the final slot as a plum to a political appointee or whether he would reserve the slot for an industry veteran. Earlier Schwarzenegger appointments have been widely applauded by insiders in the “comp community”; the earlier appointees were all distinguished attorneys with years of workers’ comp experience.

The current WCAB members all live in the San Francisco Bay Area. There was criticism of a former WCAB member, Janice Murray, who lived in Los Angeles and did not appear at WCAB staff meetings on cases in San Francisco.

Hopefully Aghazarian will make the move from Stockton and be a hands on member of the board, which is a vital part of the California workers’ comp system.

Here is a link to a site on Aghazarian’s voting record in the legislature: … spx?Id=736

Aghazarian may or may not have handled a handful of comp cases, but he clearly is not an attorney with years of experience in the field. However, he will receive guidance from the terrific staff counsel at the the WCAB and other WCAB members who have decades of comp experience.

As a member of the WCAB, he will participate in decisions on appeals in workers’ comp cases for years to come.

Stay tuned.

Julius Young
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Category: Political developments