Menu Close

Trial proceeded in the case of Ana Villanueva v Teva Foods, Travelers Insurance Company on December 12, 2018 on the issue of whether the lien of Firstline Health, Inc., should be subject to an automatic stay pursuant to Labor Code section 4615.

The WCJ found that applicant claimed an injury arising out of and in the course of her employment on October 11, 2012; that criminally charged providers Munir Uwaydah, M.D., and Paul Turley controlled Firstline pursuant to Labor Code section 139.21(a)(3); and, that Firstline’s Exhibit 73 is not admissible as it was not listed on the pre-trial conference statement.

The WCJ thus ordered that the lien of Firstline in this case is subject to a stay pursuant to section 4615.

Firstline filed a Petition for Reconsideration contending that as of October 11, 2010, David Johnson, M.D., was the sole owner and officer of Firstline and thus “controlled” Firstline pursuant to section 139.21(a)(3); that Dr. Johnson is not currently charged with any crime; and, thus, there are no grounds to impose a section 4615 stay against its lien in this case.

Defendant did not file an answer to Firstline’s Petition for Reconsideration.

The WCJ filed a Report recommending that Firstline’s Petition for Reconsideration be denied because defendant’s evidence indicates that Dr. Uwaydah exercised absolute control over Firstline despite the fraudulent identification of other individuals as owners, officers or directors of Firstline in official documents, which was done in order to hide Dr. Uwaydah’s ownership and control of Firstline from creditors, investigators, government agencies and law enforcement.

Mr. Turley states that Firstline was created to take over the fraudulent activities of Frontline, and that Dr. Uwaydah exercised the same absolute control over Firstline as he had over Frontline, even though others – including Dr. Johnson – were identified as owners, officers or directors:

Uwaydah fled the United States to Lebanon in June of 2010…In the Fall of 2010, Turley traveled to Lebanon to confer with Uwaydah and to discuss how to keep the Frontline Business operating without Uwaydah’s presence, and without his name being connected to the business.

Uwaydah told Turley that there was close to a billion dollars in receivables from Frontline and Firstline

Dr. Uwaydah’s control extends to the current criminal defense in this case. He has paid millions of dollars for the attorneys for the defendants, including defending Turley.

The WCAB on reconsideration said it concurs with the conclusion of the WCJ that defendant’s evidence, namely defendant’s Exhibit C, the “Factual Statement of Paul Turley dated 12/3/18” appears to establish prima facie grounds to impose a section 4615 stay against Firstline’s lien based on Dr. Uwaydah’s de facto ownership and control of Firstline.” The ruling is posted to its website as a “Significant Panel Decision.

However, the Turley Statement was produced on the eve of trial and thus, lien claimant did not have sufficient notice or opportunity to rebut the Turley Statement.”

Lien claimant objected that the Turley Statement was part of a plea arrangement in his criminal case wherein he pled guilty and got credit for time-served in exchange for his execution of this statement.

The Petition for Reconsideration, was granted, and the WCAB rescinded the F&O and returned this case to the trial level for further proceedings consistent with this decision. Firstline is thus afforded an opportunity to rebut the Turley Statement.