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On August 14, 2013, the WCJ in the case of Trinh v Tzeng Long USA Inc. issued an Order For Costs And Sanctions against Professional Lien Services, Inc., (PLS), ordering it to pay defendant’s costs and attorney’s fees in the amount of $2,355 along with a separate court sanction of $1,000. The sanctions were imposed for PLS’s bad faith and frivolous conduct in pursuing a trial on the issues of penalty and interest when it did not offer evidence at the trial adequate to meet its initial burden of proof.

Neither PLS nor its representative, Mike Traw petitioned for reconsideration or otherwise appealed the August 14, 2013 Sanction Order and it is now final and binding for all purposes.

Deputy Commissioner Rick Dietrich, Secretary of the Appeals Board, notified PLS in October 2013 that payment of the $1,000 court sanction was expected within ten days and further advised that failure to pay the sanction was grounds for suspending the privilege of appearing before the WCAB pursuant to section 4907. PLS replied that it was petitioning for reconsideration, but that was not the case.

Defendant also made unsuccessful efforts to recover the costs and attorney’s fees that PLS is obligated to pay as part of the Sanction Order. Thus the En Banc panel concluded “None of the efforts by the Appeals Board and the defendant have resulted in voluntary compliance with the August 14, 2013 Sanction Order by PLS and Mr. Traw, and it appears they are willfully disobeying the August 14, 2013 Sanction Order.”

Section 4907(a)(2) provides for suspension of the privilege of appearing before the WCAB for, “failure to pay final order of sanctions, attorney’s fees, or costs, issued under Section 5813.” The failure to comply with an order or regulation of the WCAB, including an order to pay a sanction, is an interference with the judicial process that provides good cause for suspending or removing the privilege of appearing before the WCAB.

For this reason it was ordered last August that “that the Appeals Board intends to suspend the privilege of Professional Lien Services, Inc., and Mike Traw of appearing before the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board for ninety (90) days unless good cause is shown why the suspensions should not be imposed.”

Since then, no response to the Notice Of Intention was received from Mike Traw. The Appeals Board received a letter from Mark Blakely on the letterhead of PLS that stated that he acquired PLS from the prior owners and he requested a 60 day extension of the time which was granted. He requested a second 60 day extension which was also granted. No further response has been received from Mr. Blakely or PLS, and the two allowed extensions of time to respond have expired.

Thus, the WCAB sitting en banc issued its Decision After Removal, suspending the privilege of Mike Traw of appearing before the WCAB but did not suspend the privilege of Mark Blakely or PLS. However, the earlier ordered sanctions against PLS remain in full force and effect, and PLS continues to be liable sfor payment of those ordered sanctions.