Workers Comp Zone


We’re in one of life’s watchful waiting phases.

In the larger world, we’re waiting to see if Europe’s teetering economies-Greece, Portugal, Spain and Ireland among them- take the world economy off a cliff.

And we’re waiting to see what happens on the Potomac, as Congress and the Obama Administration struggle for a consensus on raising the debt ceiling. With the likelihood of substantial cuts in many programs, there’s nothing on the horizon to give cheer to the masses of unemployed and underemployed.

In Sacramento we’re waiting to see if there will be some sort of deal between Governor Brown and a handful of Republicans to extend some of the taxes that are soon expiring. Without such a deal, the likelihood of initiative wars increases. Brown has spoken of a potential war of “all against all” as interest group coalitions fracture under pressure of the possibility of an all cuts budget.

In Wisconsin, we’re watching public employees getting some traction in local elections. But in New Jersey, we’ve seen this week Democrats teaming up with the GOP to trim public pensions. We’re in the watchful waiting phase of how the public pension issue plays out in California.

And we’re waiting to see if Texas Governor Rick Perry joins the GOP Presidential fray. If so, with that may come ever increasing comparisons between the Texas economy and the California economy.

Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, presumably in the electoral mix several years from now, visited Texas several months ago to see what Texas is doing on jobs. Do you think workers’ comp came up?

And in California workers’ comp, we’re in a watchful waiting phase.

Two big cases are awaiting appellate disposition.

In Baker v. WCAB (formerly known as the Duncan case, and before that as the XYZZ case), the court will decide the start date for COLA calculations.
It’s an issue that affects few cases, but which could have a significant financial impact on cases where the worker is 70% disabled or more for post 1/1/03 injuries.

In Ogilvie v. WCAB, the California Court of Appeals 1st District will be deciding issues regarding the manner in which the 2005 Permanent Disability Rating Schedule can be rebutted.

Arguments were held in Ogilvie this week. Although I was not present, sources I trust who did attend indicate that the lawyers arguing the case handled oral argument very impressively. From the questions posed by the judges, it was hard to discern how they were leaning on the core issues in the case.

And we’re waiting on other things.

A new Administrative Director of the DWC has not been appointed. At
CHSWC there will be a slot for a new executive, as Christine Baker now heads the Department of Industrial Relations.

And there are slots at the WCAB.

Which brings us back to California’s budget. The focus of the governor is on the budget. And appointees couldn’t be officially confirmed now anyway, since Darrell Steinberg has announced plans to halt confirmation of Brown’s appointees after Brown vetoed the budget that legislative Democrats cobbled together.

That, of course, is the non-budget that California Controller John Chiang rejected in refusing to pay legislative salaries.

While you’re doing your watchful waiting, here are a few links for your consideration:

“Gandalf: A Great Seer, With Nothing Up His Sleeve”: … um=twitter

“The Payroll Tax Needs a Vacation” by Robert H. Frank: … 6view.html

“Gavin Newsom Treks to Texas to Talk Jobs” by George Skelton: … s-20110421

Stay tuned.

Julius Young

Category: Political developments