On June 30, we advised you that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in
Angelotti v. Baker had issued a decision to overturn the injunction against the enforcement of the lien activation fees mandated by Senate Bill 863 in 2012. We urged you not to panic but to wait for further information. Following is an update on the situation:
First, the appellate court's ruling will not be delivered to the trial court until July 20 at the earliest, so the injunction remains in place for the time being. Once the trial court receives the appellate court ruling, it may lift the temporary injunction that day, or sometime later. Until the trial court acts, the injunction stands.
Second, there is no mechanism in place today to facilitate payment of the activation fee even if you wanted to pay it. The state took down the web site for paying the activation fee on November 19, 2013. The DWC is working to reinstate the web site, but that will take some time to accomplish.
Third, the plaintiffs have more than a week left to decide whether to request a rehearing from the Court of Appeals. Regardless of whether they file a petition for rehearing, they intend to request that the DWC and the trial court agree to a "grace period" of some length to allow people to pay the lien activation fees before any liens are dismissed. While there can be no guarantees this will occur, we are cautiously optimistic that some reasonable period of time to pay the activation fees will be provided.
Realistically, there is a reasonable chance that when the dust settles, you will have to pay an activation fee on any pre-2013 liens you intend to pursue. The question will become, "How much time will you have to pay the activation fee before your lien is extinguished by operation of law?" We don't know the answer to that question at this time; however, out of prudence, we recommend that you immediately commence making an assessment of your individual liens and make a tentative decision as to which ones you want to pursue and which you will forfeit. In addition, you should consider what resources you will use to pay any required activation fees.
As always, we will continue to monitor developments and keep our members informed. Thank you for your understanding.