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Court upholds Calif. disability rating schedule


SACRAMENTO, Calif.--A California appeals court Tuesday sided with an employer and Zurich North America Insurance Co. by upholding the use of a post-reform workers compensation permanent disability rating schedule.

California's 3rd District Court of Appeals ruled in Energetic Painting & Drywall Inc. vs. Workers' Compensation Appeals Board that a workers comp judge erred when he applied a 1997 schedule for rating a back and neck injury suffered by Jose Reyes Ramirez in July 2004.

Instead, the appeals court found that reform legislation adopted in 2004 called for using a rating schedule crafted in 2005 to supersede the 1997 schedule. The date of Mr. Ramirez's injury and the dates his temporary disability benefits began and ended were at issue in the case.

The appeals court remanded the case to the California's Workers' Compensation Appeals Board, which had denied the employer's request for reconsideration of the work comp judge's action. The appeals court's instructions call for recalculating Mr. Ramirez's permanent disability rating under the 2005 schedule.