King v. CompPartners, Inc., 2018 WL 4017874 (Cal. S. Ct. 2018)

Two physician-utilization reviewers acting on behalf of Kirk King’s employer determined that a treatment that had been recommended for King (an employee who had suffered an injury covered by workers’ compensation) was not “medically necessary” and decertified the prescription without providing for a weaning regimen.  Upon being denied the prescription, King suffered a series of four seizures as a result.  King and his wife sued the doctors and the utilization review company (CompPartners) for negligence and related claims.  The defendants filed a demurrer in response, contending that the Workers’ Compensation Act (“WCA”) provided the exclusive remedy for King and his wife and that in any case the doctors did not owe a duty of care to King.  The trial court agreed and sustained the demurrer without leave to amend.  The Court of Appeal affirmed, but determined that the Kings should have an opportunity to amend their complaint to allege more facts about the duty of care owed to them by the physicians.  The California Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal based upon the exclusivity of remedy of the WCA but also held that the Kings should not be permitted to amend their complaint to attempt to state a failure-to-warn claim.  See also Tripplett v. WCAB, 25 Cal. App. 5th 556 (2018) (former Indianapolis Colts professional football player was not hired in or significantly connected to California and so was not entitled to WCAB benefits); California Dep’t of Indus. Relations v. California Occupational Safety & Health Appeals, 26 Cal. App. 5th 93 (2018) (heat illness prevention standards may apply to interior of non-air-conditioned buses).