Sweeney Appointed to California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board

Applicant attorney Marguerite Sweeney is getting a seat on the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB). A well respected applicant attorney, Sweeney successfully argued on behalf of injured worker Brice Sandhagen in a pivotal case before the California Supreme Court (State Compensation Insurance Fund v. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board and Brice Sandhagen).

An important case in terms of timely medical treatment denials, the Supreme Court ruled in Sandhagen that payors who wish to challenge medical treatment must do so through the utilization review process outlined in section 4610. The decision denied State Compensation Insurance Fund a “second bit of the apple”, when it ruled that the carrier could not use another code section to challenge medical treatment. Sweeney, at the time, said the decision should be a “big help” in reducing treatment delays and provided crucial guidance for employers and carriers.

The legal community is very excited about the appointment. Both applicant and defense attorneys have a high opinion of Sweeney.

“She’s one of the nicest people and very practical. She doesn’t shoot from the hip. She spends a lot of time looking at the legal issues,” says applicant attorney Linda Atcherley. “She’s a good addition to the mix up there. I think she’s a great choice.”

Former chairman of WCAB, the Honorable Judge Doug Moore, says Sweeney’s appointment is an inspired choice.

“That’s very encouraging. She’s a straight shooter. That’s terrific,” Moore says. He notes that he observed her presentation of oral arguments during the Sandhagen case and was impressed.

Sweeney has been the principal attorney at the Law Office of Marguerite Sweeney since 1990. She was an attorney at Sweeney and Sweeney from 1982 to 1989 and an associate attorney at Baker Cornell and Baumbach from 1979 to 1982. She is a member of the California Applicants Attorney Association and the Redding Chamber of Commerce. Sweeney earned her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Davis and her Juris Doctorate degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. The position requires Senate confirmation.

With Sweeney’s appointment, WCAB is still short two commissioners. Former commissioner and chair Joe Miller was not reappointed and he officially left the Board earlier this month.

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