Newsletter Spring 2017

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Newsletter
Spring 2017

IN THIS ISSUE

  • President’s Message
  • CWCL Inaugural Symposium
  • Notes from a Seminar: ABA Workers’ Compensation Section’s CLE, Phoenix 2017
  • 11th Annual Induction Dinner
  • 2016-17 Law Student Writing Competition Winner
  • Kids’ Chance Update
  • Articles of Interest: The “All About Me” Client: Client Selection and Client Rejection Bad-Fait

The 12th Annual Induction Dinner will take place on Saturday, March 3, 2018 in Nashville, TN at the The Nashville Westin coincident with the TIPs Mid-Winter Workers’ Compensation Meeting Mark your calendars now!!
2017-18 Board of Governors’ and Officers

President: Tom     Domer (Plaintiff/Academic – Wisconsin)
Vice President:     Kip Kubin (Defense – Missouri)
Secretary:             David Torrey (Adjudicator/Academic – Pennsylvania
Treasurer:             Jacque Brawner Dean (Defense– Oklahoma)

Term expires March 2018

1. Richard Johnson (Plaintiff/Claimant– Illinois)
2. Thomas Kieselbach (Defense – Minnesota)*
3. Greg Presmanes (Defense- Georgia)*
4. Gerald Rosenthal (Plaintiff – Florida

Term expires March 2019

1. Ann Bishop (Defense – Georgia)*
2. Terrence Coriden (Defense – Indiana)*
3. LuAnn Haley (Adjudicator – Arizona)*
4. Alan Pierce (Plaintiff – Massachusetts)
5. Todd Kalter (Plaintiff – Vermont)

Term expires March 2020

1. James Anderson (Defense– Mississippi)*
2. Alan Gardner (Defense – Idaho)*
3. David Grant (Plaintiff/Claimant – Michigan)*
4. Michael Duff (Academic – Wyoming
5. James Gallen (Defense – Missouri

PRESIDENTTOM DOMER’S MESSAGE – CHARGE TO THE TROOPS

Ten years ago, when admitted to the CWCL as a Fellow, I thought the College was a self-congratulatory dinner club, where I could trot out my tux once a year and have a nice meal in a warm climate. My views changed, as I chaired the Writing Committee, became a board member, officer, and now president. We’re still an honorary organization, recognizing distinguished Workers’ Comp practitioners, teachers, and judges. But we do so much more to enhance the profession of practicing workers’ comp. We just sponsored our 1st National Symposium on the Future of WC, featuring speakers with a national perspective on WC issues. The overwhelming success of this initial endeavor will likely prompt us to make this an annual event (in conjunction with the ABA TIPS or Labor/Employment Section meeting). We inducted 41 new Fellows, expanding our rolls to over 300, adding to our gender, geographic, racial and advocacy diversity. We encourage our new and continuing members to explore opportunities for participation in one of our many active Committees:

Nominating: (recommending, vetting candidate for Fellowship)
Symposium: (planning CWCL symposium speakers, program)
Law Student Writing Competition: (promoting, reviewing student entries)
Governance: (bylaw revision, board membership, procedures, diversity) Newsletter: (providing content, topics)
Kids Chance: (working with, creating state chapters) Long Range Planning: (devising options for future CWCL programs)
Speakers Bureau:(providing list of speakers for events nationwide)

Volunteer for a Committee, and participate in the good work of the College. Contact our indefatigable executive director, Susan Wan susan.wan@cwclawyers.org , or any CWCL board member.

CWCL INAUGURAL SYMPOSIUM – Judge LuAnn Haley, Tucson, AZ

The College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers’ Inaugural National Workers’ Compensation Symposium provides a vision of the future of workers’ compensation practice.

As a member of the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, I had an opportunity to be both a presenter and an attendee of our Symposium that was held on March 18, 2017 in Phoenix Arizona. The CWCL symposium took place on the final day of the ABA’s Workers’ Compensation Midwinter Seminar and the ABA’s separate program is also summarized by Judge Torrey in this edition of the newsletter. The NAWCJ’s Judge John Lazzara was the spearhead of this excellent symposium program and Judge Torrey and I were each involved in one of the four panel presentations that were offered that morning. The symposium topics were interesting and timely and included an excellent review of many of the challenges that all adjudicators face in the courtroom each day. The topics included: a review of claim statistics, the viability of a comp practice today, a review of recent case law and the difficulties with opioid medications and medical cannabis. Included herein are some of the high lights from the presentations at the CWCL’s 2017 inaugural symposium.

The opening presentation discussed the statistics of injury frequencies and claim trends, with Peter Rousmaniere, a renowned journalist and consultant in the field of workers’ compensation risk management, providing statistics which demonstrated drops in the frequency of injuries as well as the filing of claims across the country. Mr. Rousmaniere reported that the reduction in work injuries has been documented over the past few decades and is expected to continue through the year 2022. The other panelists, Brad Ingram and Richard Thompson, both workers’ compensation defense attorneys, agreed that for a number of reasons, including the changing work force, automation, and under reporting of claims, there has been a reduction in the numbers of documented work injuries. Additionally, all the panelists agreed that although the number of claims has dropped, this reduction does not mean that those who are injured are adequately compensated for their injuries. The panel made the point that although the number of claims are decreasing and costs are similarly being reduced, why then are injured workers continuing to be under compensated for their injuries.

The second presentation that raised the question as to the viability of a workers’ compensation practice with the recent trends in limiting attorney fees and requiring mediation before litigation. The panel consisted of lawyers from Massachusetts, Alan Pierce; Louisiana, Charles Davoli; and Texas, Jane Libscomb Stone. The panelists discussed whether limiting attorney involvement in workers’ compensation claims results in denying access to justice for the injured worker and in turn contributes to the “race to the bottom” in workers’ compensation systems. Further, the group raised the issue that adjudicators often face as to whether the system has become so complex that an unrepresented claimant cannot navigate without the assistance of competent counsel.

The third presentation involved a review of the top five recent workers’ compensation cases in the United States and NAWCJ’s Judge David Torrey was the moving force behind the panel which also included Professor Michael Duff and a defense attorney from Pennsylvania, Burke McLemore. The five cases, all of which will likely be familiar to our readers, included the following decisions: finding an “opt out” statute unconstitutional in Oklahoma, finding exclusion of agricultural workers from coverage as unconstitutional in New Mexico, use of the AMA Guides 6th as unconstitutional in Pennsylvania, waiver of right to sue third party found to violate public policy in New Jersey, and mandatory fee schedule for attorneys found to violate due process in Florida. This presentation was a high light for all in the audience as both Professor Duff and Judge Torrey provided careful analysis of the issues in each case coming from their unique prospective of law professors in the field of workers’ compensation.

The final presentation of the symposium addressed the issue of the discord between law and medicine with the growing problems of opioid abuse and the advent of medical cannabis as a treatment option for injured workers. I was asked to moderate this panel that included Dr. Leon Ensalada, a medical doctor with a specialty in pain medicine, and Paul Sighinolfi, the Executive Director and Chair of the Maine Workers’ Compensation Board. Dr. Ensalada provided an in depth look at the efficacy of medical cannabis as a treatment option for injured workers with chronic pain as well as whether medical cannabis is a reasonable option to reduce or replace narcotic medications. Director Sighinolfi reported on the recent cases in Maine that have approved medical cannabis as a viable treatment option for injured workers and discussed how Maine deals with reimbursement issues. In closing the panel raised the question as to who is ultimately responsible, be it doctors, lawyers or adjudicators, to work on resolving the opioid problems in workers’ compensation cases. In response, Massachusetts lawyer Deborah Kohl described how her state has developed a mediation process to deal solely with the issue of medication management for injured workers who have difficulties with opioid medications. The mediation program in Massachusetts includes medical professionals as experts to assist with the resolution of difficult issues involving the use of opioid medications by injured workers.

If you missed the CWCL’s 2017 inaugural symposium in Phoenix, this short article cannot provide all of the valuable information imparted by the distinguished speakers on these four panels. However, with the success of this year’s program, you should plan now to attend next year’s CWCL symposium which will be held in Nashville, Tennessee.

NOTES FROM A SEMINAR: Judge David Torrey, Pittsburgh, PA

The ABA Workers’ Compensation Section’s CLE, Phoenix 2017 – Undocumented Workers, Compensation Community Dialogue, Traumatic Brain Injury, Castellanos and the Best of the Rest

ABA Workers’ Compensation Committee Mid-Winter CLE, Phoenix, AZ, March 16-18, 2017, papers available at http://www.americanbar.org/groups/labor_law/committees/wccom/archive/2017papers.html (Last visited March 27, 2017); brochure and summary: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/labor_law/committees/wccom/archive/2017papers/

The American Bar Association Workers’ Compensation Committees (those of the Labor and Employment and the Tort, Trial and Insurance Practice Sections), recently convened their Mid-winter CLE in Phoenix, AZ. The sessions extended from Thursday, March 16, 2017 to Saturday morning, March 18, 2017. The conference was attended by a few logistical glitches, but those irritants were easily trumped by the flood of information and ideas that the gathering provided!

Undocumented Workers

For my part, I presented, as part of a panel headed by Kansas lawyer Kim Martens, a paper on workers’ compensation rights of undocumented workers. I had been assisted in the project by a talented Pitt Law student, Justin Beck, who is going into our field. Our co-written paper, which analyzes the issue, and which collects current press accounts and academic commentary, concludes with a fifty-state comparative table. It is posted at the public conference URL (see above), and also at www.davetorrey.info.

As far as I can tell, 32 states now have authority holding that an undocumented worker can be an employee for purposes of workers’ compensation laws; 18 are officially undecided; one state has authority to the contrary (Idaho); and one (Wyoming) considers such workers “employees” if the employer believed the worker was documented. The total equals 52, as I am including D.C. and the LHWCA. Not everyone, notably, categorizes the states the exact same way. Attorney Gary Wickert – long known as a national subrogation expert – has a new online table out (cited in our bibliography), with slightly different results.

The big issue, nationwide, is in fact not the basic issue of employee status, but the extent to which such workers are entitled to benefits. Many states, including my own (Pennsylvania), maintain the rule that an injured worker is disqualified from total and partial disability once he or he is cleared for work. Not all states, however, are so restrictive. Our neighboring state of Delaware is an example. There, the employer still has the burden of showing resolution to partial disability.

 Of intrigue was the commentary of the two top-notch injured worker lawyers, from Phoenix and Tucson, who were on our panel. In Arizona, no statute or common law declaration exists unequivocally stating that an undocumented worker is an employee for workers’ compensation purposes. One of these local panelists characterized the state as being “officially neutral” on the issue, and both sides are said to avoid the worker’s immigration status. As

Keynote Address on the State of the Program

The first session was in fact a Keynote Address by Bob Wilson, the principal of workerscompensation.com (an information aggregator), and a well-known blogger about workers’ compensation. Though not a lawyer, he 5 is unusually sophisticated about the laws, customs, and practices that surround the field. It is notable that he conspicuously refers to workers’ compensation not as the practice, program, or system, but as the “industry.”

Mr. Wilson discussed the progress of the Wilson-Langham Summit which has been carrying on a dialogue about the state of workers’ compensation for the last year. He noted that the three critical areas all Summit participants believe need serious consideration are benefit adequacy, regulatory complexity, and the chronic problem of worker delays in receiving treatment.

Over-involvement of lawyers in the system is usually highlighted as a concern in system evaluations, and this issue has been advanced at Summit meetings. Of course, excessive attorney activity in compensation systems has been remarked upon for over half a century. (In a 1930’s study of the Pennsylvania system, critics complained that too many workers had their benefits reduced by attorney’s fees.) The irony, Mr. Wilson pointed out, is that when problems occur in the area of benefit adequacy, regulatory complexity, and delays in treatment, it is lawyers who are typically brought in to address the issues.

 On the topic of lawyers, Mr. Wilson spoke with admiration of the workers’ compensation system in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. There, a governmental Board runs the entire system (a “fund” arrangement, as in Ohio and Washington). The head of the Board has commented to Mr. Wilson that he runs the whole operation (though in a ribald moment, this official used the term “shiteroo” to define the program over which he had such dominion). Reportedly, no interloping attorneys at all are involved in the Saskatchewan program.

Mr. Wilson posited, notably, that in American systems, where private insurance underwrites the entire operation, things are different: “In a for-profit system, attorneys [actually] keep everyone honest.

“He also remarked that “workers’ compensation is a risk averse system,” leading to much delay in many areas – often including benefit delivery. “Nothing,” he posited, “moves quickly in comp.” He suggested that those of us involved in the system are “part of the churn.” This system is problematic: with bureaucracy and the churn of other system participants delaying decision-making, items like the all-important prompt delivery of medical care can be greatly prejudiced.

Mr. Wilson seemed frustrated that, despite the ongoing dialogue – which had its genesis in criticism of retractive reform – 2017 had opened with the states of Iowa and Kentucky proposing more of the same. For example, he noted that in Iowa, a bill is pending that would have that state join others in requiring a “predominant contributing factor” type of standard to be instituted, in order to limit aggravation injuries. This Iowa proposal struck him as a depressing “re-run” that seemed not responsive at all to the concerns of critics of the system. Wilson posited that this type of continuing retractive proposal renders workers’ compensation the “definition of insanity.”

A frequent theme of Mr. Wilson is that workers’ compensation agencies – in their bureaucratic/oversight roles – need to exercise forbearance and be less arbitrary in their administration of the laws. At least one state agency apparently features a bureaucracy displaying little flexibility; for example, it imposes oppressive fines for technical infractions relating to benign reporting protocol infractions.

Mr. Wilson again endorsed the spirit of the Maine Act’s Section 222. The law defeats the delay-intreatment problem by obliging group health insurance payers to pay for treatment during any dispute in the compensation realm. (In my state, Pennsylvania, this has been the rule by order of the Insurance Commissioner since 1991, though it has never been officially codified.)

Is the system broken? Wilson believes not, and he submitted that 85% of claims are handled without dispute. It is the “ten to fifteen percent” where the system gets in trouble. Though not broken,

Mr. Wilson reiterated his advocacy that the conceptualization of workers’ compensation should be altered. Too much emphasis exists on “compensation” and not on another goal of the system: the worker’s recovery. He would rename the Workers’ Compensation Act the Workers’ Recovery Act. Mr. Wilson also expressed frustration that injured workers do not understand how the system works, “and we do a bad job on this” – that is, proactive communication. In light of this lack of injured worker sophistication, changing workers’ compensation to “recovery” keeps the “goal in mind.”

To a great extent, a lesson of the three Wilson-Langham Summit meetings is that too many members of our privately-underwritten system dwell in “knowledge silos.” Wilson believes that greater connections among members of the field, and consequent better understanding among system participants, would improve the system – okay, the industry – immensely.

Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

Another presentation dealt with mild traumatic brain injuries. This topic is very current at workers’ compensation seminars, particularly in my city (Pittsburgh), a kind of ground zero for the study of concussion injuries. In this presentation, the speaker was the Chicago neuropsychologist Dr. Robert Heilbronner. The doctor noted at the outset (perhaps surprising some of us!) that the field of neuropsychology is actually not recognized formally by state licensure agencies, except in the state of Louisiana.

Dr. Heilbronner’s speech was provocatively entitled, “Mild Traumatic Brain Injury, Post-Concussion Syndrome and Insufficient Effort/Malingering.” The presentation set forth the thesis of one of his articles, “Neuropsychological Assessment of Effort, Response, Etc.” It is published at volume 23, pages 1093-1129, of The Clinical Neuropsychologist.

Dr. Heilbronner is a treating neuropsychologist, but he also undertakes independent psychological examinations (IPE’s). He had strong feelings about the IPE and the procedures surrounding the same. Indeed, much of the doctor’s presentation vindicated the title of his session: talking about how he addressed, and reacted to, IPE claimants who undertake insufficient effort during the exam or are outright “malingering.” Of course, he immediately noted that he is cautious about using the “M” word. He declared, “neuropsychologist have been sued for saying a personal injury claimant is a malingerer.”

On a miscellaneous note, it is interesting to this writer that the defense, in Pittsburgh, rarely utilizes neuropsychologists for the concussion IME process. Usually, the IME in a concussion case is a conventionallytrained neurologist.

In any event, the doctor’s comments were familiar to the veteran. For his part, he does not want claimant attorneys at the neuropsychological exams that he undertakes – nor will he abide video or audio recordings of the IPE. He insisted that test results can be affected by these intrusions. If he has been employed as the IPE doctor, and the lawyers and/or the court insists that the claimant’s lawyer can be present, he will withdraw from the case. It is notable that he has authored an article addressing the issue of layperson attendance at such exams. The doctor referred to such individuals as “third party observers.” I believe that the doctor’s commentary can be found at the following paid-content link:

http://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007%2F978-0-387-79948-3_1031

The doctor repeated the familiar wisdom that the vast majority of mild TBI victims recover. On this point, he warned against treating physicians catastrophizing head injuries by declaring to workers, “you will never work again.”

Nevertheless, it is true that 10% of concussion victims do not enjoy resolution of their conditions. He referred to these individuals as the “miserable minority.” Usually such patients are legitimate: it is just that other conditions – preexisting or subsequent – have now intervened and are the true cause of impairment and disability. Another part of this 10% population, however, are indeed complaining of persistent concussion symptoms because of secondary gain considerations.

The doctor admonished us that workers can have both concussion and the psychological condition of post traumatic stress disorder. He used the example of the many soldiers of the Middle Eastern Wars who have returned with precisely these two conditions.

Addressing the occupational hazard of concussions among football players, Dr. Heilbronner strongly implied that Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), is over-diagnosed and had become exaggerated. He rejects the supposition that the condition is empirically proven to be endemic to football players. There are simply not that many football players in the first place, he argued, that have the condition so that an epidemic may be declared.

Surely another implication of his cynicism, however, is that single-episode concussion victims are in a whole different category from football players – with their frequent collisions and other head traumas.

A First-hand Account of the Florida Castellanos Case

Another panel discussed the dramatic Florida case of Castellanos v. Next Door Co., 192 So.3d 431 (Fl. 2016.

There, the Florida Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional a statute which had in general limited attorney’s fees, via a “sliding scale,” and restricted judges (JCC’s) from considering any enhanced fee given the circumstances of individual cases. Lawyers could not charge above the scale regardless of the complexity and extent of the litigation.*

The discussion was particularly interesting because the prevailing attorney, Mr. Mark Toudy, was on the panel. Mr. Toudy described the litigation in meticulous detail. That review was invaluable, because the Castellanos opinion is cursory on the facts and does not even state how the claimant became injured. Mr. Toudy, however, explained that the injury occurred when Castellanos was assaulted by a coworker in a dispute over a tool. The claim at first was for medical only; yet, the employer vigorously contested the claim in court.

Ironically, only $800.00 in medical bills were at stake, and the JCC, in awarding the claim and finding compensability, awarded a fee that, when divided by the claimant’s hourly time, computed to compensation in the amount of $1.53 per hour.

The First District Court of Appeal certified the case to the Florida Supreme Court as one worthy of consideration. The high court accepted the appeal, but it rephrased the issue; the court conceptualized the question as whether the in-effect “unrebuttable presumption” of reasonableness, as calculated by the sliding scale, violated the U.S. and Florida constitutions. Of course, perhaps the re-wording was prescient: “irrebuttable presumptions” are usually disfavored in the law.

The Castellanos dispute, Mr. Touby asserted, was the classic case which features “good facts” to take on appeal. He also submitted that the fee limitation issue was one essential to appeal. In Mr. Toudy’s words, “we would lose all the good lawyers in Florida were we allow this [that is, the current fee limitation statute] to be the law.”

* See FLA. STAT. § 440.34. Specifically, the act provided that “[a]ny attorney’s fee approved by a judge of compensation claims for benefits secured on behalf of a claimant must equal to 20 percent of the first $5,000 of the amount of the benefits secured, 15 percent of the next $5,000 of the amount of the benefits secured, 10 percent of the remaining amount of the benefits secured to be provided during the first 10 years after the date the claim is filed, and 5 percent of the benefits secured after 10 years.” For a complete summary, see David B. Torrey, Lawrence D. McIntyre, Kyle D. Black & Justin D. Beck, Recent Developments in Workers’ Compensation and Employers’ Liability Law (Survey Issue), 52 ABA TORT TRIAL &INSURANCE PRACTICE LAW JOURNAL 709 (2017).

Mr. Toudy went on to explain that the Supreme Court, answering its own question, struck down the sliding scale, and lack of any collateral consideration, as violative of the claimant’s due process rights. Receiving workers’ compensation is, indeed, a right; and a reform which removes representation in a complex system to vindicate such a right constitutes a due process violation. Mr. Toudy explained that the high court’s declaration was that the law was “facially unconstitutional.”

The attorney’s fees discussion continued. Just a week or so before Castellanos was decided, the 1st DCA issued a ruling in Miles v. City of Edgewater, 190 So.3d 171 (Fla. 2016). That case dealt with a different, but related, issue. The Florida reform noted above provided that it was not only forbidden, but a matter of criminal infraction, for an attorney to receive any fee over the sliding scale schedule. Thus, although not a terribly common practice, lawyers could not take retainers. The restriction made it difficult for such things as nonlitigative consultation sessions to be billed. The Miles case was ultimately to hold that the law was unconstitutional in this respect because it violated the right to freedom of speech. Currently, as a result, attorneys can charge fees as they please, constrained only by the familiar disciplinary rule addressing reasonableness.

Now, a conundrum exists. Because the sliding scale has been abolished, and freedom of fee contract exists, some lawyers are actually assessing a 25% fee. Indeed, according to the panelists, this significant fee has quickly become standard in a washout (lump sum compromise settlement). Florida judges vary in their rulings with regard to whether or not to approve a 25% fee; some apparently refuse to do so. (Since the seminar, legislative proposals on fees post-Castellanos have been advanced in the Florida legislature.)

A Top-Seven List of Further Points of Intrigue

Here are some further points I found intriguing and/or new from other panels at the conference:

1. Professor Emily Spieler of Northeastern University Law School posited that in this era of retractive reform, and outright reaction, it is often not unions that represent the interests of injured workers but, instead, low-wage groups. These enterprises, like those active in the restaurant work and housekeeping fields, have a concern about work injuries and how they are compensated. In a 2016 New Mexico case, the attorney challenging that state’s agency’s restriction on injured worker attorney’s fees came not from the traditional labor movement, but from a social justice orientation. (As to the case, see Rodriguez v. Brand West Dairy, 378 P.3d 13 (N.M. 2016)).

2. One speaker suspected that under the Trump administration, Republicans will (just like the prior regime) want to keep the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program from going broke. As part of that goal, Congressional and White House actors alike may be hostile to systems like workers’ compensation. This is so as they suspect that players in the workers’ compensation system are deliberately seeking to shift costs away from workers’ compensation and onto SSDI.

3. A member of one panel complained about a vacuum in leadership in workers’ compensation to adequately address critiques of the purported atrophy of state systems. One of his panel members, however, rejected this analysis. He posited that when either Congress and state legislatures look at workers’ compensation issues, employer groups and other business interests step up to the plate and educate lawmakers.

4. Another speaker – echoing virtually everybody else in the national workers’ compensation community – posited that, with the advent of electronic medical and hospital records, the “quality of [such] records has gotten poorer and poorer.” (This writer agrees; they can often be incoherent to the layperson.)

5. The chair of the conference, attorney Jane Stone of Texas, stated that her state was applying the AMA Causation Guides(the EBM-inspired text), as part of their law. A panel discussion which followed suggested 9 that many individuals are not aware of that book. (In my state, Pennsylvania, the courts, though not adopting the Causation Guides as authority, have referenced it in opinions addressing our firefighter causation presumption.)

6. One claimants’ lawyer posited that in her state, many employers use, on their posted lists, “big box” orthopedic groups. The speaker took for granted that these physicians will be more likely than others to return workers to work as soon as possible; in her view, they are in effect leveraged by their employer/carrier contract partners to “cut them [that is, injured workers] loose” from disability in order to receive repeat business. While this may or may not be true, in her state, the treating/listed doctor’s decision to have the worker “move on” causes him or her to solicit: a “claimant-friendly IME.” (In Pennsylvania, this practice is rare.) 7. In a discussion about the role of insurance brokers, one prominent attorney in the audience opined that such players can be hard to deal with in the context of litigated cases. Brokers, notably, may have significant influence in states where an employer (as opposed to just the carrier) must agree to compromise settlements. Mr. Brian Francis, an insurance executive who attended the conference, explained, in any event, that “brokers are ‘in’ at the front end of the system, and they really don’t understand what happens at the back end of the claim … when the money goes out the door.”

Conclusion

A tired axiom of workers’ compensation lawyer talk in my jurisdiction is that what happens in other states is irrelevant. This dictum, however, constitutes egregious error. It is both educational and enriching for lawyers and judges to be aware of what is unfolding in other jurisdictions. As for defense lawyers, in particular, many insurance professionals can sniff out, at 300 feet, the attorney who possesses only superficial systemic knowledge. Of course, that hazard must be avoided. Attending seminars like ABA Phoenix 2017 will both take the lawyer to a warm and sunny venue and deliver to him or her the knowledge that will make for a well-rounded and sophisticated professional.

11TH ANNUAL INDUCTION DINNER

The Induction Dinner in Phoenix, Arizona did not disappoint. With warm weather, bright sunshine and blue skies, Fellows and their guests enjoyed a lovely evening. Keynote Speaker Dr. Christopher Brieseth, CEO, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, spoke about the legacy and impact of Frances Perkins, and Secretary Perkins’ grandson, Tomlin Perkins Coggeshall, accepted the College’s 2017 Legends Award on her behalf. Thanks to Fellows Terry Coriden, Sally Voland and LuAnn Haley who assisted with the first ever Kids’ Chance step and repeat! Guests were able to have their picture taken, Hollywood style with a Kids’ Chance background, for a small donation to this wonderful organization. And most importantly, welcome to our newest members – the CLASS OF 2017!! Click here for a listing of these distinguished attorneys.

Photographs from the evening’s celebration can be found at these links:

CWCL Induction: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/4fpmxpy0ebh3qep/AADutJ8710ziVG-Qfs1eQbgma?dl=0

CWCL Induction Dinner: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/63asludf357mngn/AABQi6yut_BjUqMRmt9Bf8cba?dl=0

Kids’ Chance Photos: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/w4lscjembvzipn4/AAD5_qDT09mcmDOP4Ch_aXeEa?dl=0

Watch Fellow Alan Pierce’s latest podcast on Frances Perkins: http://www.cwclawyers.org/index.html