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Tag: 2022 News

DWC Opens Registration for 30th Annual Educational Conference

The California Division of Workers’ Compensation announced that registration for its 30th annual educational conference is now open.

The conference will take place in person March 9-10, 2023 at the Oakland Marriott City Center Hotel and March 23-24, 2023 at the Los Angeles Airport Marriott.

This annual event is the largest workers’ compensation training in the state and allows claims administrators, attorneys, medical providers, return-to-work specialists, employers, human resources and others to learn firsthand about the most recent developments in the system.

Attendees will be interested in learning about current topics from a variety of workers’ compensation experts from DWC, other state and public agencies, and the private sector. The presenters include the Administrative Director, DWC Judges and Senior Staff, and outside experts.

The topics this year are expected to include the following:

– – DWC Update
– – Top Ten Litigation Tips
– – QME Med-Legal/Regulations Update
– – Rating – Legal Ethics
– – Trends in WC Medical Treatment
– – Audit Unit – Women in Law and Business
– – MTUS/Formulary

DWC has applied for continuing educational credits by attorney, rehabilitation counselor, case manager, disability management, human resource and qualified medical examiner certifying organizations among others.

Organizations who would like to become sponsors of the DWC conference can do so by going to the IWCF Website.

Attendee, exhibitor, and sponsor registration may be found at the DWC Educational Conference Webpage.

Proof of “Prejudice” Required for Laches to Bar 20 Year Old Lien

Ramiro Rodriguez claimed injury to the neck, arms, back, shoulders, nervous system, depression and anxiety through February 20, 2003 while employed as a forklift operator by Las Vegas LA Express. The employer denied the claim in its entirety.

Julie Goalwin, Ph.D. evaluated applicant as the psychiatric qualified medical evaluator (QME) on June 21, 2003 and served her report on the parties on July 14, 2003. Dr. Goalwin sold the receivables for her evaluation and report of applicant to Angoal Medical Collections on July 1, 2003.

Janine Angelotti, D.C. evaluated applicant as the applicant’s chiropractic QME on June 25, 2003. Dr. Angelotti also filed a lien claim in the amount of $2,845 for her evaluation and report on July 21, 2003.

Applicant’s claim was dismissed for lack of prosecution on February 3, 2010.

The matter proceeded to trial on December 19, 2019 regarding Angoal Medical Collections’ lien for Drs. Goalwin and Angelotti. Several issues were identified as in dispute including laches. The WCJ issued the F&O in which he found that the lien claim was barred by laches. All other issues were found to be moot and were not addressed in the F&O.

The WCAB panel granted the lien claimants petition for reconsideration, rescinded the F&O and remanded the case for further proceedings in the case of Ramiro Rodriguez v Las Vegas LA Express – ADJ1424195 (November 2022).

In common law legal systems, laches is a lack of diligence and activity in making a legal claim, or moving forward with legal enforcement of a right, particularly in regard to equity. In this case the lien claimant contends on reconsideration that the WCJ erroneously found its lien was barred by laches although defendant did not prove prejudice from the delay in pursuing the lien.

The equitable doctrine of laches applies to proceedings before the Appeals Board. (See Truck Ins. Exchange v. Workers’ Comp. Appeals Bd. (Kwok) (2016) 2 Cal.App.5th 394, 401-402 [81 Cal.Comp.Cases 685] [“The appeals board has broad equitable powers with respect to matters within its jurisdiction. . . . Thus, equitable doctrines such as laches are applicable in workers’ compensation litigation.”].) The Appeals Board may apply the doctrine of laches to lien claims. (Kaiser Foundation Hospitals v. Workers’ Comp. Appeals Bd. (Martin) (1985) 39 Cal.3d 57, 68, fn. 11 [50 Cal.Comp.Cases 411] [“a lien claim may be barred by laches if there is unjustifiable delay”].”

However “the affirmative defense of laches requires unreasonable delay in bringing suit ‘plus either acquiescence in the act about which plaintiff complains or prejudice to the defendant resulting from the delay.’ Prejudice is never presumed; rather it must be affirmatively demonstrated by the defendant in order to sustain his burdens of proof and the production of evidence on the issue. Generally speaking, the existence of laches is a question of fact to be determined by the trial court in light of all of the applicable circumstances…”

“It is acknowledged that there was a substantial delay between the lien claim’s filing and lien claimant’s pursuit of reimbursement. The WCJ in his Opinion on Decision and Report indicates that prejudice to defendant may be presumed by this delay. However, defendant must show that it was actually prejudiced by the delay.”

In this matter, defendant only offered two exhibits at trial to dispute the lien claim: an EAMS lien printout for the case and Elaine Taite’s deposition transcript. No witnesses were offered by defendant. The WCJ presumed that defendant’s file has been destroyed, but there is no evidence in the record to support this presumption. Moreover, defendant has not demonstrated how it was prejudiced by the delay. Consequently, the evidence does not support a finding that the lien is barred by laches.

The case was returned to the trial level for further proceedings.

Unused Portion of SJDB Voucher Expires 2 Years After Issuance

Andres Gomez was injured while working for the Vons Companies Inc. He was issued two Supplemental Job Displacement Benefit (SJDB) vouchers for two injuries that occurred on January 29, 2007 and March 3, 2007, which were issued on July 17, 2017.

$3,163.82 in unused voucher funds were returned to the employer from the program he had chosen and provided the vouchers . Gomez attempted to recover the unused benefit which the employer rejected because these two vouchers expired on July 17, 2019, two years after they were issued, even though there were unused funds left over

At trial, Gomez pointed out that that even though the vouchers were issued on July 17, 2017, he did not sign them until October 24, 2018 and that the employer then delayed eight months in releasing the voucher funds, which was done on June 13, 2019.

Nonetheless, the WCJ found, that the two Supplemental Job Displacement Benefit (SJDB) vouchers that applicant received expired two years after they were issued, and that Labor Code, section 4658.5 prohibits payment or reimbursement of unused funds after the vouchers expired.

Reconsideration was denied in the panel decision of Gomez v the Vons Companies Inc – ADJ504245-ADJ1796774 (November 2022).

Gomez contends on reconsideration that the vouchers should not be deemed expired and that instead they should be deemed “used” when he signed the vouchers and selected a retraining program.

Section 4658.5(d) provides that a “voucher issued after January 1, 2013, shall expire two years after the date the voucher is furnished to the employee or five years after the date of the injury, whichever is later.” (§ 4658.5(d).) “The employee shall not be entitled to payment or reimbursement of any expenses that have not been incurred and submitted with appropriate documentation to the employer prior to the expiration date.” (§ 4658.5(d).)

“The two vouchers here at issue for injuries dated January 29, 2007 and March 3, 2007 were issued on July 17, 2017. Per section 4658.5(d), these two vouchers expired on July 17, 2019.

“Even if, under a liberal interpretation, we toll the expiration date of the two vouchers by eight months, which was a delay that applicant suffered through no fault of his own, the tolled expiration date of the vouchers would be March 17, 2020. The welding school applicant chose for retraining returned $3,163.82 in unused voucher funds to defendant on December 31, 2020, which is after the tolled expiration date of March 17, 2020.”

“Therefore, even if we take into account the eight-month delay caused by defendant, the vouchers would still have expired by the time they were returned. Section 4658.5(d) is clear that applicant is not entitled to reimbursement of any expenses that have not been incurred and submitted prior to the expiration date. Accordingly, we deny reconsideration.”

Low Back Pain Study of 17,326 Records Has Sobering Conclusions

Currently, there are no published studies that compare non-pharmacological, pharmacological and invasive treatments for chronic low back pain in adults and provide summary statistics for benefits and harms.

A new systemic multi-center and multi-continent review of both randomized controlled studies and trial registries found that surgeons and the industry are still on the journey to successfully treating chronic non-specific low back pain without radiculopathy.

The study,Benefits and Harms of Treatments for Chronic Non-Specific Low Back Pain Without Radiculopathy: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis,was published online on November 15, 2022 in The Spine Journal.

The systematic review and meta-analysis compare the benefits (and harms) of treatments for the management of chronic low back pain without radiculopathy using the Benefit-Harm Scale: level 1 to 7. The team collected data from randomized controlled trials, including trial registries and from electronic databases up until May 23, 2022.

The outcome measures included comparison of pain at immediate-term (2 weeks or less) and short-term (greater than 2 weeks to less than or equal to 12 weeks) and serious adverse events using the Benefit-Harm Scale (level 1 to 7).

The interventions studied include non-pharmacological (acupuncture, spinal manipulation only), pharmacological, and invasive treatments compared to placebo.

Overall, 17,326 records were found. Only three studies provided data on the benefits of interventions and 30 provided data on harms. Studies included interventions of:

– – Acupuncture,
– – Manipulation,
– – Pharmacological therapies, including NSAIDS and opioid analgesics, surgery and
– – Epidural corticosteroid injections.

The researchers found:

– – Acupuncture (standardized mean difference (SMD) -0.51, 95%CI -0.88 to -0.14, n = 1 trial, moderate quality of evidence, benefit rating of 3) and
– – Manipulation (SMD -0.39 (96%CI -0.56 to -0.21, n = 2 trials, moderate quality of evidence, benefit rating of 5) effective reduced pain intensity compared to sham
– – Other treatments were scored as uncertain due to not being effective, statistical heterogeneity preventing pooling of effect sizes, or the absence of relevant trials.

The researchers reported that the harms level warnings were at the lowest for:

– – Acupuncture,
– – Spinal manipulation,
– – NSAIDs,
– – Combination ingredient opioids, and steroid injections

Harms warnings were higher for single ingredient opioid analgesics and surgery.

“There is uncertainty about the benefits and harms of all the interventions reviewed due to the lack of trials conducted in patients with chronic non-specific low back pain without radiculopathy. From the limited trials conducted, non-pharmacological interventions of acupuncture and spinal manipulation provide safer benefits than pharmacological or invasive interventions.

“However, more research is needed. There were high harms ratings for opioid and surgery.”

Blue Shield of California to Layoff 373 Staff Workers Statewide

According to a report in BizJournals, Blue Shield of California is planning a layoff of hundreds of employees across the state next month, the bulk of whom are in the Sacramento region.

A notice filed with the California Employment Development Department shows that Blue Shield of California is planning a permanent layoff of 373 employees by Jan. 25. The notice, filed pursuant to the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, (WARN) does not give a reason for the layoffs.

The planned layoffs include 126 employees at the health insurer’s El Dorado Hills campus and 24 employees at its Rancho Cordova office.

“As a nonprofit health plan, Blue Shield of California is driven by its mission to provide access to quality health care that’s sustainably affordable for all. This includes managing administrative costs, operating efficiently, and ensuring we have the right talent, skills, and capabilities in place. In a challenging economy, we have made the tough decision to reduce our staff,” the company said in a statement to the Business Journal.

According to Business Journal research, Blue Shield has around 1,500 employees working out of its El Dorado Hills campus, making it the second-largest employer in El Dorado County.

“The affected employees have been offered assistance, including staying on the job for up to 90 days while searching for a new position and skills training activities with the support of a certified professional career coach,” according to the statement from Blue Shield.

In August, Blue Shield confirmed that it had sold its El Dorado Hills buildings, at 4201-4207 Town Center Blvd., for $49.3 million, but planned to lease back half of the 244,983-square-foot complex, to better accommodate its new flexible work schedule which allowed employees to work from home part of the time.

“As a nonprofit health plan whose mission is to provide Californians access to quality health care that’s sustainably affordable, Blue Shield of California is always looking for ways to operate as efficiently as possible,” the company wrote to the Business Journal at the time. “As part of that effort Blue Shield has decided to consolidate some of its office spaces in the state, including El Dorado Hills.”

Layoffs elsewhere include 62 employees at the company’s headquarters in Oakland, 74 employees in Lodi, 63 across locations in Los Angeles and Orange counties, 16 in Redding, seven in San Diego and one in San Francisco.

The positions being eliminated include dozens of different job titles.

Blue Shield had $22.9 billion in operating revenue last year, according to its 2021 financial report, a 5% increase over the previous year. After expenses, the company earned net income of $237 million in 2021, which was down from its $680 million in net income in 2020.

Failure to Admit Medical Records Dooms Employer’s Apportionment

Patricia Harrison claimed injury to the right shoulder and neck on March 29, 2019 while employed as a child support officer II by Los Angeles County Child Support.

The parties stipulated that she had a prior industrial injury on November 30, 2011, which was resolved in March 2019 by Stipulations with Request for Award. This 2011 injury caused 41% permanent disability, 24% of which was attributed to the cervical spine.

The parties stipulated at trial to the prior award for applicant’s 2011 injury. The issues at trial included permanent disability, apportionment and the applicability of section 4664 for the prior 2011 award. Exhibits admitted at trial included two reports from applicant’s primary treating physician and three reports from Dr. Halbridge, who was the QME in the 2019 case, were offered as joint exhibits. None of the medical reporting from the prior 2011 injury were provided as evidence at trial.

Dr. Halbridge was provided with the reporting of the agreed medical evaluator (AME), Dr. Alexander Angerman, with respect to the 2011 injury. He apportioned 45% of permanent disability with regard to the cervical spine to the prior fall down the stairs at work in 2011. Ten percent (10%) of permanent disability with regard to the cervical spine was apportioned to the natural progression of multilevel cervical spondylosis.

The WCJ found that applicant’s injury to the right shoulder and neck had caused 30% permanent disability, and found that 20% of applicant’s disability for the neck was attributable to other factors. The award was affirmed in the panel decision of Harrison v. Los Angeles County Child Support. ADJ12332626 (November 2022).

On reconsideration the County of Los Angeles contends that the WCJ’s decision failed to properly address apportionment under Labor Code sections 4663 and 4664. Specifically, they contend that there must be apportionment to applicant’s prior disability award for the neck under section 4664. Alternatively, defendant contends that there must be 45% apportionment to the prior injury under section 4663.

The employer holds the burden of proof to show apportionment of permanent disability. To meet this burden, the employer must demonstrate that, based upon reasonable medical probability, there is a legal basis for apportionment. “Apportionment is a factual matter for the appeals board to determine based upon all the evidence.” (Gay v. Workers’ Comp. Appeals Bd. (1979) 96 Cal.App.3d 555, 564 [44 Cal.Comp.Cases 817)

In order to prove apportionment for a prior permanent disability award is warranted under section 4664, the employer must first prove the existence of the prior permanent disability award. Then, having established by this proof that the permanent disability on which that award was based still exists, the employer must prove the extent of the overlap, if any, between the prior disability and the current disability.

The parties stipulated at trial that there was a prior award from March 2019 for applicant’s 2011 injury. This constitutes evidence of the existence of a prior award for the cervical spine.

Overlap is not proven merely by showing that the second injury was to the same body part because the issue of overlap requires a consideration of the factors of disability or work limitations resulting from the two injuries, not merely the body part injured.

Defendant contends that although the AME for the 2011 injury rated applicant’s cervical spine impairment using the DRE method and Dr. Halbridge rated the spinal impairment using the ROM method, this is irrelevant per Hom v. City and County of San Francisco (April 15, 2020; ADJ10658104) 2020 Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. LEXIS 124

None of the medical reports from applicant’s 2011 injury were placed in evidence. The evidentiary record in this matter thus does not contain Dr. Angerman’s reporting and we are unable to compare his evaluation of impairment to Dr. Halbridge’s reporting.”

” In Hom, the AME had expressly opined that apportionment per section 4664 can be applied. In this matter, the QME Dr. Halbridge did not provide any discussion regarding how applicant’s prior permanent disability for the cervical spine overlaps with her current permanent disability for this body part. Consequently, we agree with the WCJ that defendant failed to meet its burden of proof to show overlap and apportionment per section 4664 is not warranted.”

Oregon Report Says California Has 3rd Highest Comp Rates in Nation

Beginning in 1986, the State of Oregon has analyzed workers’ compensation premium rates in all U.S. states and the District of Columbia using a methodology that controls for interjurisdictional differences in industry compositions.

The index rates are not, strictly speaking, the premium rates paid by employers in that jurisdiction; instead, they represent the degree to which the premium rates differ from one another within the group. This edition of the study analyzes premium rates effective through Jan. 1, 2022. The ten highest Index Rates in the current 2022 Oregon Workers’ Compensation Premium Rate Ranking Report are as follows:

1 (2020 Position 1) – New Jersey – Index Rate = $2.44
2 (2020 Position 5) Hawaii – Index Rate = $2.27
3 (2020 Position 4) California – Index Rate = $2.26
4 (2020 Position 2) New York – Index Rate = $2.15
5 (2020 Position 8) Louisiana – Index Rate = $2.13
6 (2020 Position 3) Vermont – Index Rate = $1.98
7 (2020 Position 26) Wyoming – Index Rate = $1.86
8 (2020 Position 11) Wisconsin – Index Rate = $1.67
9 (2020 Position 16) Maine – Index Rate = $1.67 131
10 (2020 Position 6) Connecticut – Index Rate = $1.64

There are many reasons why premium rates vary among jurisdictions: Insurers’ administrative costs are constrained by regional market forces; taxes and assessments are imposed at different rates and use different bases; and accidents and illnesses occur at varying rates as natural and random processes. This study attempts to measure the degree of this variation with a consistent and objective statistic: the premium index rate.

The national median index rate is $1.27 per $100 of payroll. This is its lowest value since the inception of the study in 1986, after peaking in 1994.

Since the first study, the range of index rates has narrowed considerably to $1.86 per $100 of payroll, from a high of $2.44 per $100 of payroll in New Jersey to a low of $0.58 per $100 of payroll in North Dakota. However, the number of states within 10 percent of the study median dropped from 21 in 2016, to 14 in 2020 and 2022.

WCIRB Publishes “Drivers of California Claim Duration” Report

The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California (WCIRB) has released Drivers of California Claim Duration report. This report describes duration drivers for California workers’ compensation claims, including how claim duration differs regionally across the state.

Average indemnity claim duration is significantly higher in California than in other states. It takes 7 years to close 90% of claims in California compared to 3 years for the median state.

Longer California claim duration is driven by four Duration Drivers:

– – California has a higher share of permanent partial disability (PPD) claims, with more than twice as many PPD claims per 100,000 employees compared to the median state. PPD claims close significantly slower than claims with temporary disability only.
– – California has a significantly higher share of cumulative trauma (CT) claims, with a proportion multiples higher than other states. CT claims are more complex, involve more legal disputes, and tend to remain open longer than specific injury claims.
– – California has a higher share of claims that involve medical-legal reports. 15% of PPD claims have four or more medical-legal reports and one-half of these claims are still open after 5 years compared to about one-tenth for PPD claims without medical-legal.
– – California claim duration differs regionally across the state. Claims in the Los Angeles Basin have longer duration as the region has more PPD and CT claims.

But, California claim duration improved significantly following the implementation of Senate Bill No. 863 in 2013. The incremental percent of open indemnity claims closed in the next year is almost 50% higher in 2019 compared to 2012

And claim closing rates declined during the pandemic in 2020 and were relatively flat in 2021. Claim closing rates are beginning to pick up again in 2022 but California remains an outlier compared to other states.

It takes longer to report and recognize indemnity claims in California. After one year, 22% of California indemnity claims are unreported which is double the comparison state median. Late reported claims typically close slower and many involve cumulative trauma injury.

Permanent partial disability (PPD) claims are more complex, more frequently litigated, and typically have longer duration than claims with only temporary disability benefits. California exhibits a much higher PPD claim frequency compared to other states. The frequency of PPD claims per 100,000 employees in California is 2.5 times the countrywide median.

Like PPD claims, claims involving a cumulative trauma (CT) injury are typically more complex, more frequently litigated, and have longer durations than non-CT claims. Compared to other workers’ compensation systems, California’s share of Carpal Tunnel indemnity claims are similar to other states. However, when comparing other cumulative natures of injury, California’s share is over five times that for other states at the second report level. These differences may be even larger at later maturities as CT claims are often filed later than non-CT claims.

Regional differences within California also drive the longer claim duration in California.Temporary-only claims in the Los Angeles Basin on average close slower than in other parts of the state. Although the closing rates for PPD claims are generally similar across California regions, the Los Angeles Basin has a significantly higher share of PPD claims (56%) compared to its share of temporary-only claims (48%).

For more details please download the Drivers of California Claim Duration report from the WCIRB website.

DIR Sends Employers Notice of More Than $1.5B in 2023 Assessments

Labor Code Sections 62.5 and 62.6 authorize the Department of Industrial Relations to assess employers for the costs of the administration of the workers’ compensation, health and safety and labor standards enforcement programs. These assessments provide a stable funding source to the support operations of the courts, to ensure safe and healthy working conditions on the job, to ensure the enforcement of labor standards and requirements for workers’ compensation coverage.

These Labor Code provision require allocation of the six assessment types between insured and self-insured employers in proportion to payroll for the most recent year available. The total amounts of the assessments for all payers for each category for the current assessments are as follows:

1) Workers’ Compensation Administration Revolving Fund Assessment (WCARF) – $ 617,034,931
2) Subsequent Injuries Benefits Trust Fund Assessment (SIBTF) – $ 430,900,000
3) Uninsured Employers Benefits Trust Fund Assessment (UEBTF) – $ 49,304,051
4) Occupational Safety and Health Fund Assessment (OSHF) – $ 195,438,707
5) Labor Enforcement and Compliance Fund Assessment (LECF) – $ 187,857,815
6) Workers’ Compensation Fraud Account Assessment (FRAUD) – $ 87,842,896

Total cost of these assessments are $1,568,378,400

All workers’ compensation insurance policies issued with an inception date during the calendar year 2023 must be assessed to recover amounts advanced on behalf of policyholders. Assessable Premium is the premium the insured is charged after all rating adjustments (experience rating, schedule rating, premium discounts, expense constants, etc.) except for adjustments resulting from the application of deductible plans, retrospective rating or the return of policyholder dividends.

City Immune from Suit for Bad Advice to Injured Police Officer

In 2004, Sean Conway, then an officer for the San Diego Police Department, sustained a work-related back injury resulting in multiple surgeries and spinal fusions.

In 2008, Sandra Claussen, a medical review officer employed by San Diego City Employees’ Retirement System (SDCERS), recommended that SDCERS’s board approve Conway’s disability retirement. SDCERS granted Conway permanent disability retirement after finding his injuries had resulted in permanent incapacity from the substantial performance of his duties.

Conway and his family moved to Idaho in 2008. The following year, he obtained a job as a jail technician, and later secured a job as a detention specialist at a juvenile detention facility.

In 2013, Conway considered applying for a position as a detention deputy in an Idaho county jail that paid $23 per hour, but became concerned that accepting this position might jeopardize his disability pension. That year, he met with Claussen to inquire whether his acceptance of the detention deputy position would jeopardize his disability pension.

Claussen told his family that the position was similar to a corrections deputy in the San Diego County Jail system run by the San Diego County Sheriff, and that since the San Diego Police Department did not staff jails, there was no comparable position with the San Diego Police Department so that Conway’s taking the Idaho position would not jeopardize his disability pension. They asked Claussen multiple times to put her assurances in writing, but she declined, telling them, “We don’t do that, but you have nothing to worry about.”

Conway took the Idaho position. Claussen intentionally concealed her assurances to plaintiffs from SDCERS, which later commenced an administrative action to have Conway’s disability retirement taken away. The Conways did not discover Claussen’s concealment until they deposed her in June 2019. That month, Conway and SDCERS participated in a hearing before a retired judge. The judge ruled in Conway’s favor and recommended his disability retirement continue. In November 2019, the SDCERS board voted to continue his disability retirement.

The Conways then sued SDCERS for intentional and negligent representation and concealment, and alleged they “incurred substantial expenses and suffered substantial emotional distress during SDCERS’ efforts to eliminate [Conway’s] disability pension.” The the trial court sustained a demurrer to the second amended complaint without leave to amend, ruling that the action was barred by Government Code sections 821.6 and 815.2. The trial court ruling was affirmed in the unpublished case of Conway v. San Diego City Employees’ Retirement System – D079355 (November 2022).

Under the Government Claims Act, a public entity is not liable for injury except as otherwise provided by statute. Government Code Section 815.6 is one of these statutes.

The intent of the act is not to expand the rights of plaintiffs in suits against governmental entities, but to confine potential governmental liability to rigidly delineated circumstances: immunity is waived only if the various requirements of the act are satisfied.

Under 815.6 the government may be liable when (1) a “mandatory duty” is imposed by enactment, (2) the duty was designed to protect against the kind of injury allegedly suffered, and (3) breach of the duty proximately caused injury.

The California Constitution’s broadly-worded duties on retirement boards to administer pension systems to assure prompt delivery of services and benefits, or to discharge duties solely in the beneficiaries’ interests and with care, skill, prudence and diligence, are not specific commands to engage in particular advice or disclosures of the sort on which plaintiffs base their claim. And none of the other provisions cited by the Conways suffice to create “mandatory duties” on SDCERS.

The lack of a showing of a “mandatory duty” to properly properly advise the Conways about their pension continuation is the missing element for the governmental immunity exception under 815.6 to apply to their claims.