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Workers' Compensation

California: Stipulation to Use Agreed Medical Examiner

Here's a noteworthy panel decision (split panel) you should know about.

Medical-Legal Procedure—Stipulation to Use Agreed Medical Examiner—WCAB, denying removal in split panel opinion, affirmed WCJ’s finding that applicant was not permitted to unilaterally withdraw from his agreement to utilize orthopedic agreed medical examiner Kenneth Sabbag, M.D., to evaluate his claims for orthopedic injuries incurred on 1/13/2020 and during period 1/13/2019 through 1/13/2020, when WCAB panel majority found that pursuant to plain language in Labor Code § 4062.2(f), stipulation to utilize agreed medical examiner may only be canceled by parties’ mutual written consent, that here defendant did not consent to terminate agreement to utilize Dr. Sabbag and therefore applicant was not permitted to withdraw from agreement even though no evaluation with Dr. Sabbag had yet taken place, and that decision in Yarbrough v. Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits (2017) 83 Cal. Comp. Cases 425, 2017 Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. LEXIS (Appeals Board noteworthy panel decision), relied upon by dissenting Commissioner Razo, was not controlling to extent decision interpreted statutory language as permitting unilateral withdrawal from AME agreement where no evaluation had yet occurred.

Bonnevie v. Fox Studio Lot, 2021 Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. LEXIS 247.

Reminder: Panel decisions are not binding precedent.