NCIC COVID-19 Hearing & Mediation Updates

By Eleasa Allen

Update from the North Carolina Industrial Commission

The Industrial Commission has issued the following policies for Full Commission hearings, Deputy Commissioner medical motion hearings, and Executive Secretary’s Office informal hearings, which have been posted to the NCIC website. These policies are effective June 1, 2020. Policies for Deputy Commissioner hearings (non-medical motion hearings) and mediations to be held as of June 1, 2020 will be announced shortly.

Full Commission Hearings

Full Commission oral arguments scheduled in June 2020 will be conducted by teleconference. The Full Commission panel chair will provide the parties with a toll-free number and access code to dial into the conference call.

Deputy Commissioner Medical Motion Hearings

Deputy Commissioner hearings on medical motions arising under G.S. §97-25(f) will be conducted in June 2020 with all parties appearing by teleconference, unless the Deputy Commissioner advises that the hearing will be conducted via Webex videoconference (details regarding Webex hearings will be provided in the near future). Based upon the parties’ stipulated facts and exhibits, the presiding Deputy Commissioner may excuse the parties from appearing at the G.S. §97-25(f) hearing if the parties and the Deputy Commissioner agree that no lay witnesses are needed to decide the case. If the parties are excused from appearing at the hearing because no lay witnesses are needed, the parties should proceed as usual with obtaining any expert medical testimony needed to close the record.

Executive Secretary’s Office Informal Hearings

Consistent with normal operating procedures, the Executive Secretary’s Office will conduct informal hearings by teleconference.

Deputy Commissioner Hearings (Non-Medical Motion Hearings)

On May 21, 2020, Chief Justice Beasley directed judicial officials to “make use of remote hearing technology to the greatest extent possible to limit in-person appearances.” In light of this Order, the Commission is developing hearing polices for June 2020 and future months that will be announced shortly.

Mediation

The Dispute Resolution Commission is meeting on Thursday May 28, 2020, regarding remote attendance at mediation conferences during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Commission will adopt mediation policies that are consistent with the policies of the Dispute Resolution Commission.

If you have any questions or concerns that have not been addressed by the Commission’s policy changes to date, please email me at eallen@robinsonlawing.com, and I will be happy to pass along your inquiry and seek input/guidance from the Commission.

As always, I hope you and yours remain safe and well.