Civil War Era Law Used by Disabled to Force Workers Compensation Payments in California

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A 100-year-old law known as the Ku Klux Klan Act has been dusted off by a disabled injured worker in her fight to enforce judgments of the California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board.

The decade long legal battle between the Adventist Health System and Barbara Clark, Registered Nurse and Nurse Practitioner, took a new turn Tuesday when a federal lawsuit seeking $40 million in damages was filed in Sacramento against a claims administrator and an attorney representing the Adventist Health System. In an unconventional twist, John Rea, Acting Director of California’s Department of Industrial Relations was also named as a defendant (U.S.D.C. for the Eastern District of California, 05-2410-FCD Filed November 30th, 2005).

The novel use of the Ku Klux Klan Act, 42 U.S.C. 1983 and 1985, against the defendants seems justified by Clark. She commented, “The tactics used by the Adventists to silence disabled injured workers holding valid court judgments are similar to those used by the Klan.” She continued, “intimidation, harassment, coercion of witnesses, obstruction of justice, it is a rich tapestry of conspiratorial criminality.”

John Rea, named as a defendant, is accused of overseeing the dismal performance of the Adventist Health System and their lack of making progress payments on court ordered judgments. Clark is also a plaintiff in a racketeering influenced and corrupt organizations (RICO, Superior Court of Kern County Case No. S-1500-CV-0000245966) lawsuit in a California state court in Bakersfield. The Adventist Health System is a defendant in the RICO lawsuit, but was not named in the Ku Klux Klan Act lawsuit.

For a copy of the lawsuit see:

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Debbie Phillips