MICHAEL SULLIVAN & ASSOCIATES BLOG

Your Resource for the Latest Legal News, Combined with Insights and Recommendations from Our Attorneys

Understanding the Commercial Traveler Rule

Understanding the Commercial Traveler Rule

Under the commercial traveler rule, an employee traveling on the employer's business is regarded as acting within the course of employment during the entire period of his or her travel. Workers' compensation coverage applies to the travel itself and also to other aspects of the trip reasonably necessary for the sustenance, comfort and safety of the employee. But the commercial traveler rule does not cover all of an employee's activities. Personal activity not contemplated by the employer might constitute a material departure from the course of employment. (Latourette v. Workers' Comp. Appeals Bd. (1998) 17 Cal. 4th 644, 652.)

WCAB Issues En Banc Decision
Regarding Application of Kite

WCAB Issues En Banc Decision
Regarding Application of Kite

In 2013, the WCAB held in Athens Administrators v. WCAB (Kite) that an injured worker's disabilities are not required to be combined using the Combined Values Chart (CVC). The WCAB explained that although the AMA guides favor the combined values method, "physicians may, under certain circumstances, employ a different method of determining impairment if they remain within the four corners of the AMA Guides."

For more than 10 years, Kite became shorthand for combining disabilities by simple addition. Although the case is not binding, such addition is a common method accepted for combining an injured worker's disabilities. Over the years, many cases have applied Kite, but none of the cases was binding nor did any fully elaborate on the circumstances when disabilities could be combined by addition, rather than by using the CVC. The cases also largely depended on how well the physicians explained their opinions.

May 2024 Rhino Round-Up

May 2024 Rhino Round-Up

It’s the May Rhino Round-Up!

We had a blast at the CAHR and CSIA Conferences, as well as the PARMA Spring Education event, connecting with industry leaders and sharing insights. One of the highlights? A fantastic happy hour at Rise Rooftop Lounge during the CAHR Conference, filled with great conversations and stunning views.

If you'd like to join MS&A at one of our upcoming events, just follow us on one of our social media channels--we're on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and X. We'd love to have you attend one of our events!

Richard “Jake” Jacobsmeyer Joins MS&A to Enhance Workers’ Comp Practice

Richard “Jake” Jacobsmeyer Joins MS&A to Enhance Workers’ Comp Practice
Richard Jacobsmeyer

Michael Sullivan & Associates LLP (MS&A) announced today that Richard “Jake” Jacobsmeyer has joined the firm in its Workers’ Compensation Practice. Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Jacobsmeyer was a partner at Shaw, Jacobsmeyer, Crain & Claffey.

“We’re delighted to welcome Jake to the firm,” said Megan Sullivan, Senior Partner at MS&A. “Jake's presence at MS&A significantly enhances the level of service we provide to our clients, as he is a brilliant attorney and educator. We are lucky to add his extensive experience to bolster the capabilities to our firm.”

Pictures from PIHRA's 2024 CAHR Conference!

Pictures from PIHRA's 2024 CAHR Conference!

What an amazing time at PIHRA's 2024 CAHR Conference! From co-hosting a vibrant happy hour with Lockton at Rise Rooftop Lounge, to our Managing Partner Eric De Wames leading an insightful session on the future of AI in HR, and our buzzing booth at the event, we loved every moment. Thanks to everyone who joined us!

If you'd like to join MS&A at one of our upcoming events, just follow us on one of our social media channels--we're on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and X. We'd love to have you attend one of our events!

The Initial Physical Aggressor Defense Under LC 3600(a)(7)

The Initial Physical Aggressor Defense Under LC 3600(a)(7)

Labor Code § 3600(a)(7) establishes the initial physical aggressor defense. It explains that a claim is not compensable when the injury arises "out of an altercation in which the injured employee is the initial physical aggressor." That defense embodies the legislative intent to exclude from compensation those who introduce violence into the workplace.

The types of behavior that are barred under the statute were defined in the seminal case of Mathews v. WCAB (1972) 6 Cal. 3d 719, in which the Supreme Court explained that former LC 3600(g), now LC 3600(a)(7), applies when two conditions are present. One, the injury must "arise out of an altercation." Two, the injured employee must be the "initial physical aggressor" in the altercation.

April 2024 Rhino Round-Up

April 2024 Rhino Round-Up

Dive into the April Rhino Round-up! April was buzzing with activity as MS&A hit the ground running at CASBO, CalSHRM, and EWC conferences, not to mention the memorable moments at PIWC's crab feed!

If you'd like to join MS&A at one of our upcoming events, just follow us on one of our social media channels--we're on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and X. We'd love to have you attend one of our events!

Pictures from the CalSHRM Conference in Sacramento!

Pictures from the CalSHRM Conference in Sacramento!

What an unforgettable time we had at the CalSHRM Conference in Sacramento last week! Whether at Eric and Tara's insightful Return to Work presentation, our lively happy hour at the Sheraton Grand, or the MS&A booth, it was wonderful to connect with all of you!

If you'd like to join MS&A at one of our upcoming events, just follow us on one of our social media channels--we're on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and X. We'd love to have you attend one of our events!