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California: Navarro En Banc, Which Applied to QMEs, Also Applies Equally to AMEs

May 02, 2014 (1 min read)

The California WCAB, in a recent noteworthy panel decision, noted that the holding in Navarro, which applied to QMEs, also applies equally to AMEs. In this case, the WCAB affirmed the WCJ’s ruling that the applicant was not required to return to the prior agreed medical examiner for an evaluation of his new injury claim, when the parties had agreed to utilize the same orthopedic agreed medical examiner in three of the applicant’s cases but not in the applicant’s subsequently filed fourth injury case. The WCAB found that, contrary to the defendant’s contention, Labor Code § 4062.3(k) did not require an applicant to return to the prior agreed medical examiner for a new injury claim. The WCAB noted that, although its decision in Navarro v. City of Montebello, 79 Cal. Comp. Cases 418 (Appeals Board en banc opinion), was not yet final at the time of the WCJ’s ruling, the WCJ’s ruling was consistent with the ultimate holding in Navarro that the requirement in 8 Cal. Code Reg. § 35.5(e) that an employee return to the same evaluator for a new injury claim is invalid because such requirement is inconsistent with the Labor Code. The WCAB further noted that the holding in Navarro, which is applicable to qualified medical evaluators, applies equally to agreed medical examiners. See Norwood v. San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, 2014 Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. LEXIS – (Appeals Board noteworthy panel decision). 


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