Copyright © 2013 Use of this website subject to Terms and Conditions7041 Koll Center Parkway Suite 290 Pleasanton, CA 94566
Toll Free: 800-772-8998 Fax: 925-484-6014
Governor Jerry Brown’s website this week announced the appointment to the W.C.A.B. of Marguerite Sweeney, a widely respected applicant’s attorney from Northern California. Ms. Sweeney joins the W.C.A.B. as former Commissioner Joseph Miller departs at the end of his term earlier this month. The new appointment still leaves the W.C.A.B. short 2 members but is at least an optimistic sign that the Governor is aware of the need for appointments to the remaining open seats.
Ms. Sweeney has been an attorney since 1978 practicing in the Redding area for most of her career. She is best known for her work representing the applicant in Sandhagen v W.C.A.B., a case in which she convinced the California Supreme Court to limit employer’s ability to challenge requests for authorization to Utilization Review under Labor Code § 4610. She persevered in pursing that issue after an adverse W.C.A.B. en banc decision and an adverse Court of Appeals decision. Her skill and effort earned her the award as applicant attorney as Applicant Attorney of the year from the State Bar Workers’ Compensation Section in 2007.
Commissioners serve 6 year terms and require Senate approval. Sweeney can serve for up to a year waiting for Senate approval but will likely not have to wait that long. Her nomination is likely to be viewed favorable by both applicant and defense bars as she is widely respected and liked on both sides of the fence. While viewed as a passionate advocate on behalf of her clients, she has made her points through careful and thoughtful legal arguments presented in graceful yet firm manner, traits that should serve her well in her new position.
"On a personal note, I can say I have known and admired Marguerite for close to 30 years starting when we served together for several terms on the Northern California Board of Governors of CAAA in our formative years as young applicant attorneys,” said Jake Jacobsmeyer, Shaw, Jacobsmeyer, Crain & Claffey PC, an expert in workers’ compensation law, in a recent memo to clients and colleagues including IBA West.
“Marguerite was always perceived as an advocate who looked for balance and rationality to evaluating issues and in her approach to the law. She was always willing to engage in discussion, firm in her own position but respectful of other’s issues.
"I cannot imagine a better choice for the W.C.A.B. in terms of knowledge, integrity and passion for workers’ compensation. I do not expect her to agree with my clients, or me, on all issues, but we will all know we have been heard and our concerns considered. She is certainly a welcome addition to an already hardworking, knowledgeable, but shorthanded W.C.A.B.”