The WCAB adopted its final rules of practice & procedure which were filed 12/15/2021 and became effective 1/1/2022. The focus pertains to remote hearings and electronic service, with the highlights of the 32 pages of materials includes:
a) Notices of Representation: CCR 10400 and 10401 requires parties to include their e-mail addresses.
b) Service of Documents: CCR 10625 allows electronic service along with personal and first class mail; and if electronically, the Proof of Service must include the e-mail addresses utilized.
c) Remote Hearings: CCR 10745 and 10750 provides notices of hearing the must state if to be conducted electronically; and if so, the notice must provide the access information. CCR 10815 allows a party to object in writing to a remote hearing. CCR 10816 allows a party to petition to appear electronically. If a trial is to be conducted electronically, its presumed all testimony will be done remotely w/o need for a petition.
d) Appearances: CCR 10752 provides parties must be present at all case in-chief hearings with ability to obtain settlement authority; injured workers must appear even if represented; and lien claimants need appear at case in-chief hearings but be available by telephone.
e) Failure To Appear/MSC: CCR 10755 provides that where an applicant fails to appear at a MSC, the judge may issue an OTOC Order, NOI Dismiss Order, or continue the hearing.
f) Failure To Appear/Trial: CCR 10756 provides where a party fails to appear at trial, the judge may order off calendar, continue the matter or issue notice of intent to take actions available under 10832 (i.e. allow/disallow lien, santions, submit on the record, dismiss application).
g) MSC: CCR 10759 add-ons include parties having meet & confer prior to MSC, and required to file a Pre-Trial Conference Statement by end of the MSC.
h) Recordings: CCR 10818 modified to allow recording of hearings only after a written petition is filed and the request is granted by the WCAB, and cannot be used for any purpose other than personal notes.