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WCAB En Banc: Attorneys Can Use Unbonded Copy Services

Happy Friday, dear readers!

Your humble blogger wishes to remind you that we, as human beings, are social animals: we need community, interaction, and bonding with our fellow-man [and woman – easy there PC police!]  But there are certain individuals amongst us that have no need of this bonding and are exempt from this very human necessity: the recluse, the socially awkward but equally humble blogger, and, according to a recent en banc decision by the WCAB, professional photocopy services.

Business and Professional Code section 22451(b) exempts professional photocopiers who are “employees, agents, or independent contractors” of “[a] member of the State Bar” from having to obtain a certificate of registration and a $5,000 bond as required by section 22455(a).

In the case of Cornejo v. Younique Café Inc., a copy service sought to have its liens paid by the defendant, but the WCJ ruled that because the copy service failed to show proof that it was bonded at the time the copy services were provided, the lien was not recoverable.

On appeal, the WCAB commissioners, en banc, ruled that section 22451(b) specifically exempts copy services when acting in the charge of a member of the state bar.  So, if an applicant’s attorney asks a copy service to go get records, then they don’t need to be bonded to collect on the lien.

So… does 22451 have any benefit for employers and insurers?

Well, in theory at least, if an unrepresented injured worker were to retain a professional photocopier to obtain records, that lien could be defeated by showing that the copier was not bonded as per section 22451.

For the time being, requiring copy services to post a bond and register is not going to be a viable defense in most cases.  On the bright side, we can still use the other defenses afforded by the labor code, and the WCAB returned the Cornejo matter to the trial level for a determination of the merits of the lien.

All this, mind you, for a lien of $1,585.56.

Have a good weekend, folks!

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