NWCDN Members regularly post articles and summary judgements in workers’ compensations law in your state.
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Surprise. DWC may be on the enforcement war path in regard to BRC exchanges required by Rule 141.4 (b). There has been a rule in effect since 1991 governing when parties to a dispute must exchange pertinent claim information with one another. The rule was tightened up in 2010 but to date has not been strictly enforced. We recently became aware that BROs are being asked to inform DWC of instances when the rule was not followed. Monitoring letters are now being issued. As carrier attorneys are aware, and most likely plaintiff attorneys as well, it can be logistically difficult (and sometimes impossible) to comply with the rule which requires all “pertinent” information in a party’s possession to be sent to DWC and the other parties to a dispute no later than 14 days before a BRC, or not later than 5 days before an expedited BRC. And, as we all know, time flies.
The rule does not expressly provide for punitive consequence to the parties for failure to timely exchange, but it does give the BRO the power to schedule a second BRC if she determines that pertinent necessary information necessary to resolve the dispute was not submitted or exchanged. But beware – a violation of any provision of the Labor Code or DWC rules can be the basis for a monetary penalty or other sanction.
There is a second part to the rule – Rule 141.4(c)(d). This part requires that whenever a party requests a BRC, it must send the opposing party all pertinent informationbefore filing a BRC request with the DWC. The responding party then has an obligation to send all pertinent information in its possession to the other party within 10 working days after receiving the BRC request.