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Kamin: Is That Lien Stayed?

  • State: California
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Keeping track of which lien claims are stayed or subject to special lien proceedings is a full-time job, thanks to the plethora of criminal proceedings in California.

John P. Kamin

John P. Kamin

Defendants, lien claimants and even applicants' attorneys have struggled to keep track of the ever-changing news of criminal cases against workers’ compensation practitioners since California lawmakers approved legislation in 2016 and 2017 staying lien claimants linked to criminal indictments and placing liens linked to criminal convictions in “special lien proceedings.”

How many are there? According to the Division of Workers’ Compensation’s online list of liens “potentially subject to a stay under Labor Code section 4615,” there are 504 various sets of criminal charges listed on that page. Keep in mind that number is somewhat inflated, as that list has plenty of overlap because some lien claimants are allegedly linked to multiple prosecutions.

Of course, this information is also important for cases in chief, too, because some criminal prosecutions have led to plea deals or convictions that resulted in the revocation of providers’ ability to participate in the California workers’ compensation system as a treating physician or med-legal evaluator.

For example, this impacts cases where the now-banned provider was acting as a panel qualified medical evaluator, thus requiring the parties to obtain a replacement PQME.

Here are some tips to help keep up on all the news regarding the criminal proceedings that can result in stays, special lien proceedings and other administrative actions.

EAMS public search tool

First and foremost, check the EAMS public search tool’s “lien page.” The far right column will tell you whether a lien is stayed or subject to special lien proceedings.

DWC’s LC 4615 list

The EAMS public search tool doesn’t necessarily list all stayed liens. If you see a lien that sounds like it may have been stayed, but EAMS doesn’t list it, then go to the DWC’s online list of liens “potentially subject to a stay under Labor Code Section 4615.”

This is a list of criminal prosecutions against specific individuals who are allegedly linked to specific lien providers, with links to some of the pleadings and other exhibits from those prosecutions. Hit Control F to pull up your “find” tool, and type in the provider’s name. That will expedite your search for specific lien claimants without having to scroll through some 500 entries.

WorkCompCentral's search engine

What if your lien isn’t on either list? Go to www.workcompcentral.com and type the lien claimant’s name into the search tool to see if WCC has written anything about that lien claimant.

As the former legal editor at WorkCompCentral, I can personally assure you that WCC quite literally spends all day perusing thousands of websites in and outside of California in an attempt to identify every criminal and civil case important to the workers’ compensation system in all 50 states. If WCC hasn’t written about it, it might not be online.

Google it

Still no results? Let me take this opportunity to recite the phrase that editors have uttered in newsrooms on a daily basis for the last 15 years: “Google is your friend.” Go to Google and type in the provider’s name, and additional search terms such as “indictment,” “stay,” “plea deal,” etc. This can often turn up articles from other publications and news releases from authoritative websites.

Ask a judge

If you’re already at a court hearing, ask the workers’ compensation judge overseeing your hearing. After all, they do this on a daily basis, and have access to databases and documents that the general public simply doesn't.

John P. Kamin is a workers’ compensation defense attorney at Bradford & Barthel’s Tarzana location. He is WorkCompCentral's former legal editor. This entry from Bradford & Barthel's blog appears with permission.

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