Tuesday, August 02, 2011

New Policy on Prehearings

In an email sent to many representatives the word is out on some changes in setting up prehearings in Colorado workers compensation cases. Prehearings are useful in clearing up some disputes. For example if the other side has not provided discovery you might ask for a prehearing to compel the disclosures. Imagine going into a real hearing without disclosures of what the witnesses may say and what evidence will be submitted. A prehearing judge hears what is argued and decides on these preliminary but important matters. An order is issued which you disregard at your peril. A prehearing is not a full scale hearing with evidence and testimony but usually concerns legal arguments where the judge assists in moving the matter forward by issuing an order. In any event we are now told the email for this is dowc-phc@state.co.us. We are also told not to submit more then 10 pages by fax so seemingly they prefer that you email the materials. Should you do so at the last minute call them at 303-866-5508 (the number to set a prehearing)so they can retrieve the email in time for the prehearing. They also want you, when setting a prehearing, to confirm the date and time with the other side and provide email addresses to the prehearing unit. They also request being notified as soon as possible when a party is cancelling a settlement conference. Most of this is just common sense and contact information. No one likes it when someone is a no show or the proceeding is slowed. The prehearing judge does not have unlimited time to wait on faxed materials or emails so the point of this is to speed the process along. I can say that often in the past settlement conferences were cancelled at the last minute by the respondents. Usually it was because the respondent attorney did not have the dollar authority to settle.

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