Monday, April 29, 2013

Court of Appeal: 1-year POBR Statute of Limitations Does Not Apply to Work Comp Fraud Cases

In California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation v. State Personnel Board (April 26, 2013) 2013 WL 1777118, the Court of Appeal ruled workers' compensation fraud investigations are exempt from the one-year limitations period established in section 3304 of POBR.  The Court rejected the argument that the investigation has to be conducted by an outside agency for the exception to apply.

There are several exceptions to the 1-year statute of limitations for IAs under POBR.  The statute says the statute of limitations is tolled when the alleged "misconduct is also the subject of a criminal investigation or criminal prosecution," when the officer waives the statute of limitations, if the investigation is multi-jurisdictional and reasonable extension is required, if multiple officers are subjects and a reasonable extension is required, if the officer is incapacitated, and if the officer is a defendant in a lawsuit about the same issue.

There is also an exception If the investigation involves an allegation of workers' compensation fraud on the part of the public safety officer."  In this case, an officer was disciplined for alleged workers' comp fraud and dishonesty in the investigation of the alleged fraud.  He argued this exception only applied when the fraud investigation was done by an outside agency.  The Court disagreed, finding the plain language of the statue did not contain that limitation.