California Labor Codes 5500.5
§ 5500.5 Employers liable for cumulative trauma
|(a) Except as otherwise provided in Section 5500.6, liability for occupational disease or cumulative injury claims filed or asserted on or after January 1, 1978, shall be limited to those employers who employed the employee during a period of four years immediately preceding either the date of injury, as determined pursuant to Section 5412, or the last date on which the employee was employed in an occupation exposing him or her to the hazards of the occupational disease or cumulative injury, whichever occurs first. Commencing January 1, 1979, and thereafter on the first day of January for each of the next two years, the liability period for occupational disease or cumulative injury shall be decreased by one year so that liability is limited in the following manner:
For claims filed or asserted on or after:
The period shall be:
January 1, 1979 ..................... three years
January 1, 1980 ..................... two years
January 1, 1981 and thereafter ...... one year
(b) Where a claim for compensation benefits is made on account of an occupational disease or cumulative injury which may have arisen out of more than one employment, the application shall state the names and addresses of all employers liable under subdivision (a), the places of employment, and the approximate periods of employment where the employee was exposed to the hazards of the occupational disease or cumulative injury. If the application is not so prepared or omits necessary and proper employers, any interested party, at or prior to the first hearing, may request the appeals board to join as defendant any necessary or proper party. If the request is made prior to the first hearing on the application, the appeals board shall forthwith join the employer as a party defendant and cause a copy of the application together with a notice of the time and place of hearing to be served upon the omitted employer; provided, the notice can be given within the time specified in this division. If the notice cannot be timely given or if the motion for joinder is made at the time of the first hearing, then the appeals board or the workers' compensation judge before whom the hearing is held, if it is found that the omitted employer named is a necessary or proper party, may order a joinder of the party and continue the hearing so that proper notice may be given to the party or parties so joined. Only one continuance shall be allowed for the purpose of joining additional parties. Subsequent to the first hearing the appeals board shall join as a party defendant any additional employer when it appears that the employer is a proper party, but the liability of the employer shall not be determined until supplemental proceedings are instituted.
(c) In any case involving a claim of occupational disease or cumulative injury occurring as a result of more than one employment within the appropriate time period set forth in subdivision (a), the employee making the claim, or his or her dependents, may elect to proceed against any one or more of the employers. Where such an election is made, the employee must successfully prove his or her claim against any one of the employers named, and any award which the appeals board shall issue awarding compensation benefits shall be a joint and several award as against any two or more employers who may be held liable for compensation benefits. If, during the pendency of any claim wherein the employee or his or her dependents has made an election to proceed against one or more employers, it should appear that there is another proper party not yet joined, the additional party shall be joined as a defendant by the appeals board on the motion of any party in interest, but the liability of the employer shall not be determined until supplemental proceedings are instituted. Any employer joined as a defendant subsequent to the first hearing or subsequent to the election provided herein shall not be entitled to participate in any of the proceedings prior to the appeal board's final decision, nor to any continuance or further proceedings, but may be permitted to ascertain from the employee or his or her dependents such information as will enable the employer to determine the time, place, and duration of the alleged employment. On supplemental proceedings, however, the right of the employer to full and complete examination or cross-examination shall not be restricted.
- (A) The sale constitutes a material change in ownership of such work location.
- (B) The person or entity making the purchase continues the operation of the work location.
- (C) The person or entity becomes the employer of substantially all of the employees of the employer-seller.
- (D) The agreement of sale makes no special provision for the allocation of liabilities for workers' compensation between the buyer and the seller.
(2) For purposes of this subdivision:
- (A) 'Work location' shall mean any fixed place of business, office, or plant where employees regularly work in the trade or business of the employer.
- (B) A 'material change in ownership' shall mean a change in ownership whereby the employer-seller does not retain, directly or indirectly, through one or more corporate entities, associations, trusts, partnerships, joint ventures, or family members, a controlling interest in the work location.
(3) This subdivision shall have no force or effect on or after January 1, 1986, unless otherwise extended by the Legislature prior to that date, and it shall not have any force or effect as respects an employee who, subsequent to the sale described in paragraph (1) and prior to the date of his or her application for compensation benefits has been filed, is transferred to a different work location by the employer-buyer.
(4) If any provision of this subdivision or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of this subdivision which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this subdivision are severable.
(1) All employers whose underground metal mining operations resulted in a silicotic exposure during the period of the employee's employment in those operations shall be jointly and severally liable for the payment of compensation and of medical, surgical, legal and hospital expense which may be awarded to the employee or his or her estate or dependents as the result of disability or death resulting from or aggravated by the exposure.
(2) In making its determination in the supplemental proceeding for the purpose of determining an apportionment of liability or of a right of contribution of percentage liabilities of the various employers engaged in underground metal mining operations the appeals board shall consider as a rebuttal presumption that employment in underground work in any mine for a continuous period of more than three calendar months will result in a silicotic exposure for the employee so employed during the period of employment if the underground metal mine was driven or sunk in rock having a composition which will result in dissemination of silica or silicotic dust particles when drilled, blasted, or transported.
(h) The amendments to this section adopted at the 1959 Regular Session of the Legislature shall operate retroactively, and shall apply retrospectively to any cases pending before the appeals board or courts. From and after the date this section becomes effective no payment shall be made out of the fund used for payment of the additional compensation provided for in Section 4751, or out of any other state funds, in satisfaction of any liability heretofore incurred or hereafter incurred, except awards which have become final without regard to the continuing jurisdiction of the appeals board on that effective date, and the state and its funds shall be without liability therefor. This subdivision shall not in any way effect a reduction in any benefit conferred or which may be conferred upon any injured employee or his dependents.
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