Keeping track of which lien claims are stayed or subject to special lien proceedings is a full time job, thanks to the plethora of criminal proceedings in California.
Defendants, lien claimants, and even applicant’s attorneys have struggled to keep track of the ever-changing news of criminal cases against workers’ compensation practitioners ever since California lawmakers approved legislation in 2016 and 2017 staying lien claimants linked to criminal indictments and placing liens linked to criminal convictions in “special lien proceedings.”
How many are there? According to the Division of Workers’ Compensation’s (DWC’s) online list of liens “potentially subject to a stay under Labor Code section 4615,” there are 504 various sets of criminal charges listed on that page. Keep in mind that number is somewhat inflated, as that list has plenty of overlap as some lien claimants are allegedly linked to multiple prosecutions.
Of course, this information is also important for cases in chief too because some criminal prosecutions have led to plea deals or convictions that resulted in the revocation of providers’ ability to participate in the California workers’ compensation system as a treating physician or med-legal evaluator. For example, this impacts cases where the now-banned provider was acting as a panel qualified medical evaluator (PQME) – thus requiring the parties to obtain a replacement PQME.
Here are some tips to help keep up on all the news regarding the criminal proceedings that can result in stays, special lien proceedings, and other administrative actions:
EAMS PUBLIC SEARCH TOOL
First and foremost, check the EAMS public search tool’s “lien page.” The far right column will tell you whether a lien is stayed or subject to special lien proceedings.
DWC’S LC 4615 LIST
The EAMS public search tool doesn’t necessarily list all stayed liens. If you see a lien that sounds like it may have been stayed, but EAMS doesn’t list it, then go to the DWC’s online list of liens “potentially subject to a stay under Labor Code section 4615.” This is a list of criminal prosecutions against specific individuals who are allegedly linked to specific lien providers, with links to some of the pleadings and other exhibits from those prosecutions. Hit Control + F to pull up your “find” tool, and type in the provider’s name. That will expedite your search for specific lien claimants without having to scroll through 500+ entries.
WORKCOMPCENTRAL’S SEARCH ENGINE
What if your lien isn’t on either list? Go to www.workcompcentral.com and type in the lien claimant’s name into the search tool to see if they’ve written anything about that lien claimant. As the former legal editor at WorkCompCentral, I can personally assure you that they quite literally spend all day perusing thousands of websites in and outside of California in an attempt to identify every criminal and civil case important to the workers’ compensation system in all 50 states. If they haven’t written about it, it might not be online.
Still no results? Let me take this opportunity to recite the phrase that editors have uttered in newsrooms on a daily basis for the last 15 years, “Google is your friend.” Go to Google and type in the provider’s name, and additional search terms such as: “indictment,” “stay,” “plea deal,” etc. This can often turn up articles from other publications and news releases from authoratative websites.
ASK A JUDGE
If you’re already at a court hearing, ask the workers’ compensation judge overseeing your hearing. After all, they do this on a daily basis, and have access to databases and documents that the general public simply don’t have access to.
GIVE US A HOLLER!
And if you still have some questions about pending proceedings, feel free to a give us a call or email at the Law Offices of Bradford & Barthel LLP. We’ve been keeping track of all these developments as well!
Got a legal question regarding liens or any other workers’ compensation related matters? Feel free to contact John P. Kamin. Mr. Kamin is a workers’ compensation defense attorney and partner at Bradford & Barthel’s Woodland Hills location, where he is the firm’s Editorial Director, heads the firm’s Sports Law Division and watches the recent legislative efforts. Mr. Kamin previously worked as a journalist, where he reported on work-related injuries in all 50 states. Feel free to contact John at email@example.com or at (818) 654-0411
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