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Calif. comp rating schedule ruled invalid


SAN FRANCISCO—A workers compensation judge has found that California's rating schedule adopted following landmark reform legislation in 2004 is invalid because it is arbitrary and lacks empirical evidence.

The Sacramento-based California Applicant's Attorneys Assn. hailed the decision in Scott Boughner vs. Comp USA Inc. and Zurich North America and renewed its call for legislators to increase benefits the organization claims were slashed by the reforms signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The case stems from a sales associate who injured his right knee while working in San Francisco for Comp USA, but its implications reach far beyond the specific case.

Judge Jacqueline C. Duncan ruled last week that a former California Division of Workers Compensation administrative director appointed by the governor failed to base the rating schedule, which was adopted in 2005, on empirical data, such as an injured employees' loss of income.

California's labor code requires the use of such empirical data, the judge said.