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S.B. 863 requires lien claimants to pay an activation fee prior to attending a lien conference, and a filing fee for filing new liens. The panel decision in the case of Jose Pedro Soto v Marathon Industries Inc. held that lien claims are properly dismissed when the activation fee is paid a few hours late.

Jose Pedro Soto claimed to have sustained industrial injuries to his back. He settled his cases by Compromise and Release approved by Order Approving Compromise and Release dated September 6, 2012. On November 29, 2012, defendant filed a Declaration of Readiness to Proceed requesting a lien conference. A lien conference was scheduled for January 10, 2013.

After passage of S.B. 863, Labor Code Section 4903.06(a)(4), effective January 1, 2013, provides: “All lien claimants that did not file the declaration or readiness to proceed and that remain a lien claimant at the time of a lien conference shall submit proof of payment of the activation fee at the lien conference. If the fee has not been paid or no proof of payment is available, the lien shall be dismissed with prejudice.”

Administrative Director Rule 10208(a), operative January 1, 2013, provides in relevant part: “No lien claimant that is required to pay an activation fee shall file a declaration or readiness or participate in any lien conference including obtaining an order allowing its lien in whole or in part, without submitting written proof of prior timely payment of the fee, or without electronic proof of timely payment of the fee that is available to the judge and parties at the conference. ‘Prior timely payment’ means payment of the activation fee (1) prior to the filing of a declaration filing a declaration of readiness, or (2) prior to an appearance at a lien conference by a lien claimant of record that did not file the declaration of readiness.”

The lien conference was scheduled for 8:30 a.m. The lien claimants in that case paid the activation fee between 10:56 and 11:06 a.m. on that day. Pursuant to Rule 10208(a), payments of the fees were not “prior timely payments.” In order to have been “prior timely payments,” the payments would have had to be made prior to 8:30 a.m. on the date of the lien conference. Therefore, the liens were properly dismissed at the lien conference on January 10, 2013.

The WCAB reinstated the Orders Dismissing Liens of Pacific Orthopedic and Rehabilitation, Vanguard Psychiatric, National Duramed, LA Mediwave, Inc., Westside Wilshire Medical Center, Orthopedic Rehabilitation of San Fernando Valley, Marina Russman, M.D., Jan Medical Equipment, Healthcare Interpreting, and Global Interpreting dated January 10, 2013.