Van De Kamp, 020983 CAAGO, AGO 82-1111

Docket Nº:AGO 82-1111
Case Date:February 09, 1983
Court:California
 
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JOHN K. VAN DE KAMP Attorney General
ANTHONY S. DA VIGO Deputy Attorney General
AGO 82-1111
No. 82-1111
California Attorney General Opinion
Office of the Attorney General State of California
February 9, 1983
         THE HONORABLE VICTOR VEYSEY, DIRECTOR, DEPARTMENT OF INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS, has requested an opinion on the following question:          Are pro-tempore workers' compensation referees appointed under Labor Code section 123.7 immune from liability under the California Tort Claims Act for their discretionary acts within the scope of employment to the same extent as permanent referees of the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board?          CONCLUSION          Pro-tempore workers' compensation referees appointed under Labor Code section 123.7 are immune from liability under the California Tort Claims Act for their discretionary acts within the scope of employment to the same extent as permanent referees of the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board.          ANALYSIS          The Workers' Compensation Appeals Board (formerly, the Industrial Accident Commission), established by the Legislature pursuant to its constitutional grant of plenary power to create and enforce a comprehensive system of workers' compensation (Cal. Const., art. XIV, § 4), is vested with the authority to adjudicate claims for compensation brought by employees against employers due to injuries arising from employment. (§§ 3200-60021; 61 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 46 (1978).) In order to facilitate the accomplishment of its judicial powers (§ 111), the board may direct and order a referee to try the issues in any proceeding before it, whether of fact or of law, and to make a finding, order, decision, or award based thereon. (§§ 5309, 5310, 5313, 130.) The board may confirm, adopt, modify or set aside the findings, order, decision, or award of a referee, or enter its own based upon the record. (§ 5315; cf. Conf. of Referees v. State Personnel Board (1968) 262 Cal.App.2d 131, 133.) It is sufficient for purposes of this analysis to observe that a workers' compensation referee is engaged either in the exercise of judicial (Perry Farms, Inc. v. Agricultural Labor Relations Board (1978) 86 Cal.App.3d 448, 460; 61 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen., supra, 49-50) or quasi-judicial (cf. Conf. of Referees v. State Personnel Board, supra; 62 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 788, 790 n. 5 (1979)) power.          In addition to the employment of permanent referees (§§ 123, 123.5), section 123.7 provides:
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