New Case Law: Hikida v. WCAB; Costco Wholesales Corp.

Greetings!

I hope that everyone who attended the CAAA Summer Convention absorbed new strategies added wisdom and for the most part, had a good time doing so.

While the four day event can be overwhelming, the opportunity to immerse yourselves into the panel discussions, along with better understanding of some of the nuances of changes in case law, is priceless. From the CAAA President to the Committee Board as well as the CAAA Staff and everyone in between, we thank you all for your dedication & hard work in assembling yet another successful Convention.

I am in the midst of collecting more info. pertaining to the Amenability of Vocational Rehabilitation but in the mean time I wanted to pass along some information I received from Alan Gurvey, Esq.

Some of you may have a similar case or cases to apply this to in hopes of having a successful outcome.

Safeguarding those who need us more through unified advice is admirable in so many ways. Thank you Alan!

 

On Thursday, June 22, 2017, the Court of Appeal of the State of California, Second Appellate District, issued an important decision certified for publication in Maureen Hikida v. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, Costco Wholesales Corp. This is a binding decision which we think will be of great interest to you. Our firm worked extremely hard litigating the case. There are many levels to this decision, however, for the purposes of doctors’ reporting and deposition testimony, we would sum it up as follows:

1. When assessing an applicant’s permanent disability, the doctor’s focus must be on causation of disability, not causation of injury. In this case, the Court of Appeal held that the 10% apportionment found on the underlying carpal tunnel injury, which led to the need for surgery, cannot be considered an apportionable factor to the overall disability caused by the complex regional pain syndrome, a condition which developed as a result of the failed carpal tunnel surgery and rendered the injured worker 100% totally disabled.

2. Since the disability that caused the injured worker to be 100% totally disabled was entirely due to the complex regional pain syndrome, and there were no apportionable factors to the complex regional pain syndrome, the applicant was entitled to a 100% permanent total disability award without apportionment. The Court of Appeal made it clear that the effects of the surgery, which caused the disability, was not subject to apportionment, notwithstanding the underlying 10% apportionment regarding the carpal tunnel condition.

We hope that you will have an opportunity to review this decision. We believe that the theories that the decision is based on will apply to many different medical conditions and disabilities. In the future, we believe that you will be asked to address “Hikida” issues in your reporting and deposition testimony. If you have any questions, please contact our office.

Thank you for your continuing dedication and commitment to the workers’ compensation system, albeit often under difficult circumstances.

Alan Gurvey

Law Firm of Rowen, Gurvey & Win

Even though the system is stacked against us and the future has more potential setbacks, we must stand together in order to succeed.

Thank you to all who give 100% day in day out to help those in need.

– Laura M Wilson