Workers Comp Zone


UPDATED/CORRECTED ENTRY: after this post, Governor Brown today vetoed the state budget passed last night. State Treasurer Bill Lockyer anounced that Wall Street would not finance state revenue needs based on some of the budget’s assumptions. So the sale of WCAB district offices again is in limbo………………

The sale of California state buildings is on again.

That’s part of the budget cobbled together yesterday by the Democratic legislative majority, as the Governor was unable to get any Republican votes for a budget despite months of negotiations.

Last year’s budget included provision for the sale of various state buildings, including those that house WCAB district offices in Oakland and San Francisco. The San Francisco building also houses the statewide WCAB and the California Supreme Court.

Last year’s sale was challenged and delayed in court in a case handled by Cotchett, Pitre and McCarthy of Burlingame. The sale was eventually nixed by Brown shortly after taking over from Schwarzenegger.

This year’s budget makes a revenue assumption of $1.2 billion from
selling and leasing back 11 state properties, although on different terms than a plan Brown previously rejected. The state would be allowed to repurchase the properties when the lease deal expires.

Whether buyer interest will be as strong under these terms, and whether there will be another challenge, is yet to be seen.

Overall, the California court system is slated for a $150 million hit under the budget. It’s part of the pain that is being spread around.The cuts in the court system don’t directly affect the workers’ comp system. But they are bad news for lawyers and litigants in Superior Courts who need access to a highly functioning justice system for subrogation cases or third party tort cases.

California’s new chief justice, Tani Cantil-Sakauye issued a statement yesterday on the cuts. According to the Los Angeles Times, Cantil-Sakauye condemned the Democratic proposal to cut $150 million more from the court system’s budget as “devastating and crippling to the judicial branch.”

“With these cuts courts cannot provide these fundamental services or protect the rights of Californians. By marginalizing the courts, California strikes a blow against justice,” the chief justice said in the statement. “Courts are not a luxury. They are at the heart of our democracy. These cuts threaten access to justice for all.”

Stay tuned.

Julius Young

Category: Political developments