Ogilvie Workers' Compensation Case Likely to Be Delayed

The Workers Comp Executive reported the following story this week regarding a likely delay in oral arguments in the pending appeal of the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board's (WCAB) en banc decision in Ogilvie after the defense's lead counsel switches sides. San Francisco Deputy City Attorney Peter Scherr abruptly resigned his position with the city to accept a position in the private sector with the Law Offices of Joseph Waxman…the firm representing injured worker Wanda Ogilvie in the case, reported the WC Executive. 

"Mr. Scherr had been the lead attorney for the City in this matter from its inception and had prepared and filed all of the City's motions before the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board, and all of the City's appellate briefs before this court. Mr. Scherr was also the only attorney who participated on behalf of the City in Amicus Committee conferences regarding this matter," Deputy city attorney Dyana Lechuga noted in a letter to the First District Court of Appeal.

It's asking the court to delay arguments until June at least while it brings a new attorney up to speed. After months of waiting the court had finally set oral arguments for April 13.

Lechuga says Deputy City Attorney Danny Chou will have to get up to speed on the matter before he can be expected to argue the case, but things are complicated. Chou is currently out on parental leave and won't be back in the office until mid-April. And immediately after that he is scheduled to take part in a federal class action immediately thereafter, hence the request for the extended delay.

In addition to the delay, the city is also considering what to do about opposing counsel Joseph Waxman who now has direct access to all of the city's legal strategy and planning.

"[T]he City is also evaluating whether it intends on filing a Motion to Disqualify Joseph Waxman from continuing to represent Wanda Ogilvie in light of Mr. Scherr's unexpected resignation from the Office of the City Attorney in order to accept a partnership with Mr. Waxman," Lechuga added in the letter. That decision is still pending.