By John Parente, Esq., Parente & Christopher, San Rafael California, Co-Chair Practice and Procedure/Ethics Subcommittee
As the name states, the Practice and Procedure/Ethics Subcommittee looks at pretty much anything that affects Practice and Ethics in the field of the California Workers’ Compensation system. We are keenly aware of any proposed rule changes by either the DWC or the WCAB. We comment on proposals that affect the practice and procedure since sometimes proposed rules have unintended consequences that we, as practitioners, are more in tune to identify. When appropriate, we offer our opinion on improvements to the litigation process. In addition, we look at how the practice is carried out. We all know that there are vast differences in how litigation is conducted in Southern and Northern California, however, we are always looking at ways to uniformly conduct the workers’ compensation practice. We are always looking at ways to improve the civility of practitioners and the way cases are litigated.
Currently, the committee members are reviewing all the new procedures in place for telemedicine, remote depositions of both injured workers and doctors, possible telemedicine of QME/AME examinations, new rules with regard to email filing and serving and remote hearings. Hopefully, most of these changes will be temporary, however, there has been a push for filing and service by email and once it has been established it will be difficult to go back to traditional means of mail delivery.