Administrative Law

Administrative judge was disbarred in 1998 but continued to work

An administrative law judge in Washington, D.C., has been deciding workers’ comp cases for 16 years, despite his disbarment in 1998.

The Indiana Supreme Court disbarred Anand Verma for making false statements in his bar applications in Maryland and Pennsylvania, the Washington City Paper reports. He has issued hundreds of decisions as an administrative law judge for the D.C. Department of Employment Services.

Verma continued to work as an administrative judge after his disbarment, even though municipal regulations required workers’ comp judges in Washington, D.C., to have a law license. “While it is too soon to tell what this means for parties who appeared before Verma all those years,” the story says, “some veteran judges say that scores of his decisions could be tossed on grounds that parties before him were deprived of a proper hearing.”

The story says Verma’s reversal rate wasn’t unusual. His decisions were rejected 50 percent of the time on appeal from 2005 to 2010, while the average reversal rate was 56 percent in 2011. Still, the Compensation Review Board issued some “sharply worded opinions” in Verma’s cases, the story says. In one case, the CRB vacated Verma’s decisions three times, saying he continued to fail to follow its instructions. In another, an appeals panel said he “demonstrates an unwillingness to follow the specific instructions of the CRB despite several remands to address the same errors.”

Thomas Luparello, interim director of D.C. Department of Employment Services, told the Washington City Paper that the department now requires verification of its judges’ legal credential on an annual basis. The agency has contacted the Washington, D.C., Office of the Attorney General for guidance.

The publication was unable to reach Verma for comment.

Hat tip to Above the Law.

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