A WCJ issued a Findings of Fact wherein she found that lien claimant Monrovia Memorial Hospital is not barred from proceeding on its lien due to a “dismissal” notation in the Electronic Adjudication Management System (EAMS) pursuant to Jose Guillermina Rodriguez v. Garden Planting Co., et al. (2017) 82 Cal.Comp.Cases 1390 (Appeals Bd. en banc).
The WCJ then found that lien claimant had until the close of business at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, July 3, 2017 to file a lien claim declaration pursuant to Labor Code section 4903.05.
Defendant contends that lien claimant’s lien is dismissed by operation of law because its section 4903.05(c) declaration was not timely filed before the close of business, i.e., 5:00 p.m., on Friday,June 30, 2017 pursuant to section 4903.05, subsection (c)(2); and because it was unsigned in violation of subsection (c)(3).
The Appeals Board issued an en banc decision in the case of Hernandez v Henkel Loctite Corporation, determining that Labor Code section 4903.05(c) declarations filed after the close of business at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, June 30, 2017 through the close of business at 5:00 p.m. on Monday July 3, 2017 are timely filed.
Labor Code section 4903.05(c)(2) states that lien claimants “shall have until July 1, 2017” to file the declaration identified in Labor Code section 4903.05(c)(1), thereby establishing the last date for performance of an act required by statute as July 1, 2017, a Saturday.
When the last date for performance of an act required by any workers’ compensation statute falls on a weekend or holiday, “the act or response may be performed or exercised upon the next business day.” (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 8, § 10508; see Code Civ. Proc., § 12a(a) and Gov. Code, § 6707.)
The Appeals Board clarified that pursuant to the plain language in Labor Code section 4903.05(c)(2) and WCAB Rule 10770.7, declarations filed at or before 5:00 p.m. on the next business day, Monday, July 3, 2017, are timely filed.
Another issue discussed in dicta was the validity of an electronic signature rather than a wet signature on lien documents filed in EAMS. “We note that our rules require all liens, including the supportive required documentation, to be electronically filed on an e-form approved by the Appeals Board and submitted by the Administrative Director’s electronic filing or JET-filing procedures. (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 8, § 10770(b)(1)(A), (B), and (C)(i).) The Administrative Director’s approved electronic filing technical requirements10 allow the use of an ‘S Signature,’ which shall be ‘rebuttably presumed to be that of the individual whose name is on the document signature line.’ (BR-16 S Signatures; Guide, p. 42.) Defendant compares section 4903.05(c) declarations to settlement documents; however, settlement documents require a ‘wet’ signature. (See BR-18 Wet/Actual Signatures [‘The following documents will require actual wet/actual signatures(s) be used: Scanned in signed settlement documents.’]; and Guide, p. 42.) The electronic signature rules and procedures adopted by the Administrative Director are consistent with California’s statutory rules of procedure. (See Civ. Code, §§ 1633.2, 1633.7.)”
En banc decisions of the Appeals Board are binding precedent on all Appeals Board panels and WCJs. (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 8, § 10341; City of Long Beach v. Workers’ Comp. Appeals Bd. (Garcia) (2005) 126 Cal.App.4th 298, 313, fn. 5 [70 Cal.Comp.Cases 109]; Gee v. Workers’ Comp. Appeals Bd. (2002) 96 Cal.App.4th 1418 [67 Cal.Comp.Cases 236].) This en banc decision is also adopted as a precedent decision pursuant to Government Code section 11425.60(b).