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May 26, 2010

STATE BAR ASSOCIATION ANNOUNCES OPPOSITION TO "MANAGED ADJUDICATION PATH" PROGRAM

Proposed Workers Compensation Board Initiative Would Limit Due Process Hearing Rights of Workers and Employers

The New York State Bar Association today announced its opposition to the Managed Adjudication Path (MAP) program currently being proposed by the New York State Workers' Compensation Board, arguing that the initiative would severely limit due process rights traditionally afforded to workers, employers and insurance companies in workers' compensation claims.

The issue of settling disputes outside the Law Judge Hearing Process has been closely monitored by the Workers' Compensation Law Division of the State Bar's Torts, Insurance and Compensation Law Section, chaired by Christopher Lemire, Esq. (Lemire Johnson LLC of Malta). Members of the section division expressed their concerns and opposition to representatives of the Workers' Compensation Board at a recent section division meeting in Albany. A webinar describing the Managed Adjudication Path program hosted earlier this month by the Board erroneously suggested the division and the State Bar were in favor of the MAP program.

The implementation of the MAP program will divert an undetermined number of cases with disputed issues away from Law Judge Hearings to an informal process that allows decisions to be issued without notice to or appearance by the involved parties, without the benefit of legal counsel, and without any development of the record.

"The MAP program represents a major departure from the Board's longstanding practice of resolving disputed issues through adjudicatory hearings. Simply put, it would erode the due process rights of injured workers and employers," said State Bar Association President Michael E. Getnick (Getnick Livingston Atkinson & Priore, LLP of Utica and of counsel to Getnick & Getnick of New York City). "The rights of both injured workers and employers will be protected, and the timely resolution of disputed issues accomplished, only by affording both parties a prompt hearing before a Law Judge. The State Bar Association continues to urge the Board to remove this proposal and work toward what should be the common goal of achieving efficiency with justice."

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Founded in 1876, the 77,000-member New York State Bar Association is the official statewide organization of lawyers in New York and the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. The State Bar's programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years. For more information, visit us at our Web site at www.nysba.org.