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Section 10250(d) – “That Rule We All Ignore”

Once in a while, your humble blogger makes it down to the Board to do some lawyering.  And, at almost every venue, grumblings are regularly heard as to how long it takes to get a hearing, or how quickly the various judges’ calendars fill up.  There’s just not enough Board time to go around!

Most of the time, hearings get set at the WCAB in response to a Declaration of Readiness to Proceed.  Forms for the regular DORs and the DOR to expedited hearing both have a little box to provide the filing party an opportunity to comply with an oft-ignored Board Rule: 10250.

10250, subsection d, provides that “[a]ll declarations of readiness to proceed shall state under penalty of perjury that the moving party has made a genuine, good faith effort to resolve the dispute before filing the declarations of readiness to proceed, and shall state with specificity the same on the declarations of readiness to proceed.

But, as seems to be the case, the field provided to state, with specificity, the good-faith efforts made to resolve the dispute, is used, instead, to articulate in as vague a manner as possible, the issues to be addressed.  So, instead of writing “applicant’s demand for temporary disability benefits, made in correspondence dated June 13, 2014, have prompted no response” some practitioners write “defendant unreasonably denying temporary disability benefits.”

Your humble blogger would like to see rule 10250 enforced more strictly.  If parties are required to properly seek informal resolution, and document the same, prior to requesting Board assistance, we might see a bit less traffic at the Board, and the WCJs’ calendars might be a bit more freed up.  Furthermore, if a party is required to seek resolution of an issue prior to filing a DOR, the other party is properly put on notice of the issue to be addressed before the board.

As my beloved readers probably know, the WCAB has approved the new Board rules to go into effect on January 1, 2015.  And, as it would appear, section 10250 is still in there!  But, why keep the rule in there if it is not going to be enforced?

*grumble* *grumble* *grumble*

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