(a) All cases involving the Uninsured Employers Fund or the Subsequent Injuries Fund as a party or involving death without dependents shall only be heard for conference, mandatory settlement conference pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 5502, standby conference, or rating calendar at the district Workers' Compensation Appeals Board located in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Van Nuys, Anaheim, Sacramento, or San Diego, except for good cause shown and with the consent of the director. This subdivision shall not apply to trials or hearings pursuant to Section 5309 or to expedited hearings pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 5502.
(b) For the cases specified in subdivision (a), the presiding judge of the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board located in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Van Nuys, Anaheim, Sacramento, or San Diego shall have the authority, either by standing order or on a case-by-case basis, to order a conference, mandatory settlement conference pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 5602, standby conference, or rating calendar in which no testimony will be taken to be conducted by telephone conference call among the parties and their attorneys of record who do not reside in the county in which that appeals board is located. The cost of the scheduling of the conference call shall be charged against the appropriate fund of the department.
(c) Any filings of documents necessary for the proceedings specified in subdivisions (a) and (b) may be served on the appeals board and the parties by facsimile machine, but if so served, within five workings days service shall be made on the appeals board and the parties as required by regulation.
(d) This section shall remain in effect for two years commencing on the date that the administrative director certifies and publishes that the rearrangement of judicial resources required by this section, and conference call facilities required for this section are in place. The certification shall be published in the California Notice Register, but shall be required to have been posted in the office of each appeals board at least 30 days prior to that publication. Notwithstanding this section, with the permission of the presiding judge and under standards set by the administrative director, parties may be permitted to conclude existing cases where they were filed. This section shall cease to be operative at the end of that two-year period, and shall be repealed on January 1 following that date.
(Added by Stats. 1992, Ch. 611, Sec. 1.)