Thursday, December 27, 2012

New Policy on Agreed Walk In Prehearings

I received a notification that there can be a new approach in some prehearings. It appears to allow some quick prehearings without much paperwork if the parties agree. This will take effect next month. My only concern is that no one wants to be surprised so if you want to know, in advance, the precise issues and likely arguments you do not agree to this abbreviated approach. I do think it would be useful in some circumstances where the parties have attorneys and
are desirious of clarification of a clear issue. This is what was sent out on this new approach: The Prehearing Unit of the Division of Workers’ Compensation is instituting a new procedure, designed to cut down on paperwork and time spent scheduling prehearing conferences. It is called the Walk-In Prehearing Conference. The Walk-In Prehearing requires no notice to the Division, and will be held the 2nd and 4th Wednesday mornings of each month beginning in January, 2013 (January 9 and 23). The guidelines for a Walk-In Prehearing are: 1. All sides must agree to a Walk-In Prehearing Conference. 2. All sides must appear in person. If one is a no-show, there will be no prehearing conference. 3. Walk-In Prehearings are not available for issues involving pro se litigants. 4. The parties must exchange some type of documented notification of the issues to be heard at the Walk-In Prehearing. This can be done by email, fax, etc. A copy should not be sent to the Division, but should be available at the Walk-In Prehearing. 5. No reservation or paperwork is needed. Upon arrival, the parties sign in on a registration log. First come, first served. 6. Walk-In Prehearing Conferences will be for the consideration of any prehearing issue, but will not be used for mediating settlements. 6. Walk-In Prehearing Conferences will be held from 8 to 11:30 a.m. on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of each month.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Proposed Rule Changes and Hearing

You can take a look at proposed rule changes at this page. It sets forth all recent rule changes. On January 29, 2013 there is to be a hearing on the proposed change to Rule 5-11 and 10. Any claimant or attorney should be aware that any rule changes may be significant. Aside from the workers compensation statutes and caselaw the rules are often critical in a case. There may be deadlines set forth in the rules or just standards that are to be utilized in a case. The Medical Treatment Guidelines are in the rules. Disputes, when they arise, may well be resolved with reference to the rules. In any event there will be a hearing on some new proposed changes as I have said so we move forward into 2013.