Yesterday, the California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) issued an important decision in the case of Sandab Suon v. California Dairies. The decision was made en banc, with the commissioners in agreement about the following conclusions:
- If parties cannot agree on what information to provide the Qualified Medical Evaluator (QME), disputes should be brought to the WCAB for review.
- If a party objects to the QME’s consideration of medical records, it must file a timely objection.
- If the aggrieved party discovers an ex parte communication regarding the QME’s evaluation, and thus wishes to seek a new evaluation, it must do so within a reasonable time frame.
- The trier of fact has wide discretion to determine the remedy for violating Labor Code Section 4062.3(b), which prohibits ex parte communication.
- If a party wishes to challenge a decision concerning what information can be provided to the QME, or otherwise resolve a miscommunication dispute, it must file a Petition for Removal.