DWC and WCAB Modified Hearing Calendar and Filing Update in Response to COVID-19
March 16, 2020

Dear valued CAAA members:

Today the DWC and WCAB issued a joint announcement regarding a modified hearing calendar for the next 3 weeks.

March 17 through March 20 : DWC will only hear expedited hearings at the district office. DWC will continue all other hearings and send parties notice of new hearing dates within the next five business days.

March 23 through April 3: DWC will continue to hear expedited hearings for parties that appear at the district offices. DWC will also hear status conferences, mandatory settlement conferences and priority conferences via CourtCall only. If all parties do not appear via CourtCall the case will be continued and notice will be given. All other hearings will be continued. No trials or lien conferences will be heard during this time.

With the expressed concern for your clients’ safety, CAAA Executive Director Diane Worley asked Chief Judge Paige Levy whether injured workers can be excused from appearing during this period if it would jeopardize their health. Chief Judge Levy advised that would be acceptable, and they can participate through technology such as Facetime or Skype if testimony is required.

There will be no penalties for a non-appearance during this time period as some people are having difficulties setting up Court Call as they are being inundated with requests.

On the DWC website, there will be a new link set up if you need to request a continuance on any of your cases ( https://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/ ). It has not been set up yet.

Pending circumstances, the regular hearing calendar will be reinstated Monday, April 6, but this is a fluid situation, and things may change.
 
Filings:

March 17 through April 3 : DWC’s district offices will be closed for filing purposes. Accordingly, all filing deadlines are extended to Monday, April 6 (see California Code of Civil Procedure Section 12(a) ; 8 California Code of Regulations Sections 10600 and 10605 ; and WCAB Significant Panel Decision Pa’u v. Department of Forestry, et al . : (2019) (ADJ 9159725, ADJ 7757931, ADJ 9640668). This includes Petitions for Recon, 132 A and S and W Petitions, and other documents with a time sensitive deadline.

DWC will not accept walk-through documents or walk-in filings until the district offices reopen for filing purposes. Workers’ Compensation Judges will focus on reviewing settlement documents and ruling on petitions submitted by the parties during the closure . Parties may utilize the Electronic Adjudication Management System to file documents online. Parties may also mail settlement documents or petitions to the district office where the case is filed. Refer to the district office page for e-mail and other contact information.

State Fund advised they will continue to respond to settlement demands during this time.

April 18 QME Exam:

Lastly, the April 18 QME Exam has been cancelled.
 
Below is the DWC Newsline.


 
Newsline No.: 2020-18                                                     
 
DWC and WCAB Announce Modified Hearing Calendar & Filing Update
 
The Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) and the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) are committed to protecting the health and safety of our community and staff while performing our legislative and constitutional duties. We are in communication with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the Office of Emergency Services to ensure that we have the most up-to-date information available during this unprecedented COVID-19 crisis.
 
We are limiting court appearances to protect the health and safety of our staff and the community, in accordance with numerous public health orders suggesting that public gatherings be limited.

Scheduled Hearings

March 17 through March 20: DWC will only hear expedited hearings at the district offices. DWC will continue all other hearings and send parties notice of new hearing dates within the next five business days.

March 23 through April 3: DWC will continue to hear expedited hearings for parties that appear at the district offices. DWC will also hear status conferences, mandatory settlement conferences and priority conferences via CourtCall only. If all parties do not appear via CourtCall the case will be continued and notice will be given. All other hearings will be continued. No trials or lien conferences will be heard during this time.

Filings

March 17 through April 3: DWC’s district offices will be closed for filing purposes. Accordingly, all filing deadlines are extended to Monday, April 6 (see California Code of Civil Procedure Section 12(a) ; 8 California Code of Regulations Sections 10600 and 10605 ; and WCAB Significant Panel Decision Pa’u v. Department of Forestry, et al . : (2019) (ADJ 9159725, ADJ 7757931, ADJ 9640668).

DWC will not accept walk-through documents or walk-in filings until the district offices reopen for filing purposes. Workers’ Compensation Judges will focus on reviewing settlement documents and ruling on petitions submitted by the parties during the closure. Parties may utilize the Electronic Adjudication Management System to file documents online. Parties may also mail settlement documents or petitions to the district office where the case is filed. Refer to the district office page for e-mail and other contact information.

These changes are based on the best information currently available and are subject to change without notice as circumstances change. Although we will endeavor to provide updates regarding hearings, filing or office closures, parties, attorneys and hearing representatives should also check the DWC and WCAB websites for updates.