General appearances vs. special appearances (California) (Ca

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General appearances vs. special appearances (California) (Ca

Postby tristar on Sun Apr 05, 2009 6:50 pm

I was representing a billing client from LA in a Northern California board. I made a "special appearance" on behalf of the billing client and lien claimant. Out of the blue the WCJ stated that she does not recognize "special appearances" and that in the future we would have to file and service a notice of representation and must be added to the OAR.

I've never heard of such, and it's the first time this has happened. We appear before this WCJ routinely and she has never mentioned this before. I've searched Lexis and other legal resources regarding "general appearances" and "special appearances". I understand the difference between the two, although it appears that CCP 416 was repealed.

It didn't sound as though I could get a letter from the billing service stating we were making a special appearance on their behalf. When I questioned her on the issue, she simply stated in the future we would have to file and service our notice of representation and be added to the OAR, or technically the lien claimant no-showed on the appearance since we had no standing to represent them.

Anyone?????????????????

AD Rule, statute or case law would be helpful.

Thanks.

Anyone?
Michael
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Re: General appearances vs. special appearances (California) (Ca

Postby steve appell on Mon Apr 06, 2009 9:04 am

Rule 10550, entitled “Proper Identification of the Parties and Lien Claimants,” is added. Rule 10550 provides that whenever a party or lien claimant (or an attorney or other representative for a party or lien claimant) appears in any WCAB proceeding – either (i) by filing any application, answer, settlement, lien, petition, or other pleading or (ii) by appearing at any hearing – the following requirements must be met: (1) the full legal name of the party or lien claimant must be set forth; (2) the attorney or hearing representative must identify which party or parties he or she is representing; (3) when a claims administrator appears, it must identify which party or parties (i.e., an employer, an insurance carrier, or both) it is representing and, if it is representing an insurance carrier, the claims administrator must state whether the policy includes a high self-insured retention, a large deductible, or any other provision that affects the identity of the entity or entities actually liable for the payment of compensation; (4) when insurance carrier appears, it must identify whether it is solely representing itself, or also representing an employer, and it must state whether its policy includes a high self-insured retention, a large deductible, or any other provision that affects the identity of the entity or entities actually liable for the payment of compensation; and (5) a lien claimant must state whether it is the original owner of the alleged debt or whether it purchased the alleged debt from the original owner or some subsequent purchaser.
Steve

appellandassociates.com
6311 Van Nuys Bl #480
Van Nuys, Ca 91401
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Re: General appearances vs. special appearances (California) (Ca

Postby steelmanlaw on Mon Apr 06, 2009 10:23 am

Steve Appell's observations appear correct. however, the Board's nonrecognition of the special appearance status, appears to be special to WC. in all other JDN's of which I am aware, a special appearance is always honored under the thought that 6th Amt. right to counsel, or not to counsel, reigns supreme.

as a suggestion, you could in your situation negotiate a notice of dismissal to be included to you from the client along with the legal assignment referral, undated, with authority to date, file and serve the dismissal after the special appearance/assignment is complete. of course, you would have prior thereto complied with the Board's policy of entering a formal appearance in the first place.

this procedure would be somewhat analogous to application of the equal dignities rule. if the Board requires a formal appearance, then a formal dismissal would solve the representations issues, ongoing or not, between the client and lawyer.
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Re: General appearances vs. special appearances (California) (Ca

Postby tristar on Mon Apr 06, 2009 2:08 pm

Great thanks steve and steelmanlaw. I'll work on getting a letter from our billing clients and formating a "special appearance" notice.
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Re: General appearances vs. special appearances (California) (Ca

Postby rbaird on Mon Apr 06, 2009 2:16 pm

Steve is right, as usual. The reason for disfavor of special appearance is that a special appearance is appropriate only when contesting jurisdiction. The WCAB requires lien claimants who appear to be subject to jurisdiction (ie, not attempt to collect against the injured worker or in other forums). Not all lien claimants are legitimate or willing to play by the rules. As shocking as it may seem, this is also true of defendants who sometimes are coy about their status, including the phony self-insurance or indian tribe shennanigans.
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