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Mastagni Holstedt Wins Cancer Presumption Exception for Imperial County Probation Officer

We want to acknowledge and congratulate Attorney Brendan Rochford for successfully arguing for an application of the cancer presumption [Cal. Lab. Code §3212.1] for Imperial County Probation Manager Iran Martinez. Mr. Martinez is an officer who was sworn in under Cal. Pen. Code §830.5, which would not allow for application of the cancer presumption. Attorney Rochford successfully demonstrated that Mr. Martinez’s job duties as a Narcotics Task Force Officer/special agent were authorized by the California Department of Justice (“DOJ”). Mr. Martinez was found to be acting within the scope of his authority as a special agent of the California DOJ as codified under Cal. Pen. Code §830.1(b), and this entitled him to the cancer presumption.

At the time of the original posting, the Workers Compensation Appeals Board of San Diego had agreed and granted Mr. Martinez the presumption. The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board granted the County of Imperial’s Petition for Reconsideration, but ultimately denied that petition. Most recently, The County appealed this decision to the 4th District Court of Appeals in San Diego, but the Petition for Writ of Review was denied.

In responding to the Petition for Writ of Review, the 4th District Court of Appeal held that Mr. Martinez was performing the duties of a special agent at the time of his tenure on the Narcotics Task Force, and that those job duties did result in the causation of cancer injury. Refusing to re-weigh the evidence at trial, the Court found that there was no error resulting from the Workers’ Compensation Judge or the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board decisions referenced in our earlier blog post of February 14, 2020. In particular, the Court held that no provision of Cal. Lab. Code §3212.1 prevented the factual finding that Officer Martinez was a special agent of the California DOJ.

This decision was recently signed by the acting Presiding Justice Patricia D. Benke on July 23, 2020. It was also considered by Justice Richard D. Huffman and Justice Cynthia Aaron. The County of Imperial has elected not to pursue the appeal further.

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