Wednesday, October 24, 2012


A recent Court of Appeals decision, Joy v. Department of Labor and Industries, held that as a matter of law, an injured worker is unable to obtain medical procedures that are precluded by the Health Technology Clinical Committee (HTCC).  The HTCC is a committee of 11 practicing health care professionals who review scientific, evidence based reports about whether certain medical devices, procedures and tests are safe and work as promoted.  The HTCC determines whether certain types of treatment will be covered under a State purchased health care program, regardless of the individual facts and circumstances.  This includes workers compensation claims.  Read a review of their health technology assessment findings here.

In the Joy case, the injured worker sought review of a decision of the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals to deny payments for a spinal cord stimulator to treat her workplace neck injury.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Dear Clients:

Our general election ballots are set to be mailed soon for the November election.  We want to take a moment as your counsel to share our recommendations with you on the most important contests on your ballot. 

The open seat on the Supreme Court is Position Nine.  This is an open seat, vacated by Justice Tom Chambers, who was a champion for the rule of law and citizens’ rights. The final two candidates both have good records on civil justice. However, I want to recommend that you join us in voting for Sheryl McCloud.

Sheryl McCloud is a true champion of individual rights, and true believer in Constitutional rights, and we believe will fight hard for many years to come to protect those rights for all of us.  She has received a huge range of endorsements, from organizations and newspapers across the political spectrum. We urge you to support Sheryl.

We want to share our views on two statewide offices of great importance to citizens and civil justice: Governor and Attorney General.   In the Governor’s race, Jay Inslee is the clear civil justice candidate. Prior to public office, Jay was a prosecutor and then an attorney representing injured persons as a lawyer in Selah and Yakima. He then began a long career of public service where he has diligently protected citizens’ constitutional and civil rights, and has been a champion of worker and consumer protections.

In contrast, his opponent Rob McKenna has fought to remove or reduce citizens’ ability to hold government accountable through the court system. His first request legislation as Attorney General would have taken away right to hold the government or any government contractor accountable - whether from poisoned food in schools, faulty bridge construction, or any other of the most reckless or careless acts that lead to serious injury and death.  He wants to let private insurance companies provide workers’ compensation, even though every county in the state voted against Initiative 1082, which would have allowed that.

We strongly support Jay Inslee as the candidate to protect our rights and our civil justice system, and we respectfully suggest that this is the most important race for protecting our civil justice system this year.

The second race is for Attorney General. The Attorney General is the chief legal officer for the State of Washington and its citizens, and 95% of the office’s job is representing the state in civil cases. We believe it is necessary that the Attorney General believe in a government accountable to the protection of its citizenry and who shares a commitment to going after the powerful special interests that harm the public by abusing our laws.

We strongly recommend Bob Ferguson for this job. Bob is a lawyer and King County Councilman, who has committed his campaign to protecting public safety, going after fraudulent actors like mortgage lenders and servicers, prosecuting polluters, and protecting taxpayers against fraud and abuse. Bob would be a champion for us all as Attorney General.

We hope you have found this information helpful. We are sharing our views because of the strong belief and commitment in our office, that every client who walks in our door seeking a chance for justice through the court system should have a fair shot. We depend on these public servants to make sure our rights are protected. The outcome of this year’s election will have a huge impact on our rights and our civil justice system. These candidates will fight to protect all of our rights.

Please, feel free to share this, if you think it’s helpful, with family and friends. Regardless of your views on these races, though, please make sure you vote on or before November 6th.  We owe it to each other to participate and have our voice heard in our electoral process.

Please feel free to ask us if you have any further questions, and if you need more information, you can view the voters’ guide online at:

Thank you for your time and consideration, and for taking part in our democratic process.

Wayne L. Williams
Douglas P. Wyckoff
Dane D. Ostrander


All parties have the same appeal rights.  Any party (employer or injured worker) can appeal an Order from the Department of Labor and Industries (Department) to the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals (Board.)  This is a general outline of the definitions and procedures which govern these appeals.

The Board is a state agency which is separate from the Department of Labor and Industries.  The Board’s only job is to hear appeals from decisions of the Department.  The Board is composed of three members, one a representative of business, one a representative of labor, and one who is the chairperson.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


I was fortunate to be able to go on a couple of weeks of safari in Africa, recently.  I found that, like most everything else, the sights, sounds and animals in Africa are much more stirring and impressive in person than they are in photographs or on television.

Having had a chance to look a wild lion in the eyes from very close range, I now understand why impalas have large ears, big eyes and are willing to start running at the drop of a hat.  I imagine the lion looks upon the impala somewhat like a self-insured employer’s attorney looks at an un-represented claimant.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


The Department’s Stay at Work Program - A new program to help employers keep injured workers on the job - pays half the wage plus expenses.

The Department of Labor and Industries’ Stay at Work program provides a strong financial incentive for employers to offer medically approved light duty jobs. The Department will reimburse the employer for 50% of the base wages, for up to 66 work days, with a maximum amount of $10,000.  The Department will also reimburse employers for expenses designed to assist the worker’s return to work, including the cost of necessary training, tools or clothing.  To obtain reimbursement, the employer must create a job description outlining the job duties and physical demands and provide it to your doctor.