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Jennifer Reveles filed an Application for Adjudication of her claim of injury while employed by the State of California Sierra Conservation Center.

On May 8, 2023, defendant filed a petition seeking an order compelling applicant to complete, sign and return medical releases, and that should applicant fail to do so, that the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) suspend applicant’s entitlement to benefits.

On June 29, 2023, the parties proceeded to trial, framing for decision defendant’s May 8, 2023 Petition to Compel, and “whether defendant has to depose Applicant if further information is required [that is] not contained in the medical release.”

A Findings of Fact and Orders (F&O) issued by the Workers’ Compensation Administrative Law Judge on August 1, 2023, which ordered Reveles to list the medical treatment received during the last 10 years to the neck, bilateral upper extremities, and bilateral wrists. The WCJ further ordered that any additional information sought by defendant would need to be obtained by deposition.

The WCJ’s Opinion on Decision notes that the order complies with section 4663(d), and that section 5708 allows depositions to be admitted into evidence as part of proceedings before the WCAB.

Applicant filed a Petition for Removal which was granted, and the the decision of August 1, 2023 was rescinded in the panel decision of Reveles v State of California Sierra Conservation Center – ADJ16783231 (April 2025)

In her Petition for Removal applicant contends that the order to disclose medical treatment is not authorized under Labor Code section 4663(d), and that the WCJ’s order is premised on defendant’s demand for information, which is functionally equivalent to written interrogatories.

Applicant further asserts that scope of the compelled disclosure will require applicant to list medical treatment she has received during the last 10 years, including doctors, medical facilities, addresses, locations, parts of body treated, types of treatment, and the approximate date(s) of treatment.

Applicant cites Lubin v. Berkley East Convalescent Hop. & Mission Ins. Co.3 (1976) 41 Cal.Comp.Cases 283 [1976 Cal. Wrk. Comp. LEXIS 2480], wherein a panel of the Appeals Board noted that “in most cases the specific provisions of the Labor Code and of our rules relating to discovery will provide adequate tools to the practitioner,” and that only “in very rare instances, submission of written interrogatories to an opposing party may be the only practical and feasible way of obtaining adequate discovery.

Applicant asserts that the record does not support the necessity of interrogatories in lieu of other discovery vehicles available to defendant.

Hardesty v. McCord & Holdren, Inc. (1976) 41 Cal.Comp.Cases 111 Section 4663(d) requires that, “[a]n employee who claims an industrial injury shall, upon request, disclose all previous permanent disabilities or physical impairments.” (Lab. Code, § 4663(d).) Thus, while the section contemplates disclosure of specified disability or impairment, it does not require the employee to disclose all prior medical treatment.”

The WCAB panel therefore agreed with applicant that the order that she disclose prior medical treatment to specified body parts does not comport with the disclosure required by section 4663(d).

Defendant’s Petition to Compel “fails to explain how compelling applicant’s authorization to disclose an unlimited medical treatment history comports with the requirement for disclosure of disability or impairment pursuant to section 4663(d).”

However, the WCAB Panel went on to say “Irrespective of the requirements of section 4663(d), however, the WCJ retains significant discretion in resolving discovery disputes arising under the provisions of the Labor Code and our rules regarding pre-trial discovery.

In Hardesty v. McCord & Holdren, Inc. (1976) 41 Cal.Comp.Cases 111 [1976 Cal. Wrk. Comp. LEXIS 2406] “we explained that ‘in most cases the specific provisions of the Labor Code and of our rules relating to discovery will provide adequate tools to the practitioner, and that he should not be encouraged to go beyond them in search of other remedies. In those cases where the Labor Code and our rules do not provide a sufficient remedy, ‘the trial judge has, and should exercise[,] the authority conferred on him by § [10330] of our rules to issue such interlocutory orders relating to discovery as he determines are necessary to insure the full and fair adjudication of the matter before him, to expedite litigation and to safeguard against unfair surprise.’ “

“Thus, and insofar as the defendant seeks to compel discovery in the form of written disclosure of prior medical treatment, defendant must establish why the specific provisions of the Labor Code and our rules relating to discovery are otherwise inadequate. Here, defendant offers no argument for the need to resort to written discovery, nor does it aver previously unsuccessful discovery efforts. Because defendant does not assert that less burdensome vehicles for discovery are unavailable to defendant, and because the record reflects no such requests, we are persuaded that defendant’s requests for written disclosures are unduly burdensome.”