Provigo Corp. and Aetna Life & Surety Co. v. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board

A technician had worked for Provigo Corp. for 10 years before leaving the company in 1992 and filing for permanent disability, claiming that he suffered from breathing problems caused by exposure to environmental tobacco smoke up to 1987.  The company banned smoking in its offices in 1988.  In 1994, a workers’ compensation judge awarded a permanent disability of 5.75% after ruling that Aetna had waived insurance coverage and statute of limitations issues by not raising them in a timely manner.  The Appeals Board adopted the judge’s findings and denied Aetna’s motion for reconsideration.  The California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, annulled and remanded the Board’s decision, saying that Aetna had not waived coverage and statute of limitations defenses because it did not realize the defenses could be raised until the judge modified the date of injury without notice to the parties.

No. A068748 (CA Ct. App., 1st App. Dist., Div. Five 1995).