California Regulations 9720.2

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§ 9720.2 Definitions.


For purposes of this Article and Section 123.6 of the Labor Code, the following definitions shall apply:

(a) "Code of Judicial Ethics" shall mean the Code of Judicial Ethics adopted by the Supreme Court pursuant to subdivision (m) of Section 18 of Article VI of the California Constitution and any subsequent revision thereof.

(b) "Committee" shall mean the Workers' Compensation Ethics Advisory Committee as specified in Section 9722 of these regulations.

(c) "Complaint" shall mean a statement alleging facts that, if true, might constitute an ethics violation.

(d) "Ethics violation" shall mean any conduct of a workers' compensation administrative law judge that is contrary to the Code of Judicial Ethics or to the other rules of conduct that apply to workers' compensation administrative law judges.

(e) "Financial interest" shall mean a legal or equitable interest of either more than one per cent (1%) or a fair market value in excess of two thousand dollars ($2,000).Ownership in a mutual fund or other common investment fund that holds securities is not a "financial interest" in those securities unless the judge participates in the management of the fund.

(f) "Gift" means any payment or furnishing of value to the extent that consideration of equal or greater value is not given and includes a rebate or discount in the price of anything of value unless the rebate or discount is made in the regular course of business to members of the public without regard to official status. Any person who claims that a payment is not a gift by reason of the giving of consideration has the burden of proving that the consideration received is of equal or greater value. The term "gift" does not include:

(1) Informational material such as books, reports, pamphlets, calendars, periodicals, cassettes and discs, or free or reduced-price admission, tuition, or registration, for informational conferences or seminars. No payment for travel or reimbursement for any expenses shall be deemed "informational material."

(2) Gifts which are not used and which, within 30 days after receipt, are returned to the donor or delivered to a charitable organization without being claimed as a charitable contribution for tax purposes.

(3) Gifts from a judge's spouse, fiancee, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister, parent-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, nephew, niece, aunt, uncle, or first cousin or the spouse of any such person; provided that a gift from any such person shall be considered a gift if the donor is acting as an agent or intermediary for any person not covered by this paragraph.

(4) Campaign contributions required to be reported under Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 84100) of Title 9 of the Government Code.

(5) Gifts of comestible items of nominal value that are not directed to a particular judge, such as holiday baskets of candy or fruit delivered to a District office of the Division, and placed in public areas for consumption by members of the public.

(6) Any devise, inheritance, or other transfer to the judge occurring as a result of death or distribution from an irrevocable trust.

(7) Personalized plaques and trophies with an individual value of less than the amount specified from time to time in Government Code § 82028 (which at the time of this amendment is two hundred fifty dollars ($ 250).

(8) Admission to events and refreshments and similar non-cash nominal benefits provided to a judge during the entire event at which the judge gives a speech, participates in a panel or seminar, or provides a similar service, and payments, advances, or reimbursements for actual transportation and any reasonably necessary lodging and subsistence provided directly in connection with the speech, panel, seminar, or service, provided that the lodging and subsistence expenses are limited to the day immediately preceding, the day of, and the day immediately following the speech, panel participation or seminar, and the travel is within the United States.

(9) Complimentary admission to events and refreshments and similar non-cash nominal benefits, at legal educational events at which the judge is not a speaker or participant in a panel, if:

A.the educational event is open to the public who wish to purchase admission;

B.continuing legal education credits are available for attorneys who attend; and

C.the free admission is offered to all workers' compensation administrative law judges;

"Complimentary admission to events"does not include admission to non-educational functions, such as golf tournaments, excursions, picnics, and dances. "Refreshments" does not include meals other than meals served contemporaneously with an educational presentation, and is limited to those refreshments offered to all who pay admission to the event.

(g) "Honorarium" shall mean any payment made in consideration for any speech given, article published, or attendance at any public or private conference, convention, meeting, social event, meal, or like gathering.

(1) "Honorarium" does not include earned income for personal services which are customarily provided in connection with the practice of a bona fide business, trade, or profession, such as teaching or writing for a publisher.

(2) For purposes of this article, "teaching" includes presentations to impart educational information to students in bona fide educational institutions, to associations or groups of judges, and to presentations of the State Bar of California or a section of the State Bar of California. An individual is presumed to be engaged in the bona fide profession of teaching in any of the following circumstances:

(A) The individual receives payment for teaching students at a bona fide educational institution.

(B) The individual receives payment for teaching students enrolled in an examination preparation program, such as a bar examination review course.

(C) The individual receives payment for teaching or making a presentation or participating in a panel presentation at an educational program offered by an association or group of judges, or at an educational program of the State Bar of California or of a section of the State Bar of California.

(e) (h) "Judge" shall mean a worker's compensation administrative law judge and presiding workers' compensation administrative law judge employed by the Administrative Director and supervised by the Court Administrator pursuant to Section 123.5 of the Labor Code. The term shall also include Vocational Rehabilitation Consultants, Regional Managers (Associate Chief Judges) the Chief Judge, the Court Administrator, the Administrative Director, pro tem administrative law judges, and the Administrative Director's designees, but only while they are exercising judicial or quasi-judicial powers. The term does not include Information and Assistance Officers, Workers' Compensation Compliance Officers (Auditors), nor Disability Evaluation Specialists.

(i) "Previously earned compensation" shall mean legal fees and other compensation to which a workers' compensation administrative law judge may be entitled arising out of the practice of law, engaged in before the judge was appointed to be a judge. Previously earned compensation includes compensation to which the judge was contingently entitled as of the time of appointment, but which became fixed in amount after appointment.

(j) "Spouse" shall include "domestic partner".

(k) "Third degree of relationship" shall mean the following persons: great-grandparent, grandparent, parent, uncle, aunt, brother, sister, child, grandchild, great-grandchild, nephew, and niece.

Authority cited: Sections 123.6, 133 and 5307.3, Labor Code

Reference cited: Sections 111 and 123.6, Labor Code