EAMS: Three Tips for Trial – Submission of Evidence

EAMS: Three Tips for Trial – Submission of Evidence

Robert Gallagher once said: "Change is inevitable—except from a vending machine." Last time I looked, EAMS was nothing like a vending machine… although, wouldn’t that be cool? Get your ice cold Coke and two OCR forms to go…

Anyway, back to the concept of change. EAMS has mandated quite a few of them in the past couple of years. Some people are still a bit unfamiliar with the more esoteric changes, so I’ve set forth below a few tips below for navigating successfully through this new system.

Tip #1: Each Medical Report is a Separate Exhibit:

In the olden days, parties filed all reports from a single doctor under a single exhibit designation. All of Doctor Zeus’ reports were Exhibit “A,” all of Doctor Zhivago’s reports were Exhibit “B,” all of Doctor Zena’s reports were Exhibit “C,” etc. 

That was fine when everything was on paper, but now all documents are digital. It’s quite a task for Judge Jane or Commissioner Cal to find Dr. Zeus’ 3/17/09 AME report in FileNet, if that report is lumped in with seven other medical reports of Dr. Zeus.

That’s why they invented 8 CCR §10629(d). This rule requires each medical report be identified as a separate exhibit with its own separator sheet. That way when Dr. Zeus’ 3/17/09 AME report gets scanned into EAMS, it will be easy for everyone to pull up his report and review it.

There are three exceptions to the rule:

(1) Excerpted portions of medical records.

(2) Excerpted portions of various types of business records.

(3) Explanation of Benefits (EOB) letters.

If you happen to have an exhibit that is one of these exceptions, such as a dozen or so pages of excerpted medical records form Happy Valley Hospital, the entire packet would be considered a single exhibit. But please make sure it only includes the exact pages that are necessary and relevant to your burden of proof for the issue at hand.

The rule also requires that all parties create and serve a list of the exhibits they plan to offer as evidence at trial. Each exhibit on the list should be identified by author, date, and title, such as "the 3/17/09 medical report of John Zeus, M.D. (3 pages).”

In addition, the list should identify each exhibit per the directions of 8 CCR §10629(e) as follows:

“Each exhibit listed must specify an exhibit number or initial that identifies it and the party, parties, or lien claimant offering it (e.g., Applicant's Exhibit 1, 2, 3, etc.; Defendant's Exhibit A, B, C, etc.; Lien Claimant's AA, BB, CC, etc.; Joint Exhibit XX, YY, etc.).”

It’s important to comply with these guidelines to avoid confusion and problems at both the trial and the appellate level. If parties do not comply with this rule, the file may be returned to the WCJ to develop the record if necessary and to make sure all of the exhibits are entered properly. (Hamilton v. Lockheed Corp. (2001) 66 CCC 473)

Tip #2: Tell the WCAB Where They Can Find Your Evidence:

This is not a Tomb Raider treasure hunt or an Agatha Christie mystery. This is all about making it as easy as possible for the trier of fact to find the evidence that proves your position is the correct one. So if you file a Petition for Reconsideration, make sure you comply with 8 CCR §10842(b). That’s the one that requires you to support your “evidentiary statements by specific references to the record.”

The Rule provides the following examples:

(a) "Summary of Evidence, 5/1/08 trial, 1:30pm session, at 6:11-6:15" or

(b) "the 6/16/08 report of John A. Jones, M.D., at p. 7, Apportionment Discussion, 3rd full paragraph [Defendant's Exh. B, admitted at 8/1/08 trial, 1:30pm session]"

(c) "the 6/20/08 depo of William A. Smith, M.D., at 21:20-22:5 [Applicant's Exh. 3, admitted at 12/1/08 trial, 8:30am session]"

Hence, on key medical issues, direct the WCAB to the exact page and line in the doctor’s deposition, where he states “reasonable medical probability” that your argument is correct.

Tip #3: Keep your originals. 8 CCR §10236(b) requires that, “Only a photocopy or other reproduction of an original document shall be filed [with a district office], and it is presumed the filed document is an accurate representation of the original document.”

Remember, the documents you file with the district office are scanned into EAMS. Eventually those documents will end up in the shredding machine. Make sure it is the copy that is sacrificed to the shredder, and not the original.

Immanuel Kant once said, “Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life.” It seems to follow that EAMS is “organized change.” Keeping up to date on those changes will give you the winning edge at trial and beyond.

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