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Calif. high court to hear differing comp decisions


SAN FRANCISCO—California's Supreme Court will hear two conflicting appeals court decisions on the apportionment of permanent disability benefits following workers compensation reforms adopted in 2004.

The reform measure required changes in the apportionment of permanent disability injuries.

In Kenneth Welcher vs. Workers Compensation Appeals Board, California's 3rd Appellate District Court in Sacramento ruled Aug. 31 that in light of the reforms signed into law by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Workers Compensation Appeals Board correctly ruled on the calculation of permanent disability for claimants in four consolidated cases.

But just one day earlier, in the case of Stan Brodie vs. Workers Compensation Appeals Board, the San Francisco-based 1st Appellate District Court rejected the WCAB's apportionment of permanent disability cases.

Claimant attorneys, employers and the California Division of Workers' Compensation all called for the California Supreme Court to resolve the issue.

The high court announced last week that it would hear the cases, but did not provide a specific date for the hearings.

Apportionment impacts benefit award levels because it addresses how the percentage of permanent disability is calculated for a current injury when an employee has suffered a previous permanent disability injury.