"DE FACTO CONTROL" SUFFICIENT FOR
A LIEN STAY ORDER

Dr. Munir Uwaydah is well-known in the workers' compensation community as a criminally indicted physician who has escaped authorities by fleeing to the Middle East where he has allegedly continued to control some U.S. medical clinics through various agents. The issue in Ana Villanueva v. Teva Foods (2019) was whether a lien stay order should apply to Firstline Health, Inc. which was legally owned by Dr. David Johnson but allegedly controlled by Dr. Uwaydah.

The WCAB clarified the issue by referring to Labor Code Section 139(a) et. al which provides an entity is deemed "controlled" by someone who: a) Was an "officer or a director" of the entity; or b) A shareholder with at least 10 percent interest; or c) Had de facto ownership or control of the entity. In this particular case, the WCAB found there was evidence indicating Dr. Uwaydah controlled Firstline Health (even without legal ownership), such that a stay order could be appropriate. However, no stay order was issued because the matter was remanded to the trial judge for further proceedings.

[ COMMENT: The main point is that "control" over an entity by an indicted individual could suffice to warrant a stay order being issued, even absent an actual legal corporate title or documented ownership.]