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"At the mandatory settlement conference, the referee or workers’ compensation administrative law judge shall have the authority to resolve the dispute, including the authority to approve a compromise and release or issue a stipulated finding and award, and if the dispute cannot be resolved, to frame the issues and stipulations for trial." LC §5502(d)(2).

"If the claim is not resolved at the mandatory settlement conference, the parties shall file a pretrial conference statement noting the specific issues in dispute, each party’s proposed permanent disability rating, and listing the exhibits, and disclosing witnesses. Discovery shall close on the date of the mandatory settlement conference. Evidence not disclosed or obtained thereafter shall not be admissible unless the proponent of the evidence can demonstrate that it was not available or could not have been discovered by the exercise of due diligence prior to the settlement conference." LC §5502(d)(3).

Labor Code §5814(c) further provides: "Upon the submission of any issue for determination at a regular trial hearing, it shall be conclusively presumed that any accrued claim for penalty in connection with the benefit at issue has been resolved, regardless of whether a petition for penalty has been filed, unless the issue of penalty is also submitted or is expressly excluded in the statement of issues being submitted."

See Discovery

Label Item Links Comments
Labor Code Mandatory Settlement Conference LC §5502  
Regulations/Rules Settlement Conference Calendar

See, too, WCAB Policy and Procedure Manual

Rule §10601. Copies of Non-Medical Reports and Records: "Where documents, including videotapes, are to be offered into evidence, copies shall be served on all adverse parties no later than the mandatory settlement conference, unless a satisfactory showing is made that the documents were not available for service by that time."

§10607. Computer Printouts of Benefits Paid: "A defendant that has paid benefits shall have a current computer printout of benefits paid available for inspection at every mandatory settlement conference."

§10240: " All parties shall have a person available with settlement authority at the mandatory settlement conference or lien conference. The person with settlement authority need not be present if an attorney or representative who is present at these proceedings can obtain immediate authority by telephone."
8 CCR §10253

8 CCR §10601

8 CCR §10607


8 CCR §10240


Honored in the breach? Defense attorneys pacing the Board hallways trying to reach their adjuster is an all-too-common sight at the MSC.


In County of Sacramento v. WCAB (Weatherall) (2000) 77 Cal. App. 4th 1114, the Court of Appeal stated: "in the compensation arena, the mandatory settlement conference is serious business."

In County of Sacramento v. WCAB (Estrada) (1999) 68 Cal. App. 4th 1429, the Court of Appeal noted  "The purpose of [the Mandatory Settlement Conference] is to guarantee a productive dialogue either leading to the resolution of the dispute or thoroughly and accurately framing the stipulations and issues for hearing."

In Grupe Co. v. WCAB (2005) 132 Cal. App. 4th 977, the court noted: “the language of section 5502 does not require disclosure of the substance or content of a witness's testimony. Since disclosure of content is not required, failure to disclose or later development of such testimony does not run afoul of section 5502.
.... If a party subsequently locates an exhibit or obtains a witness following the filing of the pretrial conference statement, again, such evidence is inadmissible under section 5502, unless the party can show the witness was unavailable or could not have been discovered through due diligence.”

County of Sacramento v. WCAB (Weatherall)

County of Sacramento v. WCAB (Estrada)


Grupe Co. v. WCAB


Forms Declaration of Readiness to Proceed

Pre-Trial Conference Statement Form

Pre-Trial Conference Statement Form
Practice Tips Because the date of the MSC is generally the date that discovery is cut off, never file a Declaration of Readiness to Proceed until you are truly prepared for trial, and object to any DOR filed by defendant, on the grounds you have not completed discovery.

Keep track as you go along of all issues that need to be on the Pre-Trial Conference Statement Form. In fact, keep a draft form in your file and update it as issues arise, evidence is obtained, and witnesses identified. You can also download this settlement spreadsheet which can serve as a checklist and calculator. See, too, the Issues & Evidence spreadsheet

Check the latest version of Labor Code §5703 for admissible evidence

Check WCJ Casey's trial tips 

Magazine Articles Settlement Analyzer by Marjory Harris, Esq.

Issues & Evidence spreadsheet by Marjory Harris, Esq.
Settlement Analyzer

Issues & Evidence spreadsheet

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