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State Farm General Insurance Co. v. Workers' Compensation Appeals Board

California Court of Appeals, Second District, Sixth Division

July 1, 2013

STATE FARM GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY, Petitioner,
v.
WORKERS' COMPENSATION APPEALS BOARD, CALIFORNIA INSURANCE GUARANTEE ASSOCIATION et al., Respondents.

Ordered Filed Dated 8/13/13

Pub Order 7/25/13 attached

Proceeding to review a decision of the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board, Nos. ADJ4684775, ADJ4381820, ADJ7684775 Annulled and remanded with directions.

Finnegan, Marks, Theofel & Desmond, Ellen Sims Langille, for petitioner State Farm General Insurance Company.

Guilford Steiner Sarvas & Carbonara, Richard E. Guilford; Floyd, Skeren & Kelly, James K. Lowery, for respondent California Insurance Guarantee Association.

No appearance for respondent Workers' Compensation Appeals Board.

ORDER MODIFYING OPINION

THE COURT:

The opinion filed herein on July 1, 2013, shall be modified as follows:

On page 12, footnote 5 shall be deleted in its entirety, which will require renumbering of all subsequent footnotes.

[There is no change in the judgment.]

PERREN, J.

Labor Code section 5950 provides that any person aggrieved by a final order, decision, or award of the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) may, within the prescribed time limit, apply to the Court of Appeal for a writ of review. Appellate review is limited to final orders that affect a substantial right or liability of a party. (Duncan v. Workers' Comp. Appeals Bd. (2008) 166 Cal.App.4th 294, 299.) The failure of an aggrieved party to seek judicial review of a final order of the WCAB bars later challenge to the propriety of the order or decision before either the WCAB or the court. (Maranian v. Workers' Comp. Appeals Bd. (2000) 81 Cal.App.4th 1068, 1075-1076 (Maranian); see also Safeway Stores, Inc. v. Workers' Comp. Appeals Bd. (1980) 104 Cal.App.3d 528, 532-535.)

This petition for writ of review challenges the WCAB's decision allowing California Insurance Guarantee Association (CIGA) to pursue a claim for reimbursement against State Farm General Insurance Company (State Farm), after the WCAB had previously rejected the claim and CIGA had failed to timely seek judicial review. We conclude that CIGA's claim is barred by principles of res judicata. We annul the WCAB's decision and remand for further proceedings.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On June 8, 1999, and January 20, 2000, Joanne Lutz (applicant) was injured while working as a personal assistant to Linda McDonald, President of Roto Rooter (aka Russell Warner, Inc.). The applicant was on Roto Rooter's payroll at the time. During 1999 and 2000, Roto Rooter was insured for workers' compensation by Fremont Compensation Insurance Company and Paula Insurance Company, respectively. Linda McDonald and her homeowner's insurance carrier, State Farm, were joined as additional parties to the applicant's claim.

In February of 2002, at a mandatory settlement conference, the parties disputed the issues of employment and which insurance carrier should be responsible for coverage of the applicant's claim, i.e., whether the applicant was working as a domestic employee of McDonald at the time of her injuries such that State Farm ...


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