WCAB Decision Addresses Remote Testimony In Response to the COVID Pandemic

In a significant panel decision (PDF) issued Tuesday, January 12, 2021, the California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) ruled that continuing a trial indefinitely to get in-person testimony was inappropriate. The case in question had been ordered to be continued indefinitely by the Workers’ Compensation Judge, “until such time as the trial can be completed utilizing in-person testimony.” The Applicant contended that the order violated her right to due process. 
While the WCAB’s decision does allow that in some cases in-person testimony may be necessary, it is left up to the Workers’ Compensation Judge (WCJ) to address whether or not remote testimony is appropriate. This case and the resulting decision support the position that, absent a clear reason why the facts of a specific case require in-person testimony, trials should proceed remotely.
SRTK will continue to monitor these developments closely. As always, we invite you to contact us to find out what this may mean for you.