The California Division of Workers Compensation (DWC) recently reinstated statutorily required lien activation fees that have been enjoined by the U.S. District Court for the past two years.
In Angelotti Chiropractic v. Baker et. al., Plaintiff Angelotti and other lien claimants sued the Director of the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) and others, alleging that the lien activation fees under Labor Code §4903.6 violated the U.S. Constitution. U.S. District Court Judge George Wu dismissed two of the grounds alleged by plaintiffs, under the taking and due process clauses of the constitution, but he issued a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the activation fees on equal protection grounds, which injunction became effective on Nov. 19, 2013.
Following appeal of the case by both parties, the Ninth Circuit United States Court of Appeals upheld the constitutionality of the lien activation fees on June 29, 2015. The Court denied the plaintiff’s Petition for Rehearing on Oct. 18, 2015 and sent the case back to Judge Wu to vacate the preliminary injunction and dismiss the case.
On Nov. 3, 2015, Judge George Wu issued an order vacating the preliminary injunction and permitting lien claimants to pay activation fees required by Labor Code § 4903.06 from 8 a.m. on Nov. 9 until Dec. 31, 2015. Based on this order, any affected lien claimant who files a Declaration of Readiness or appears at a lien conference during this period will be required to pay the activation fee if it has not previously been paid.
The order also provides that lien activation fees must be paid by Dec. 31, 2015 or the affected lien will be dismissed by operation of law under Labor Code § 4903.06(a)(5). Activation fees will no longer be accepted after midnight on Dec. 31, 2015. DIR will restore the electronic lien activation fee payment system through JET File and the EAMS Public Information Search.
If, between Nov. 9, 2015 and Dec. 31, 2015, the lien activation payment system becomes non-operational for six or more hours in a 24-hour period, the deadline will be extended by one calendar day for each day of non-operation.
Author Kori Shafer-Stack, Editor, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in post-injury response procedures and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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