Ronnie Barnes’s original industrial injury occurred in March 1981 while working for the State of California Employment Development Department. He sustained additional unspecified industrial injuries in May 1989 and July 1990 while working for the City of Long Beach.
He received his initial medical award against the EDD in 1982, which was modified and amended in 1982 and 1984 ultimately to include future medical treatment and a 10 percent penalty against EDD and its insurer, SCIF, for delayed payments
At some point, SCIF filed a petition to terminate this medical award. Barnes alleges all three defendants, SCIF, the City of Long Beach and Judge Louie conspired to defraud him out of his future medical award, including the 10 percent penalty.
In September 1992, SCIF stopped paying for and authorizing medical treatments for Barnes’s 1981 injury. In April 1993, Judge Louie issued an order disallowing medical charges and liens from Barnes’s treating doctor. SCIF then made an appointment for Barnes to be examined by an agreed medical examiner (AME). Judge Louie allegedly told Barnes at a March 1995 status conference that she would rule against him if he did not submit to an examination by an AME. Barnes agreed to the examination.
He was later advised by the Presiding Judge, that an unrepresented worker cannot agree to an AME. When he told Judge Louie of this, Judge Louie allegedly stated, “I know just how to get around that,” and consolidated Barnes’s case against EDD with his worker’s compensation case against the City of Long Beach.
The PJ also indicated that WCJ Louie had no jurisdiction to terminate future medical care if no petition to terminate was filed within five years of the date of injury. That position was rejected in in Barnes v. Workers’ Comp. Appeals Bd. (2000) 23 Cal.4th 679 .
Barnes then filed a civil complaint that alleged the defendants engaged in fraud and conspired to deprive him of the benefits of a workers’ compensation award he originally received in 1982. He sought damages in the amount of $30,000,000
The trial court concluded it was without jurisdiction to hear the case, explaining that only the court of appeal and California Supreme Court had jurisdiction to review WCAB decisions under Labor Code section 5955. The Court of Appeal affirmed in the unpublished case of Barnes v SCIF (2019).
It concluded that the trial court properly found it lacked jurisdiction to hear Barnes’s complaint. The trial court also properly sustained the WCAB’s and Judge Louie’s demurrer without leave to amend on immunity grounds and properly granted the City’s motion for judgment on the pleadings based on Barnes’s failure to allege compliance with the claim presentation requirement.