In an act of indecisiveness, the Commissioner of the Department of Workers’ Claims has withdrawn recently proposed amendments to the “Practice Regulations” embodied under 803 KAR 25:010. A hearing date was originally set, but just weeks before that hearing the proposed regulations were withdrawn and the hearing was canceled.
There has been no particular indication as to why the proposed amendments were withdrawn, but in all likelihood their withdrawal was the direct result of a mild uprising in the workers’ compensation community relative to some of the more burdensome proposals.
The proposed changes did set forth a variety of common sense and worthwhile proposals such as the authorization of the exchange of pleadings between parties by electronic means and indexing requirements for the filing of voluminous medical records.
Perhaps one of the more controversial and peculiar proposals related to a new requirement that all parties file a “Notice of Disclosure.” This notice of disclosure would have been in large part duplicative of other pleadings already required under the regulations. The Notice of Disclosure required a list of all intended witnesses with identification of any contested issues they would be expected to address, along with the date of any examination to be conducted or deposition to be given. In the case of medical witnesses, a list of all medical conditions treated was to be provided.
The plaintiff would also have been required to support his allegation of educational background with the listing of the diplomas, certificates or degrees obtained as well as the nature of the diplomas, certificates or degrees and when they were obtained.
In addition, parties would have been required to provide a listing of all contested issues “with specificity,” and the proposed regulation would have prohibited an amendment of those contested issues without a motion establishing good cause for the amendment. Penalties were also provided for in the event a contested issue was listed “without reasonable ground.” The proposed regulations further provided for at least four additional areas of disclosure relative to litigation of the claim.
Many critics of this proposal felt this pleading would have duplicated information already set forth in the form 101, the form 111, and in the parties witness list and stipulations and as such would have placed an undue and uncessary burden upon the parties.
The proposed regulations also included severe and burdensome limitations on a party’s ability to receive extensions of time in instances where intended proof could not be obtained within the originally prescribed proof times, although the proposed regulations would have allowed for an expanded proof schedule.
There has been no announcement by the Department of Workers’ Claims as to whether the proposed regulations will be amended and resubmitted for hearing.