Hearing Requests


TO: Commissioners, District Administrators, Self-Insureds, Insurance Carriers, Attorneys, Unions, and Advisory Board Members
FROM: John A. Mastropietro, Chairman
DATE: May 28, 2002
RE: Hearing Requests


As you may be aware, during the last calendar year the Commission has conducted just slightly over 44,000 hearings. As all of you know, a great many of them were unnecessary. I have attempted in the past to urge each of you to discuss cases prior to requesting hearings and have further requested that you ensure that the hearings were not requested until information that you needed for the hearing was actually received. In too many instances, hearings have been requested on the hope that the necessary documentation (medical reports, etc.) would be received by the time the hearing date arrived, just to find that it was not received.

You may also recall that we have instituted a policy to ensure that a first hearing is held within four weeks of the date it was requested. Our records indicate that we are experiencing a cancellation rate of approximately 40% for those hearings scheduled within four weeks due to either the unavailability of documents needed or last minute conversations with opposing parties. The overwhelming majority of these cancellations come at a time that prevents us from rescheduling cases to fill the cancelled time slots.

In an effort to alleviate this continuing and growing problem, the paralegals in our district offices have been instructed to contact your office to clarify issues to be discussed and to determine whether the appropriate documentation necessary to conduct the hearing has been obtained. It is essential that you cooperate with our paralegals' inquiries, or docketing of your matters will be severely compromised.

If indeed each of the respective parties develops the appropriate degree of cooperation in conjunction with the Workers' Compensation Commission, all will benefit and an enormous amount of wasted time will be prevented. Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation.