Saturday, February 16, 2013

ICAP Almanza case on DIME jurisdictional requirement

The Almanza case decided by ICAP several weeks ago reminds us about the awesome power of a jurisdictional situation. It is not freely available on the web but I was provided it in a recent update. It reminds us that anything that is jurisdictional must be carefully handled. In this case there was a DIME examination and report issued. Respondents were concerned about the examination and sought by motion to delay the requirement that they either admit based on the report or contest it with a hearing application. They requested an extension of time to admit or contest the DIME report until depositions were conducted. A prehearing ALJ (administrative law judge) agreed and issued an order of extension. Ultimately this led to a hearing where the claimant's impairment rating was reduced because the DIME report was not a proper DIME report and a new DIME had reduced it. The claimant appealed to ICAP. In this decision ICAP determined the original extension of time was error because it is a jurisdictional matter. The requirement to admit or contest the DIME report is 30 days and no extension granted by the judge was proper. It further ruled the original report was not improper. The DIME physician had a communication with the claimants interpreter which while improper did not invalidate the report as a matter of law. Here the claimants appeal was successful and the original DIME rating was ordered. So where a matter is jurisdictional it is almost etched in stone. Respondents must admit or contest a DIME report within 30 days as provided by law. No extensions are possible although Respondents in this case could have contested it and sought a delay of the hearing date which is not a jurisdictional matter.