D.C. Workers Comp Judge Resigns - What Happens Now?

Posted on Feb 26, 2014

The D.C. workers compensation judge who resigned recently amid allegations he had been disbarred and wasn't even a lawyer, has left cases undecided, injured workers waiting for benefits, workers compensation insurance companies unsure of whether they have to pay benefits and other problems, no doubt.

But judges resign all the time - in D.C. it seems there is a lot of turnover among Administrative Law Judges.  So what usually happens?

Typically, any pending cases are re-assigned to an active judge.  The parties are usually given the opportunity to have another hearing by that judge or have the case decided on the prior hearing record.  All Formal Hearings in D.C. are transcribed and evidence entered into the record.

You might think you're better off having the case re-heard by the new judge, but that's not always the case, and may not matter.

That's because some cases take so long to decide that there is no way the judge remembers anything about the hearing - the witnesses' demeanor, for example.  They are often decided by the judge just reading the transcript anyway.

That's a tough reality to swallow when you put so much into these cases.