Joanne Thomas recently defended a workers’ comp case in which her skillful approach to deposition questioning led to the District Attorney filing 18 felony charges including Perjury Under Oath and False or Fraudulent Statements. From the outset, Joanne’s crafted a strategy to leverage investigative methods and careful questioning to achieve the best result for the client.
Applicant sustained an admitted injury on 10/16/18. Applicant received total temporary disability benefits starting from the date of injury and for the statutory maximum of 104 weeks. Applicant underwent left shoulder surgery on 1/14/20. However, the employer received a tip that applicant was working elsewhere, at least as early as October 2019. Surveillance was secured in March 2020, which revealed that applicant was in fact working, driving a semi-truck for another company. Several additional dates of surveillance of the applicant working in this capacity were obtained. In May 2020, applicant’s deposition was taken by Joanne Thomas, with a specific goal of securing material misrepresentations , at which time he specifically denied employment since the injury, as well as denied his ability to perform any work, including that of a truck driver. Joanne asked several questions carefully and strategically crafted in concert with the surveillance video and information regarding applicant’s ongoing employment. He repeatedly testified that he had not worked since the date of injury in any capacity, nor did he have any sources of income with the exception of the TTD benefits. Applicant also represented to several of his treating doctors that he had not worked since the date of injury, as well as his inability to work, and his TTD status was extended accordingly.
After receiving information that applicant may have been working, and following the sub rosa and perjurious deposition testimony, the matter was referred to the DA to review for possible fraud and perjury charges. The DA investigator was able to obtain employment records, applicant’s bank records evidencing payments from the other employer, as well as CHP camera footage of the applicant driving the semi-truck for the other employer, all corroborating his continued employment with another employer while receiving TTD benefits. Based on this information, including the multiple material misrepresentations secured under oath, the San Diego District Attorney charged applicant with 18 felony counts of False or Fraudulent Statements and Perjury Under Oath.
Amazing work, Joanne!