Is the San Bernardino County Employees’ Retirement Association (SBCERA)
“Expedited hearing procedure” a good idea?
No! We were recently asked to file a Superior Court appeal on behalf of an employee who lost her SBCERA case using the “Expedited Hearing Procedure.” We declined. The record she made was pathetically inadequate to allow any winning argument on her behalf.
In return for a quick decision, a SBCERA member must sign an agreement waiving a long list of rights including the following:
“I understand and hereby waive the right; to preempt the first hearing officer assigned to my case; to have a formal hearing with the right to call witnesses and cross examine witnesses; and, to personally appear before the hearing officer.”
If you have a disability case that you care about winning, here are some of the reasons why you should not use the SBCERA “Expedited Hearing Procedure:”
•Your case is going to be ruled on by a hearing officer who is selected and paid for by your opponent, the SBCERA.
•You are advised that you will be unable to submit factual or legal arguments from an attorney.
•You will not be able to cross‑examine the SBCERA’s Medical Advisor whose reports are often filled with factual errors, incorrect legal theories, and biased remarks about your physician(s) and workers’ compensation attorney.
If you use the Expedited Hearing Procedure, it is unlikely that you will find an attorney to take your case to a higher court if you lose. Once you have committed to the “Expedited Hearing Procedure,” you have effectively waived your right to judicial review.
As long as the SBCERA insists on using a biased medical advisor, unilaterally selecting and paying its hearing officers, refusing to use Agreed Medical Examiners, using instead defense-industry doctors as its “panel of physicians,” you might as well “throw in the towel” before using the “Expedited Hearing Procedure.”
Pasadena Office 301 E. Colorado Blvd., #600 Pasadena, CA 91101