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Valdez Case up for Review by Supreme Court

October 22nd, 2012

The California Supreme Court has decided to take up the Valdez case!

As my readers will no-doubt recall, your humble blogger has diligently documented the progress of the Valdez case, and all its potential benefits for the defense in California’s workers’ compensation system.

Based on nothing more than the description on the Supreme Court website, it appears that the only issue left in Valdez is admissibility – whether treating physicians outside of a valid Medical Provider Network are admissible.  It appears that the holding of the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board with respect to liability for such physicians’ bills is undisputed – the defense will likely remain liability-free, much to these lien claimants’ dismay.

But what happens if the reports are admissible?

For one thing, applicant’s counsel will be able to unnecessarily prolong litigation my delaying resolution and the close of discovery to allow for more evaluations and reports.  Additionally, applicant-friendly QMEs will have more ammunition upon which to base their reports – imagine a QME who fails to include necessary discussions on such topics as apportionment; a crafty applicant’s attorney will argue that between the extra-MPN physician’s report and the QME’s report, there is a complete report upon which to award Total Permanent Disability for that vicious paper-cut cruelly suffered by applicant on his day off while he was thinking about work.

Hopefully the Supreme Court will recognize that, although applicants should be able to hire as many witch-doctors and butchers to “treat” themselves on their own dime, those so-called reports should remain inadmissible, and the arena of discovery should be limited to the MPN-based treating physician and the Agreed/Qualified Medical Evaluator (or evaluators).

In the meantime, extra-MPN liens should be settled for token amounts and the possibility that extra-MPN reports will be found inadmissible should be used to leverage a more reasonable settlement for the cases-in-chief.

When your humble blogger knows more, dear readers, so will you.

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