December 19, 20180

As the year comes to a close, claim professionals and attorneys alike are working hard to resolve those matters ready for resolution and move into 2019 ready to take on new challenges.  Mullen and Filippi will be working hard to wrap up claims before the New Year, so that we can all enjoy the holiday break with our families and friends.

Vocational Training School Ordered Closed

The Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) on 11/29/2018 issued a citation that ordered the closing of iLearn Institute, on the grounds that it charged more than was allowed by law and also accepted state funds in violation of an exempt status.  The Bureau also levied a $100,000 fine against the school, which is the maximum penalty provided for by law.  The owner Mr. Malmuth, who is well known in Northern California for providing vocational expert opinions in the workers’ compensation system and was the expert in major cases addressing vocational evidence such as Dahl, indicated he has appealed the penalty and closure order.

The BPPE regulates non-public schools in California, but schools that do not award degrees can request an exemption from oversight, if they provide educational programs for total charges of $2,500 or less and no part of those charges is paid from state or federal financial aid programs.  iLearn had requested such an exemption and had provided documentation that it met the above criteria.  However, the Department of Industrial Relations and two private entities, American Claims Management and The Hartford, provided the BPPE with information that led the BPPE to conclude that iLearn had accepted tuition above the $2,500 cap and had accepted tuition from the Uninsured Employers Benefit Trust Fund, in violation of the bar on receipt of tuition paid with state or federal financial aid.

Currently, while the order of the BPPE is being appealed, the closure is not yet in effect.

Results Round-Up:  Multiple Offices Achieving the Mullen and Filippi Standard!

In addition to Santa Rosa, Associate Partner Bill Davis’s recent Court of Appeal victory in the Lindh case (see the 12/11/2018 Special Edition of the Bulletin for more information on that), attorneys at various offices have been providing exemplary defense work and obtaining the always hoped for results of same.

In San Jose, Associate Attorney Linda Hertzberg achieved a take-nothing on a homeowner’s case before the Salinas WCAB.  The dispute involved whether the injured worker was an independent contractor and Ms. Hertzberg expertly defended the claim, applying the developing case law addressing the definition of independent contractor status successfully and keeping her client from wrongly being found liable for an industrial injury.

Meanwhile, in Chico, Associate Attorney Oscar Haro also obtained a “take nothing” decision before the Redding WCAB.  The applicant had alleged a specific injury occurred when her supervisor pushed or kicked open a restroom door while the applicant was in a stall.  The WCJ found that applicant did not sustain injury arising out of and occurring in the course of employment to her shoulder, arms, neck, and psyche. The Opinion on Decision was based on five credible witnesses who testified that the door only opened outwards such that kicking it in was impossible.  Pictures establishing same were also introduced into evidence by Mr. Haro.  The WCJ found the applicant’s testimony lacking in credibility and found the evidence introduced by defendants to be more probative in reaching the “take nothing” result.

Congratulations to all of the above attorneys for their diligent work and the results it produced for our clients!

Changing of the Guard

Please join us as we extend our gratitude and appreciation to Senior Counsel, Tamanee Armstrong, who has decided to retire effective 12/31/2018. Tamanee has been an esteemed member of this firm for the past 23 years working in our Fresno office, including recent management of that office. She is a highly respected practitioner before the Fresno WCAB and will be greatly missed by the partnership, other attorneys in the firm and especially by our attorneys and staff of the Fresno office.

The Senior Partnership has named Brock Roverud as Tamanee’s successor. We have the highest confidence in Brock’s qualifications and abilities to assume Tamanee’s management role in our Fresno office and to lead it further along the successful path Tamanee started.

This Bulletin was written by Jim Cotter, Associate Partner in our Oakland office.

Need Assistance? Are you interested in having M&F attorneys design a customized training or claim review round-table meeting for your office? We’d be happy to provide on-site assistance as required to help you meet the challenges of today’s claims administration issues, and to assist you in complying with all regulatory guidelines. Contact us today at education@mulfil.com for further details or to schedule a seminar!

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