Workers Comp Zone


Sometimes we see stuff in workers’ comp so bizarre, you just shake your head. They couldn’t make this stuff up no matter how hard they try.

Such it is with the 3-cent appeal.

Unhappy with the award of a credit for an overpayment of $13,113.33, self insured Kraft Foods Nabisco, adjusted by Broadspire and represented by Sabrina Tseng of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP, claimed an overpayment credit of $13,113.36

That’s a 3-cent difference.

Kraft, Broadspire and Lewis Brisbois apparently decided they were not willing to be shorted.

After all, there is a principle. So an appeal was filed.

Just where in the decision making chain such poor judgment prevailed isn’t clear.

Apparently no one decided to pull the plug on the effort to recoup the 3-cents. It was an effort that must have cost several dollars in postage and stationery costs. Not to mention hundreds if not thousands of dollars of attorney billable time to file the petition for reconsideration.

We would hope that billing was not the point.

Imagine the face on the California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board commissioners (Deidre Lowe, Ronnie Caplane, and Frank Brass) as they sat down to review the case. Imagine their arching eyes as they realized what they had in hand was a 3-cent dispute.

What followed, in a panel decision, Vadnais Vs. Kraft Foods, was a notice of intention to award sanctions against Kraft Foods, Sabrina Tseng and Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP, jointly and severally, in the amount of $500.

The WCAB panel seemed interested in who had decided to pursue the appeal, noting that “If the comments we receive enlighten us as to who, specifically, felt compelled to delay these proceedings by filing a frivolous petition for reconsideration over a paltry three cents, and why, we may choose to limit the parties subject to our sanction order”.

No wonder lawyers get a bad name.

Julius Young

Category: Understanding the CA WC system