Lex and Verum - National Association of Workers` Compensation

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Lex and Verum - National Association of Workers` Compensation
Lex and Verum
The National Association of Workers’
Compensation Judiciary
Number LXXXIII
August 2016
From the President
By Hon. Michael Alvey
It has been an honor and privilege to serve as the president of the NAWCJ for the past two years. This
organization means a lot to me. We have accomplished a great number of things since the inception of this
organization merely eight years ago. During the past two years we have participated in assisting Tennessee with
the transition of its adjudicative system, we have been involved in national programs to include the ongoing
National Conversation, and we have streamlined our committee structure and bylaws. We are in excellent fiscal
shape, which will allow us to participate to a greater extent where needed.
I am appreciative of my predecessors Judge John Lazzara, Judge Ellen Lorenzen, and Judge David Torrey
whose guidance and leadership have been instrumental to the development of our organization and to me
personally. I wish our incoming president, Judge Jennifer Hopens, the best, and pledge to support her in any
way during her tenure. Under Judge Hopens’ leadership, I am firmly convinced this organization will continue
to grow and prosper.
I also want to thank the good folks at RMI and WCI for all of their efforts to our organization. Thanks also to
Judge Bob Cohen, our treasurer for life, who provides great financial stewardship for our organization. I also
thank my good friend Judge David Langham who hates to be singled out, but without whose tireless efforts our
organization would not be nearly so successful.
That said, in just a few short days we convene the 8th annual NAWCJ Judicial College. We have a great lineup of speakers and topics. This could not happen without a lot of time, effort and energy. Thanks to all who
have worked so hard in putting this together.
For those of you who have attended the college previously, you are fully aware of the excellent programming.
For those of you who will be attending for the first time, I promise you will enjoy your time, and find the
college worthwhile. If you are unable to attend, I encourage you to do so in the future. You will not regret it.
Continued, Page 2.
The President’s Page, from Page 1.
The Agenda this year includes excellent programming which
will serve to assist and support you in your adjudicatory role.
Lunch is provided at no additional cost on Monday and
Tuesday. Entertainment is also provided on Monday evening
(Third Eye Blind), and on Tuesday (Smokey Bones BBQ). You
will receive a letter soon providing general information and tips
regarding the conference. I look forward to seeing you in
Orlando.
Finally, we still need assistance with the Earle T. Zehmer
Moot Court Competition. We have openings for judges for the
event, and I encourage you to participate. If you are willing to
do
so,
please
contact
Barbara
Wagner
at
[email protected], or Hon. Tom Sculco at
[email protected] Your assistance is greatly
appreciated.
Again thanks to all of you for your continued support and
assistance during the past two years. As I have often said, you
do not have to be very bright and talented to lead a group of
bright, talented and motivated individuals. I have been
surrounded by great leaders and I am very grateful for all of you
and for all of your efforts. My talent has been to get out of your
way, and not impede your great efforts. Thanks to all of you.
2014-16
NAWCJ Officers
Hon. Michael Alvey
President
Owensboro, Kentucky
Kentucky Workers’ Compensation
Board
Hon. Jennifer Hopens
President-Elect
Austin, Texas
Texas Department of Insurance,
Division of Workers’ Compensation
Hon. Jim Szablewicz
Secretary
Richmond, Virginia
Virginia Workers’ Compensation
Commission
Hon. Robert S. Cohen
Treasurer
Tallahassee, Florida
Florida Division of Administrative
Hearings
In This Issue
You Broke it, You Own it
3
Zehmer Moot Court Competition
6
The Conversation, Interests and Compromise
7
Hon. David Torrey
Past-President 2012-14
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Department of Labor
and Industry
Dallas Summit Final Report
12
Book Note: Is Heroism the Standard?
14
Summary of the 68th Annual SAWCA Convention
17
WorkCompCentral Founder Dead at 56
21
Fewer Painkillers when Medical Marijuana Legal
24
WCAB Decision Clarifies CMS Approval is Voluntary
25
SAWCA Presents Roundtable 2016!
28
Hon. Shannon Bishop
Latest Developments in State Handling of AMA Guides
29
Hon. David Langham
2016 Judiciary College Curriculum and Schedule
33
Pensacola, Florida
2016 Judiciary College Faculty
42
August 2016
Lex and Verum
Editorial Committee
Hon. LuAnn Haley, Chair
Tucson, Arizona
Harahan, Louisiana
NAWCJ - Lex and Verum
Hon. David Torrey
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Page 2
You broke it, you own it.
by Joe Paduda
A bill before the US House and Senate would have required physicians and pharmacists to check state
databases before prescribing or dispensing opioids.
All available research shows this is the single most effective step to reduce opioid abuse and kill fewer people.
Now, thanks to “doctors and pharmacists groups”, that requirement has been stripped from the bill. What’s left
is some – but nowhere near enough – money for treatment and the hope that, against all evidence to the
contrary, docs who are writing the scripts that are causing the opioid disaster will take the time to check the
databases before they write the script.
Not going to happen.
I am sympathetic to the claim that mandatory Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) checking can
be time-consuming. States have to do a better job of figuring out how to streamline the process while protecting
patient confidentiality – and many have done so. Moreover, the four states with mandatory PDMPs have figured
it out, and it is working pretty well.
I am a whole lot less sympathetic to the argument that
somehow a moment or two of a doctor’s or pharmacist’s time
is too much to ask, for the simple reason that these medical
professionals’ failure to properly prescribe and dispense
opioids is the proximal cause of the opioid public health
disaster.
Pretty much every independent research organization
studying the issue has recommended mandatory PDMP
checking. Here’s one. More bluntly, that behavior is killing
people, and the lobbying to strip mandatory use of PDMPs
shows that’s not that big a deal.
Kentucky, New York, Ohio, and Tennessee all mandate
prescribers access PDMPs – and all have seen dramatic reductions in doctor shopping and opioid script volume.
There’s a wealth of supporting data here. Briefly, here’s what mandatory PDMP use does.
* After Ohio ER docs checked the PDMP, they changed their treatment plan for 41% of patients;
61% had fewer or no opioids prescribed, 39% had more. And doctor shopping dropped by over
2/3.
* In Tennessee, doctor shopping dropped by 50% and the volume of opioid scripts decreased by
almost half a million scripts.
* Kentucky doctor shopping was cut in half, 30% fewer patients received the “holy trinity” drug
cocktail, and benzo and opioid scripts dropped significantly.
* In New York, doctor shopping was cut by 90%, and treatment admissions rose by 20%.
After spending a fruitless hour searching the web for an actual policy statement or testimony regarding
mandatory PDMP use by the AMA, my conclusion is the giant medical society wants it both ways.
Continued, Page 4.
August 2016
NAWCJ - Lex and Verum
Page 3
You Broke It, from Page 4.
They don’t want their members to have to check PDMPs, but
they don’t want to be public about that opposition. What does
this mean for you?
Refusing to support mandatory PDMP is unconscionable. At
some point an enterprising class-action firm is going to figure
out how to make a shipload of money off the intransigence of
“doctors and pharmacists groups.”
__________
Joseph Paduda is a nationally recognized expert, speaker, media
source and author on managed care in group health and in workers’
compensation. He translates complex data into actionable knowledge
and is able to take an aerial view or to drill down into intricate niches.
His practical approach and more than 25 years experience in the field
give clients precise direction and applicable programs. He writes the
popular weblog Managed Care Matters attracting more than 1500
unique visitors a day and a good deal of comment in the health care
world. His blogs are frequently republished on other sites. Mr. Paduda
also conducts industry surveys, including one focused on managing
pharmacy costs within workers’ compensation.
Judging the Moot Court Competition at Judiciary College 2015.
Above (L-R) are Judges Condry (FL), Beck (SC) and Imahara (GA);
below are Judges Forte (FL), Levy (KY), and Weiss (FL).
August 2016
Chief Judge Crum
Announces
Pennsylvania
Appointment
In July, Liz Crum, the Director of
Adjudication for the Pennsylvania
Department of Labor and Industry,
announced the appointment of John
McTiernan, Esquire to the position of
Workers’ Compensation Judge, serving in
the Brookville office.
He began his tenure on July 25, 2016.
Judge McTiernan brings a wealth of
workers’ compensation knowledge and
experience to the position. He earned his
J.D. from Duquesne University and his
undergraduate degree from St. Vincent’s
College.
Judge McTiernan was previously a
partner in the Pittsburgh law firm of
Caroselli, Beachler, McTiernan and
Coleman. He has served as the Chair of
the Judges and Workers’ Compensation
Appeal Board Rules Committee, and was
a member of the PBI course planning
committee for the renowned “Bible”
course – Workers’ Compensation Practice
and Procedure from 1989 until 2015.
NAWCJ - Lex and Verum
Page 4
Judiciary College 2016
August 21-24, 2016
Marriott World Center, Orlando, Florida
NAWCJ Judiciary College Hotel
The Caribe Royale
$110.00 per night
One block away from Marriott World Center (convention site)
Continuous shuttle service to/from Marriott World Center.
To reserve, email arrival and departure dates to [email protected]
Alternative Accommodations:
.
Marriott World Center (Host Hotel)
$187.00 per night single/double
Reservations must be made via website or call
(800) 621-0638 and ask to be transferred to
Passkey reservations – Mention WCI 2016.
Judiciary College 2016!
Tuition is only $225.00 (NAWCJ members) or $350.00 (non-members) if
paid by July 15 and $265 (members) or $360.00 (non-members) if paid after
July 15. On-line registration is NOW OPEN at www.NAWCJ.org.
August 2016
NAWCJ - Lex and Verum
Page 5
The 2016 E. Earle Zehmer National
Moot Court Competition: A
Presumption of Excellence!
By: Hon. LuAnn Haley*
This year marks the 29th year for the Moot Court Competition in Orlando and it will surely be one of the high
points of the College for those that participate and attend. The competition will include 20 teams from 6 states
and is co-sponsored by the NAWCJ and WCI. The preliminary rounds will take place on Sunday afternoon and
the teams will be judged by members of the NAWCJ. The final round will be held on Monday, the first day of
the college curriculum, and the teams will be judged by a panel of appellate judges from the Florida First
District Court of Appeal. The competition between teams is outstanding each year and all who attend can
expect to be impressed by the students who participate. Each year the competition serves to enhance workers’
compensation law as a part of the educational curriculum in the law schools that participate in the program.
"Zehmer is one of my favorite competitions," remarked Professor Sander Moody of Florida Coastal School of
Law. "One reason is because the judges are so strong. Many competitions use issues like constitutional law or
other subjects the attorneys serving as judges haven't thought about since their second or third year of law
school. At Zehmer, every judge in every round is a subject matter expert."
"In fact," Professor Moody continued, "the Zehmer competition has been a bedrock appellate advocacy
competition in the state of Florida that has helped train hundreds of future lawyers. The expansion to law
schools nation-wide in the last decade has added so much to the competition."
Professor Moody went on to heap praise on the final round judges, who are always drawn from Florida's First
District Court of Appeal. "The First DCA has a justified reputation as a brain trust. They know the law and they
know good advocacy. Watching students be able to satisfy questions from jurists such as Robert Benton, Peter
Webster, William Van Nortwick and Scott Makar, who himself has argued five times in front of the United
States Supreme Court, is simply incredible."
"Zehmer was my first experience arguing a tough legal issue in front of a panel of judges," said Amie
DeGuzman. Ms. DeGuzman practices workers' compensation law and as a law student won the championship at
Zehmer. "It taught me to think critically and objectively on a complex legal issue and have confidence in my
position in the most challenging situation. It also taught me that the best argument is a sincere one, being candid
about both strengths and weaknesses." Ms. DeGuzman added, "The judges who take time out of their busy
schedules to judge law students taught me more about professionalism and what it means to be a lawyer than
anything else."
This year’s moot problem involves the weight given to a medical opinion from an appointed physician,
appointed to resolve the conflict between the expert opinions submitted by the parties. The students will argue
as to whether the judge erred in giving a strong presumption of correctness to the appointed expert in making
his final determination. Certainly, the competition will be of interest to the judges hearing the arguments as well
as the audience.
If you haven’t yet volunteered to be a judge in the competition, please contact Barbara Wagner at
[email protected] If you arrive in Orlando on Sunday afternoon, please stop in on the Moot Court
competition; you can presume an afternoon of excellence.
__________
Judge Haley is an Administrative Law Judge in Arizona, a member of the NAWCJ Board, and Chair of the Lex and
Verum Committee. Her full biography is on page 46.
.
August 2016
NAWCJ - Lex and Verum
Page 6
The Conversation, Interests, and Compromise
By David Langham
The 2016 workers' compensation summit in Dallas was an eye-opening experience. I had the opportunity to
hear an amazing variety of perspectives on what is both right and wrong with workers' compensation. There was
an abundance of objectivity and some speakers’ criticisms were even focused inward on her or his own portion
of the industry. Make no mistake; there was also no shortage of speakers’ criticism for other aspects of the
system or other industry segments. A detailed report of the discussions has been published at
WorkersCompensation.com (see below). It is interesting reading.
The Final Report provides the list of discussion topics, but also ranks them into three groups, based on
perceptions. The ranking was based on discussions and surveying that occurred after Dallas. The Dallas
conversation participants had time to ruminate on the comments and discussion at the Dallas Summit, and
perhaps took the time to discuss their perceptions with others in their industry segment or other "inner circle."
The Report does not rank issues numerically, but in three tiers reflecting perceptions of their importance (and
perhaps how realistic it may be to hope to change or address them).
Some of the language in the report has been "softened." The purpose of the discussion and the Summit is to
stimulate more conversation, not to build walls or stifle discussion. In fact another conversation will be held in
Orlando next month, coincident with the Workers' Compensation Institute (#WCI2016). It is encouraging to see
some groups like WCI take a lead on discussing what is perceived as problematic.
From the Final Report, a few of the priorities are part of my discussion today.
First Priority Group
Incentive is different in workers’ compensation and group health
Systems are persistently adversarial
Injured workers beliefs - not informed or uninformed assumptions
Second Priority Group
Ability versus disability
Unrealistic expectation of full recovery and youth
Third Priority Group
Lawyers in the system
This is not a complete list. The full list is available at the links above and merits reading and full
consideration. But these issues all occurred to me as I read a recent article on WorkCompCentral, and thought
about how the medical and legal aspects of workers' compensation interact. My thoughts on this are not new.
The law and science are not always in agreement. Opinions permeate the world around us, and there are those
who feel that our laws are based on those opinions, sometimes to the exclusion of facts or science. In MMI and
Other Artificial Distinctions, Florida Workers’ Comp Adjudication blog, May 4, 2016, I explained the
interaction of law and medicine in terms of defining recovery and impairment or disability. What are our
expectations? Do we expect medical treatment to restore full function and perhaps our youth? Are our
expectations consistent with the expectations of others? Does it make sense for our laws to compel medical
experts to render opinions on topics like maximum medical improvement, which have no medical meaning or
foundation, but which may make our legal decisions more predictable and perhaps consistent?
Continued, Page 8.
August 2016
NAWCJ - Lex and Verum
Page 7
The Conversation, from Page 7.
As an aside, I recently had a similar set of questions asked of me
regarding the trend towards medical presumptions in workers'
compensation cases. The inquiries came at a seminar and were
essentially why compensability presumptions have been inserted
into or intertwined with workers' compensation laws. The inquisitor
expressed the opinion that such presumptions for heart disease,
lung dysfunction, and cancer have "no foundation in science." The
question to me was "why have legislatures embraced these
unscientific presumptions?" That is a tough question. And it is even
tougher when you consider that whether there is or is not science to
support these presumptions is itself a matter of opinion. Various
opinions on any topic, in sufficient quantity, may lead to consensus.
That is one possible answer. Legal definitions are often the product
of compromise, and that may be another possible answer. But, I
gave the inquisitor the best answer I could muster: "I don't know."
There is a perception that workers' compensation presents
incentives for behavior. This may be patient behavior, physician
behavior, employer behavior, or even attorney behavior. Workers’
compensation is perceived as "persistently adversarial," and that
may be a natural consequence of preconceived assumptions and
beliefs, or of our personal experiences (nature v. nurture?). While
the Dallas report, in this regard, is focuses on injured workers,
might others in the system/process likewise have preconceived
beliefs or assumptions that color their participation and decisions?
The workers' compensation paradigm is designed to address the
primary needs following an accident, medical care and wage
replacement. One participant in Dallas voiced the opinion that there
are "perverse incentives" inherent in the provision of both of these
(the "perverse" did not make the report: as I mentioned, some
language was "softened" a bit). That perception, stated succinctly,
is that doctors make money from treatment, not recovery; that
attorneys (claimant and defense) make money from dysfunction,
not recovery; that there is a raft of service providers in the
marketplace that make money from dispute, discovery, diagnosis,
and dysfunction, not recovery. Some question why the system
seems to have lost its focus on recovery. Why is financial damage
the focus over return to work? See The Own-Occ/Any-Occ
Disability Debate, Florida Workers’ Comp Adjudication blog, May
6, 2016.
This conversation included a perception that injured workers and
those who advocate for them are driven to disability, because the
only financial incentives in workers' compensation are to
compensate disability. Incidentally, that conclusion is contradicted
in some systems that focus on "impairment" instead. There is a
valid debate between compensating Functional Loss versus
Financial Loss, Florida Workers’ Comp Adjudication blog, May 5,
2016.
Continued, Page 9.
August 2016
Changes in
Leadership at
NAWCJ!
At Judiciary College 2016, the
National Association of Workers’
Compensation Judiciary will thank
President Michael Alvey for two years
of service as President. Judge Alvey
serves as Chair of the Kentucky
Workers’ Compensation Board, an
appellate body reviewing workers’
compensation decisions. NAWCJ
President-Elect Jennifer Hopens will
become the next President.
Judge Hopens is a judge and the Director
of Hearings for the Northern and Western
regions of the Texas Department of
Insurance,
Division
of
Workers’
Compensation, and judge. She has served
on the NAWCJ Board for 7 years and as
President-Elect and Secretary.
NAWCJ - Lex and Verum
Page 8
The Conversation, from Page 8.
Some systems provide compensation when there is no disability whatever. At a conference recently, I was
asked why a particular Florida firefighter can be rated with a significant permanent impairment, compensated
with tens of thousands of dollars in "impairment benefits," yet remains employed with not a dollar in lost
earnings. My answer, as you may have guessed, started with "good question, I don't know." I then pointed out
that the best answer is more likely "because the law says so." And with that, perhaps the discussion turns back
to why state laws say what they do; what is science, what is compromise, and what else is involved?
The Dallas conversation also focused on whether people should be viewed in terms of what they cannot do
(disability), or in terms of what they can do (ability). This is an interesting discussion. What abilities do any of
us have, and how are any of us limited or constrained. I recently had an amazing student in a class. Confined to
a wheelchair, and with severely limited use of either hand, he processed class material, asked questions (and
made quips and retorts) using a computer, grasped concepts, and took tests. He is intelligent and inspiring
person. I suspect that he would take offense at being labelled "disabled," and I would tell him that this world is
his for the taking. With his brain, his focus, and some technology, the sky is the limit for him to put his abilities
to work. Some might see limitations, but I think he sees opportunity and his intellect will take him far (in my
humble opinion). Is the manner in which we view ourselves and our ability the key? Can the system help us see
opportunity and ability?
On July 5, 2016, WorkCompCentral (WCC) ran an interesting article, Embattled AMA Guides Editor Tries to
Rise Above the Squabble. The article describes Dr. Christopher Brigham as a "polarizing figure in workers'
compensation." He is said to have "outspoken admirers for his work on impairment and disability assessment."
But to also have "earned equally vocal detractors." The discussion is largely centered on his work "developing
the sixth edition of the American Medical Association Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment."
In MMI and Other Artificial Distinctions, Florida Workers’ Comp Adjudication blog, May 4, 2016, the role of
impairment ratings and guides was discussed. Essentially, workers' compensation systems have struggled to
find a method by which a worker can be fairly (what is fair is a question of opinion also) compensated for the
effects of an accidental injury at work (that "accidental" point alone is the subject of much debate, but that is for
another day). In order to provide compensation, our systems struggle with compensating loss of earnings
(financial) or loss of capacity (function). And, in workers’ compensation and other injury law, the concept of a
permanent impairment rating (PIR) has become engrained and indispensable. If function is to be compensated,
then there must be some methodology for determining function.
And the law has drawn physicians into this process; because there has to be a process. Is the medical
perspective on ability the most persuasive in terms of determining financial compensation? Should the
vocational perspective play a role, and if so to what extent? This also is a topic for another day. The point is that
the law, through a process of compromise and contention, has arrived at the current reliance on PIR.
Such medical determinations have historically been criticized. One side of the debate is interested in a PIR
that is as low as possible, as that perhaps minimizes financial exposure. Another perspective is interested the
highest possible PIR as that maximizes damages (and some argue maximizes attorney commissions). And, both
sides of the debate have even been heard to aspire to the "best science" for such determinations, but they cannot
agree on what the "best science" is. Each side is seemingly enamored with the particular science that results in
their own desired PIR guide outcome, generally lower or higher. WCC concluded, for example, that "plaintiffs'
attorneys care, though, because higher ratings correlate to higher payments for their clients." And while that
may be a valid conclusion, the inverse motivation of employers for "lower ratings" and "lower payments" might
be equally defensible.
The WCC article notes that some see the AMA Guides 6th as a drive to lower PIR. The Sixth Edition has led
to debate and litigation. See As Florida Waits, Commonwealth Court Holds Penslyvania Statute
Unconstitutional, Florida Workers’ Comp Adjudication blog, September 20, 2015. But Dr. Brigham says that
there was no intention to lower PIRs. He says that the "AMA Guides aren't concerned with whether ratings rise
or fall as long as they are up to date with medical and scientific research."
Continued, Page 10.
August 2016
NAWCJ - Lex and Verum
Page 9
The Conversation, from Page 9.
He explains that the intent is to have a PIR that "seems to make
sense." Dr. Brigham contends that this latest effort is driven by
science. Would the editors of prior editions concede the purported
scientific superiority of the 6th, or did they have equal confidence
in the scientific foundation of the 2nd, 3rd, etc.?
Perhaps the criticism of the 6th is driven by the change in
method. One physician says the Fifth Edition "was an evolution of
what was created in the early 1970s. The sixth is like a revolution,
because it's based on prior versions, but it's a whole new
approach." And the criticisms, some say, are based not on the
science of disability, but on the financial impact. Change is hard,
and dramatic change is really hard.
Dr. Brigham says that the Sixth Edition "bases its impairment
rating on a diagnosis that creates a baseline level of impairment,
which is then lowered or raised 'based on consideration of
function, which is often the subjective response of a patient.'" He
says that this "blends physical examination findings with clinical
studies." He sees this as providing a measure of objectivity and
consistency with a measure of subjectivity and discretion. It
seems, from his perspective, that the Sixth Edition is a
compromise.
Dr. Brigham says that the Guides have been criticized for "bias
toward the employer, bias toward the worker, a wide variability of
assigned ratings among practitioners, lack of content validity,
failure to reflect true or perceived functional loss, inconsistency
and ambiguity in definitions, and poor predictive capability, to
name a few." And he describes a process of consensus. Dr.
Brigham says that there are disagreements among doctors as to
approach and conclusions. So, the Guides result from a
deliberative process among people (albeit very smart people)
without unanimous consensus as to the "right" answers. In short,
it appears that there is no mathematical equation. Ultimately,
there are differences of opinion and disagreements as to what the
Guides should say. Then there are disagreements as to how they
should be interpreted.
This debate is much like other debates in our American
democracy. There are perspectives and beliefs. Virtually everyone
involved is willing to concede that it is possible that science can
guide the debate, but then the debate seems to evolve into "which"
or "whose" science. And, according to WCC, we then see the
involvement of advocacy groups. The story notes that recently
"consumer advocacy group Public Citizen sent a letter to the U.S.
Department of Labor." It advocates that the government reverse
course and quit using the 6th Edition. And some would question
what Public Citizen's motivation might be. Is it science or is it
money?
Continued, Page 11.
August 2016
2016 NAWCJ
Board of
Directors
Hon. R. Karl Aumann, 2014-16
Maryland Workers’ Compensation
Commission
Hon. T. Scott Beck, 2014-16
South Carolina Workers’
Compensation Commission
Hon. Melodie Belcher, 2014-16
Georgia State Board of Workers’
Compensation
Hon. LuAnn Haley, 2015-17
Industrial Commission of Arizona
Hon. Sheral Kellar, 2014-16
Louisiana Workforce Commission
Hon. David Langham, 2015-17
Florida Office of Judges of
Compensation Claims
Hon. John J. Lazzara, 2014-16
Past-President 2008-10
Florida Office of Judges of
Compensation Claims
Hon. Ellen Lorenzen, 2014-16
Past-President, 2010-12
Florida Office of Judges of
Compensation Claims
Hon. Deneise Turner Lott, 2015-17
Mississippi Workers’ Compensation
Commission
Hon. Frank McKay 2015-17
Georgia State Board of Workers’
Compensation
Hon. Bruce Moore 2015-17
Kansas Department of Labor, Division
of Workers’ Compensation
Hon. Kenneth Switzer 2015-17
Tennessee Court of Compensation
Claims
Hon. Jane Rice Williams, 2015-17
Kentucky Department of Workers’
Claims
NAWCJ - Lex and Verum
Page 10
The Conversation, from Page 10.
This WCC discussion of Dr. Brigham, ability,
disability, and PIR is interesting in the context of the
National Conversation on workers' compensation.
Returning to the points listed above, the relevant
issue in the Third Priority Group is perhaps "lawyers
in the system." This, like the others, may be a matter
of perspective. Years ago, I read results from a survey
regarding how Americans feel about attorneys. This
was a study in which one group was asked what they
disliked most about attorneys generally, and a similar
group was asked what they liked or admired the most
about their own attorney. As I remember the gist, the
list of attributes from each group was very similar.
What is not admired in the profession may be the
most admired in our own advocate.
In the end, there will be lawyers in the system.
There will be lobbyists, interest groups, vendors,
suppliers, payers, workers, and more. There are a
multitude of perspectives and opinions. And in the
end, they will matter most in shaping what workers'
compensation will be.
The flaws in the various workers' compensation
systems are apparent. The National Conversation is
making strides in both identification and suggesting
solutions. But, the fact remains that advocates will be
involved. Interest groups will be involved. People
will perhaps tend to act in their own best interest.
When they do, we all have to be willing to say so.
And, in the end there will be various compromises
and curiosities. The reason that no system can be
perfect is simply that none of us can agree on what
"perfect" means. Certainly, we could all be rational,
reasonable, compromise, and just agree to do it my
way. Certainly, that would be the most logical path.
But, I somehow doubt that is any more likely than us
all agreeing to build a system exactly like you would
prefer.
So, the real solution in my opinion is that there be
more discussion. The solution will never be "perfect"
from every perspective. We will disagree, debate, and
even hurt feelings. But if we could all agree that we
need a system that is effective, and agree to both
listen and speak, perhaps we have a chance to make a
system all that it can be, while admitting that it may
never be "perfect."
August 2016
THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION
JUDICIARY
APPLICATION FOR ASSOCIATE
MEMBERSHIP
THE NAWCJ ASSOCIATE MEMBERSHIP YEAR IS 12 MONTHS
FROM YOUR APPLICATION MONTH. ASSOCIATE MEMBERSHIP
DUES ARE $250 PER YEAR.
NAME:________________________________________
DATE: ____/____/____
FIRM OR BUSINESS:
______________________________________________
______________________________________________
PROFESSIONAL ADDRESS:
______________________________________________
______________________________________________
PROFESSIONAL E-MAIL:
______________________________________________
ALTERNATE E-MAIL: ___________________________
PROFESSIONAL TELEPHONE: ____________________
FAX: _________________________________________
HOW DID YOU LEARN ABOUT NAWCJ?
______________________________________________
______________________________________________
______________________________________________
Mail your application and check to:
Kathy Shelton, P.O. Box 200, Tallahassee, FL 32302
850.425.8156; Email: [email protected]
NAWCJ - Lex and Verum
Page 11
Dallas Summit
Final Report
By Robert Wilson
The purpose of the 2016 Workers' Compensation Summit held in Dallas, TX on May 11 and 12, 2016 was to
begin a conversation for positive change by identifying areas where the potential for consensus exists; the goal
of all changes would be to make the workers’ compensation system more efficient, affordable, and fair to both
employers and workers. A more efficient system with less burdensome regulation should ultimately improve
outcomes for both injured workers and those who employ them. The importance of workers’ compensation was
best stated by a Florida appellate judge decades ago, he said “workers’ compensation is a very important field
of law, if not the most important. It touches more lives than any other field of the law. It involves the payments
of huge sums of money. The welfare of human beings, the success of business, and the pocketbooks of
consumers are affected daily by it.” - Judge E.R. Mills, Singletary v.
Mangham Construction, 418 So.2d 1138 (Fla. 1st DCA 1982). In 1972 a
national commission was established concordant with the birth of the
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The findings of
that commission noted that “In recent years serious questions have been
raised concerning the fairness and adequacy of present workers’
compensation laws in the light of the growth of the economy, the changing
nature of the labor force, increases in medical knowledge, changes in the
hazards associated with various types of employment, new technology
creating new risks to health and safety, and increases in the general level of wages and the cost of living.” The
march of technology and the ever changing nature of our workplace are as evident today. Though there is much
discussion of change, and perhaps of national standards or federal control, the state-based workers’
compensation systems, while improvements may be required, remains the most acceptable means of addressing
work injuries. The following topics have been identified as worthy of further discussion and consideration.
Overview
This report represents the final output from the Dallas meeting of the 2016 Workers’ Compensation Summit,
but is in no way intended to represent the final point of discussion regarding the “National Conversation” the
Summit was designed to kick off. The group is continuing with its activities, with the next meeting scheduled
for August 21, 2016, in Orlando, Florida. Additionally, it is hoped other groups will build from this effort,
discussing the foundational work done here as well as building towards a greater consensus for positive change.
The lists below represent the 29 main friction points, or “Imperative Issues” identified by the Summit attendees.
These have been published previously. This report, however, is intended to prioritize these issues in a manner
that makes them more manageable. The issues are listed in three separate “Priority Groups,” ranked in
importance by a survey of the Summit attendees. We have also identified 3 prominent priority issues for
workers’ compensation, based on the voting pattern of the participants. We have listed them separately in order
to emphasize their importance to the industry. It is our hope that this report will bring a bit more clarity to the
work of the Summit, as well as the ongoing National Conversation on Workers’ Compensation.
Continued, Page 13.
August 2016
NAWCJ - Lex and Verum
Page 12
Dallas Summit from Page 12.
3 Top Priority Issues for Workers’ Comp
1. Benefit adequacy
2. Regulatory complexity
3. Delays in treatment even if injury is compensable
First Priority Group: TOP 11
 Benefit adequacy
 Regulatory complexity brings cost and does not contribute to the
delivery of benefits
 Delays in treatment even if compensable
 System failures
 Incentive is different in WC and group health
 Systems are persistently adversarial
 Staffing and training of the workers’ compensation professions
 Permanent partial compensation
 Opt out movement
 Injured workers beliefs - not informed or uninformed
assumptions
 Are treatment protocols a benefit or a burden
Second Priority Group: MIDDLE 10
 Perceptions and education
 Vocational rehabilitation has been a failure
 Ability versus disability
 Methodology of claims handling
 Medical ignorance
 What is the critical point that causes a case to go over-the-edge?
 Data illustrates people who are acting inappropriately, but then
nothing happens
 Misclassification
 Unrealistic expectation of full recovery and youth Federalization
Third Priority Group: BOTTOM 8
 Is it time for a new national commission?
 Employee not represented in the conversation (not injured)
 Occupational disease
 Lawyers in the system
 Competition between states
 Roles and delineation
 Colorado proposal for single payer
 There is a question about whether there are outliers
2016 Workers’ Compensation Summit. The Conversation Continues.
__________
Robert Wilson is the CEO of WorkersCompensation.com and a nationally
known blogger and speaker.
August 2016
Thanks to
our 2016
Moot Court
Judges!
Michael Alvey (KY)
Wilbur Anderson (FL)
Diane Beck (FL)
Scott Beck (SC)
Melodie Belcher (GA)
Shannon Bishop (LA)
Roland Case (KY)
Robert Dietz (FL)
Elizabeth Elwin (ME)
Iliana Forte (FL)
Angela Gibbs (VA)
LuAnn Haley (AZ)
William Holley (FL)
Ralph Humphries (FL)
Melody James (SC)
John Lazzara (FL)
Daniel Lewis (FL)
Dwight Lovan (KY)
Wesley Marshall (VA)
Johnny Mason (GA)
Bruce Moore (KS)
Neal Pitts (FL)
Dana Plunkett (VA)
Thomas Sculco (FL)
Margaret Sojourner (FL)
Bob Swisher (KY)
James Szablewicz (VA)
Jack Weiss (FL)
Jane Williams (KY)
Nolan Winn (FL)
NAWCJ - Lex and Verum
Page 13
Book Note
Is Heroism the Standard?
by David B. Torrey
Christina Crosby, A Body, Undone: Living on After Great Pain (NYU Press 2016).
A common theme in workers’ compensation disability literature is that injured workers should be expected to
rehabilitate themselves and eventually return to work, regardless of the severity of disability. We look forward
to workers’ recoveries. This idea is passively recognized in the Pennsylvania Act where, beyond specific loss,
we have no categories of permanent disability, either partial or total. The most seriously disabled worker can
always be subject to reduction to time-limited partial disability (500 weeks), by the
employer showing job availability.
In the pre-compromise settlement days, one vendor of job placement services
proudly announced that he could place total quadriplegics in work via the provision
of voice recognition software and work-at-home arrangements. When workers did
not pursue such efforts, insurers would petition for forfeiture of total disability and
resolution to partial. This type of strategy generated significant blow-back. Judge
Pellegrini, of Commonwealth Court, for one, harshly rejected the idea that
individuals’ private homes should be turned into employer field offices. Meanwhile,
a distinguished physician addressing the assembled WCJs wondered out loud, “is
heroism the standard?”
That was a memorable admonition. After all, advocates of rehabilitation and return
to work routinely promote the examples of the actor Christopher Reeves, and of
catastrophically-injured wounded soldiers, who show astonishing resiliency, never
complain, rehabilitate themselves, and are restored to productive lives.
These individuals are indeed heroes. As the doctor’s admonition inquires, however, is everyone who is
catastrophically injured expected to respond in this courageous manner?
In this new memoir, A Body, Undone, this expectation is questioned. The author, Christina Crosby, sustained
a severe spinal cord injury at age 50, in the midst of a vigorous bike ride. Now 61, she is paralyzed from the
chest down and is wheel-chair bound, though she is able to move her arms and can grasp items like the pages of
a book. Crosby knows all about the heroism narratives, but she is intent on setting aside that model and telling
the reader what it is really like to live as a quadriplegic.
What unfolds is a literate, memorable account that will edify anyone who, like workers’ compensation
professionals, operate on the edge of the struggles encountered by those with serious impairment and disability.
Crosby, an English Professor at Wesleyan University, and a lesbian with a dear long-time partner, before her
2003 injury led an active – no, downright robust – life. She was a serious bicyclist, motorcyclist, and an
academic leader at her university. Her memoir is a literate reflection on loss – of physical prowess, sexual
pleasure, and mobility and independence. In addition, as the book’s subtitle foreshadows, hers is an account of
living with chronic neuropathic pain which never leaves her, and which is a constant reminder of the
catastrophic injury which forever changed her life. Her description of chronic pain (always a challenge, given
pain’s subjective nature), is found in the chapter, “Falling into Hell.”
Continued, Page 15.
August 2016
NAWCJ - Lex and Verum
Page 14
P.O. Box 200, Tallahassee, FL 32302; 850.425.8156 Fax 850.521-0222
National Association of Workers’ Compensation
Judiciary
The book has strong Pennsylvania connections. Crosby grew up in Huntingdon, a
mountain town 120 miles due east of Pittsburgh, where her parents taught at Juniata
College. She undertook her undergraduate studies at Swarthmore, and her brother
was a lawyer living in Lititz and practicing in Lancaster. Although Crosby now
lives in Middletown, CT (where she returned to part-time teaching two years after
the accident), Pennsylvania is a major referent throughout the book.
The author’s relationship with her cherished brother is a major subject of the
book. And an overwhelming irony in this connection exists. In this regard, when her
brother, Jeff Crosby, was in law school, he developed MS, and while he enjoyed a
productive legal career (at Gibbel, Kraybill & Hess), and family life, he ultimately
deteriorates and becomes crippled and wheelchair bound. At about that time,
Crosby experiences her own catastrophic injury, and the two are wheelchair bound
together. Crosby, who always lamented her brother’s situation, now experiences it
herself. He dies just a couple years later, at age 49, causing further grief.
Crosby reflects on her life and losses from multiple angles. She considers the
early death, from melanoma, of her friend John (a fellow competitive bicyclist); the
working conditions of the devoted African-American CNA who, along with the
author’s partner, assists in her care; her upbringing as a member of the Church of
the Brethren; her enjoyment of alcohol; how her sexual life has been altered; and
even the life-long pleasures – now restricted, like everything else – that she has
enjoyed from the company of her beloved dogs.
Through it all, Crosby carries out the promise of telling the reader about what it’s
like to be quadriplegic. Much of this account, as I have noted above, is about loss,
and how strange it has been to go from an over-the-top lifestyle to highly restricted
mobility. She also reviews the chronic lack of hope, and anxiety about the future,
from which she suffers. The prospect of geriatric life as a quadriplegic is something
that haunts her constantly. (It is notable to this writer, however, that the word
“depression” does not seem to appear in this memoir.) Crosby also does not mince
words: her book features an entire chapter on what it is like to have no control over
one’s bowels, and the physical and mental discomfort that such a malady causes.
While Crosby is back to work, an essential element of her life and being, and has
hence experienced some level of recovery, I am not sure she considers herself a
hero. In fact, her whole point is that the heroism narrative is largely flawed. In any
event, her constant message throughout is that she has had immense support, paid
and volunteer, from the first day of her accident to the present. She also had the
solid grounding of family and religion (enabling philosophical reflection); and an
education (permitting return to sedentary work); that better equip her to deal with
her dire situation. Finally, she had, and has, the devoted care of her partner, whose
love and sacrifices are invaluable.
Of course, all catastrophically injured people don’t have this advantageous
profile. It is for this reason that the heroism narrative of resilience and recovery is so
challenged.
The book ends on a note of optimism, as the author depicts her first realization,
during her 42-week-long rehabilitation, that she is able to turn the pages of a book.
That development was a critical one for the author – an English professor – and it led
her to exclaim, “I have my life back!” She, along with her partner and caregivers,
burst into tears. Perhaps this scene will move you like it did me.
NAWCJ
A Body Undone, from Page 14.
Continued, Page 16.
June 2016
NAWCJ - Lex and Verum
Page 15
The Conversation, from Page 15.
Is heroism the standard? I don’t believe so myself. Some have advantages, some do not. Yet, as far as I am
concerned, Crosby is, indeed, a hero. She has endured and enlightened us all in authoring this unforgettable
memoir of disability – and yes, of recovery.
_________
* David B. Torrey is a Workers’ Compensation Judge in Pittsburgh, PA, and is Adjunct Professor of Law at the
University of Pittsburgh School of Law. He is a member of the NAWCJ Board of Directors and past president of the
NAWCJ.
Judiciary College 2016
August 21-24, 2016
Featuring Live Performance by Third Eye Blind
“I wish you would step back
from that ledge my friend,
You could cut ties with all the
lies, that you’ve been living in,
And if you do not want to see
me again, I would understand.
I would understand.”
The NAWCJ Judiciary College Welcomes
Heisman Trophy Winner Charlie Ward
5th Annual Prayer Breakfast
Monday, August 22, 2016
Separate Registration required - $50.00
Proceeds benefit Give Kids’ the World
August 2016
NAWCJ - Lex and Verum
Page 16
th
Summary of the 68 Annual
SAWCA Convention
By: Hon. Shannon Bruno Bishop
This year, SAWCA held its convention, titled “Innovation…Driving The Future of Workers’ Compensation” at
the Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort in Destin, Florida. Allow me to provide a summary of the five-day event
that included interesting topics and discussions had by state regulators, judges, attorneys, medical providers,
and other stakeholders.
Leadership Forum:
The first day began with several roundtable discussions. The State Medical Directors discussed issues of
concern in their jurisdictions. Attendees voiced common issues that included the lack of fee schedules in their
states, the timeliness of carriers paying bills, and the requirement for medical providers to submit bills
electronically. A hot topic that was discussed (over the course of the entire convention) was opioid over-use,
over-prescribing, and addiction. One statistic showed that Primary Care Physicians (PCP) prescribe 70% of
opioid prescriptions in Tennessee. However, a common problem in many states is the lack of monitoring. Thus,
several attendees suggested that it be mandatory for physicians to enroll in a Controlled Substance Monitoring
Database (CSMD) or a Prescription Drug Management Program (PDMP) wherein physicians would be required
to check the database prior to prescribing opioids. Attendees recognized that until something is done on a
federal/national level, the statewide efforts are of limited effect. One of the doctors attending the forum
explained that PCPs are not trained on pain management. Thus, leaders also recommended educating
prescribers by instituting mandatory physician education that would include alternative treatments, supply limits
and family safety.
Regulator’s Roundtable:
Roger Williams, Commissioner and SAWCA Past President, moderated the Regulator’s Roundtable, which
consisted of 22 regulators who discussed hot topics in their jurisdictions. Some of those topics included:
VA – fee schedule and mandatory e-billing
GA – Opioid epidemic; medical providers’ delays in receiving pre-authorization
TX – formulary did not address compounds so there are problems with approval
CO – no uninsured workers fund; many states don’t have one so if a worker is injured without workers’
compensation then there is no recovery – example from Colorado of the security guard who was killed in the
course of his employment. No workers’ compensation insurance left his wife and three children with no means
of recovery.
TN – new drug formulary and new treatment guidelines
MD – the state is updating/modernizing its electronic system to sustain its paperless operation
FL – employer compliance laws must be implemented with penalties for non-compliance; latest Florida
Supreme Court decision wherein the Supreme Court held that the mandatory attorney fee schedule is
unconstitutional.
KY – stress on the system because the state is down 6 ALJs; it can’t fill the positions, but the agency must move
the cases
Continued, Page 18.
August 2016
NAWCJ - Lex and Verum
Page 17
SAWCA, from Page 17.
LA – Opioid overuse/over prescribing; the state needs a closed drug formulary; Medical Treatment Guidelines
have cut time of litigation in half because no medical treatment issues at the trial. However, the guidelines are
under constitutional attack.
WV – budget issues
MS – budget issues
DC – working on electronic filing
The panelists also discussed the new OSHA regulations, which take effect August 10, 2016. Employers must
not discourage employees from reporting on-the-job injuries. Thus, OSHA regulations will penalize employers
who require post-accident drug and alcohol test with fines up to $124,000. If a state has a drug-free work
program, they may escape being penalized. Attorneys in the audience noted that the intoxication defense is in
jeopardy by preventing employers from drug and alcohol testing.
Panelists also discussed insurance coverage by private health versus workers’ compensation – when the
injured employee is stuck in the middle (a reference to Judge Langham’s article in the July issue of Lex &
Verum).
Technology’s Impact on Medical Care
The moderator of this session stressed, “the move to going digital is afoot.” Panelists discussed how technology
is having an impact on pain management, mental health, injury diagnosis, access to care, safety and injury
prevention, return to work, medication adherence, and communications.
Robotics & Technological Awareness
The speaker of this session explained that robotics and technology are shaping the future. For example, sensory
substitution includes tongue mapping or painting an image on the tongue that sends the image to the brain
allowing an individual to see. Other technology included the Lunar Electric Rover (LER) – the moon car;
Natural Language Dialogue Systems – a more advanced version of “Siri,” Legged Locomotion, and Exoseleton
Research. Attendees took a very interesting look at the DARPA Virtual Robotics Challenge that featured the
IHMC robot named “Atlas” or “Running Man.” This robot, as well as the exoskeleton research, has been very
helpful in providing a new start to individuals who are paralyzed by allowing them to walk and move their arms
again.
Telemedicine – Expert care is just a screen away
Telehealth allows doctors to examine and treat patients remotely in real time, using online streaming video
technology and interactive tools. Telehealth provides remote patient monitoring, personalized intervention,
behavior modification, daily health sessions, health coaching, targeted education, and patient empowerment.
The benefits include remote patient monitoring, cost effectiveness, reduction of absenteeism and increased
productivity and employee satisfaction.
The U.S. Air Force Air Commandos – Innovation in Practice
General Secord and Major Lou Craffeo (Air Force Special Operations Command) discussed their experience
and wowed the crowd with videos that showed their use of advanced equipment and personnel to provide
security to America. They informed the crowd that gunship crews and aircrafts have been deployed nonstop
since 2011. Major Graffeo stated that “when you wake up in the morning, know that you are being protected.”
Medical Marijuana…Beyond the Obvious
Paul Tauriello from Colorado cited some interesting statistics from Colorado, where it is legal for adults over
the age of 21 to possess marijuana. Statistics show that there are 520 marijuana retail locations; 781 marijuana
cultivation operations; 225 marijuana infused products; 421 marijuana stores; $486 million in marijuana
revenue in 2015 and $1.2 billion estimated marijuana revenue for 2016.
Continued, Page 19.
August 2016
NAWCJ - Lex and Verum
Page 18
SAWCA, from Page 18.
Panelists expressed concern that there is no
knowledge and no research on the effects of
marijuana. In fact, marijuana is a schedule 1 drug,
along with LSD and heroin. There are fears of
absenteeism, though one study suggested workers
under the influence of marijuana are less likely to
miss work. Panelists and attendees expressed their
disapproval with the idea of employees being “high”
while on the job.
The SAWCA Convention was informative and
enjoyable! The sessions included well-informed
moderators and speakers who engaged the audience
on current and future issues faced in the workers’
compensation arena. Past attendees commented that
the convention gets better and better each year, so
mark your calendars, because the 69th Annual
SAWCA Convention will be held in beautiful
Pinehurst, North Carolina, July 10-14, 2017.
Judiciary College
2015!
__________
Judge Bruno Bishop serves in New Orleans, Louisiana.
She is a member of the Lex and Verum Editorial Board.
Her complete biography is on page 43.
What are the hottest
issues in workers’
compensation today?
The National Conversation
Reconvenes in Orlando
August 21, 2016
Review the Issues on pages 1213 and contact the NAWCJ with
your thoughts on issues,
priorities, and solutions.
The NAWCJ is part of the
National Conversation, and you
should be too.
August 2016
NAWCJ - Lex and Verum
Page 19
THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION
OF WORKERS’ COMPENSATION JUDICIARY
APPLICATION FOR MEMBERSHIP
THE NAWCJ MEMBERSHIP YEAR IS 12 MONTHS FROM YOUR APPLICATION MONTH. MEMBERSHIP DUES ARE $75 PER YEAR OR
$195 FOR 3 YEARS. IF 5 OR MORE APPLICANTS FROM THE SAME ORGANIZATION, AGENCY OR TRIBUNAL JOIN AT THE SAME TIME,
ANNUAL DUES ARE REDUCED TO $60 PER YEAR PER APPLICANT.
NAME: ____________________________________________________________________ DATE: ____/____/____
OFFICIAL TITLE: _________________________________________________________________________________
ORGANIZATION: _________________________________________________________________________________
PROFESSIONAL ADDRESS:
______________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________
PROFESSIONAL E-MAIL:
______________________________________________________________________
ALTERNATE E-MAIL:
______________________________________________________________________
PROFESSIONAL TELEPHONE: ________________________________FAX:__________________________________
YEAR FIRST APPOINTED OR ELECTED: ______________________________________________________________
CURRENT TERM EXPIRES:
_____________________________________________________________________
HOW DID YOU LEARN ABOUT NAWCJ: _____________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________________________
DESCRIPTION OF JOB DUTIES / QUALIFICATIONS FOR MEMBERSHIP:
________________________________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________________________
IN WHAT WAY WOULD YOU BE MOST INTERESTED IN SERVING THE NAWCJ:
________________________________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________________________
Mail your application and check to:
August 2016
Kathy Shelton, P.O. Box 200, Tallahassee, FL 32302
850.425.8156; Email: [email protected]
NAWCJ - Lex and Verum
Page 20
WorkCompCentral Founder
Dead at 56
Founder David DePaolo was riding his motorcycle - a Honda 250cc
that he had nicknamed "The Sewing Machine" - in the Santa Monica
Mountains near Malibu Hills, California, on Sunday, July 17, 2016. He
veered right into the shoulder of Yerba Buena Road, hitting a dirt
embankment shortly after 4 p.m., according to the California Highway
Patrol.
The cause of the accident and DePaolo's death have not been
published.
DePaolo's sudden departure shocked workers' compensation
professionals, many of whom had known him as a Southern California
defense attorney before he launched WorkCompCentral in 1999.
Mark Walls, vice president for communications and strategic analysis
at Safety National, said in a post on LinkedIn that DePaolo was a
"champion for positive change in the workers' compensation industry." "Dave challenged the status quo and
questioned things that didn't make sense," Walls said. "You may not have always agreed with Dave, but you
had to always respect him for speaking his mind and having the best intentions."
DePaolo obtained a Juris Doctor from Pepperdine University School of Law in 1984, a Masters in Business
Administration from California Lutheran University in 1997 and a Bachelor of Arts in English from San Diego
State University in 1981. He practiced as a workers' compensation defense attorney for Miller & Folse, Adelson
Testan Brundo & Popalardo, and as a sole practitioner, before founding WorkCompCentral.
DePaolo is survived by his wife, Anne; daughter, Nichole; and son, Anthony.
From Bob's Cluttered Desk
Godspeed David DePaolo; You Were What Was
Right in Workers' Comp,
and Your Voice Will Be Missed
By Bob Wilson
David DePaolo was an oversized personality packed into a thin and agile frame. He was passionate and
robust, yet reflective and compassionate. He was both funny and deadly serious. He was one of a kind. David’s
death is a tragic loss for his family, his company, and the industry he served.
David DePaolo, founder, president and CEO of WorkCompCentral, died Sunday while riding his motorcycle
in Malibu Hills. He was 56 years old.
Continued, Page 22.
August 2016
NAWCJ - Lex and Verum
Page 21
DePaolo, from Page 21.
I saw David this past Friday, when we presented at the CCWC Conference in Anaheim. He was his usual
jovial self, wearing his trademark wild sneakers designed by Dwight Johnson, an injured worker he often
championed. I was supposed to have dinner with him Thursday, but a last minute schedule change prevented me
from arriving in time. It is a lost opportunity I now deeply regret. My last communication with David was
Saturday morning, when he responded to a Facebook post I made regarding troubles with my Friday flight
home. He replied in his usual lighthearted and friendly manner, saying, “Bob - you should have just hung with
me, take a trip to Catalina in 41Mike, and gone out Saturday...” 41Mike was his beloved airplane, and I would
have been more than happy to oblige. I responded with “Now you tell me. Next time, you're on! Good seeing
you - albeit briefly.”
I am sad to know I will never have the opportunity to make good on that offer.
But the loss is much greater than the personal feelings for a competitor I grew to like and respect over the
years. David DePaolo lived life to the fullest, and his robust character, brash honesty and unquestioned integrity
have forever and indelibly influenced our industry for the better. His loss is a tremendous one for workers’
compensation.
Exemplifying David’s passion towards our industry, one needs look no further than the CompLaude Awards.
CompLaude is an annual effort created by DePaolo to recognize top achievers in our industry. It recognizes
people from all sectors of comp, including injured workers; people who have achieved beyond the expected
results normally seen in the realm of workplace injuries. David felt strongly that the workers’ compensation
industry needs to highlight the good things we accomplish, and fight the persistent negative image cast upon us
by external forces and bad players within the industry. He was right to insist on that – and David DePaolo was
one of the good things workers’ comp needs to celebrate.
David was unique among industry bloggers because he wrote with a special human interest; he invited us into
his home and shared his family with us, all while gearing the overall message to one applicable in workers’
comp. We became acquainted with his parents, following the lives of both his father and mother, through the
aging process and related ailments to their ultimate passing. We celebrated their love and suffered his loss, all
because David willingly invited us in and made us feel at home.
David and I spoke occasionally about the odd series of coincidences that seemed to follow us as our online
careers proceeded. We both launched information sites for the workers’ comp industry in 1999. We both started
successful blogs around the same time. We both dealt with parents with dementia, and lost them in similar
timelines. We both, unknown to one another, had special needs cats, and each blogged about them on the very
same day. And we had a great time presenting on bloggers panels all over the country. I will miss him on those
– and I’m not the only one.
I can’t help but wonder what our industry will do to remember this man and honor his many contributions.
David was a passionate advocate of encouraging young people to join the industry, recognizing that they are
needed desperately in our ranks. He interned law students and mentored them in this process. He was adamant
that the industry should do more to entice and encourage young people to join the workers’ compensation
industry.
Continued, Page 23.
August 2016
NAWCJ - Lex and Verum
Page 22
DePaolo, from Page 22.
And he was right in doing so. I suspect that resolve should be part of the
foundation for his legacy. Perhaps a David DePaolo Scholarship Fund
could be established to encourage young people to study, learn and fill
the jobs we have available. Whether it is conducted through Kids’
Chance or some other appropriate organization, it would be a fitting and
lasting tribute to a man who gave so much for the industry.
David, I can’t believe you are gone. The two of us have a long and
interesting history, and I, like the industry, am better off for having
known you in my life. You will be missed, my friend. Please know you
shall not be forgotten, and your legacy will survive.
Yes, David Depaolo was something that was most definitely right for
workers’ compensation.
Farewell, my friend.
Interesting
Workers’
Compensation
Blogs
DePaolo’s Work
Comp World
http://daviddepaolo.blogspot.com/
RIP David
Judiciary College 2015!
Workers’ Compensation
Institute
http://www.wci360.com/
Managed Care Matters
http://www.joepaduda.com/
Tennessee Court of
Compensation Claims
http://tennesseecourtofwcclaims.blogsp
ot.com/
Workers’ Compensation
http://workerscompensation.blogspot.com/
From Bob’s Cluttered
Desk
http://www.workerscompensation.com/
compnewsnetwork/from-bobscluttered-desk/
Workers’ Comp Insider
http://www.workerscompinsider.com/
Maryland Workers’
Compensation Blog
http://www.coseklaw.com/blog/
August 2016
NAWCJ - Lex and Verum
Page 23
Study: Fewer Painkillers Prescribed
when Medical Marijuana is Legal
By Elaine Goodman
Thursday, July 14, 2016
Legalizing marijuana for medical use may lead to a reduction in the number of prescriptions written for other
medications, including painkillers, according to a study released this month that looks at prescribing patterns for
Medicare patients. And the shift in prescribing resulted in an estimated $165 million in savings for the Medicare
system in 2013, according to the study by researchers in the Department of Public Administration and Policy at
the University of Georgia. The study appears in this month’s edition of the Journal Health Affairs. “Our
research suggests that more widespread state approval of medical marijuana could provide modest budgetary
relief,” the authors wrote. They said their study is the first to look at the clinical impact of making medical
marijuana available.
The researchers, the father-daughter team of W. David Bradford and Ashley C. Bradford, looked at the
prescribing of drugs for which marijuana could serve as a clinical alternative. They examined prescription drugs
used to treat nine categories of conditions: pain, anxiety, depression, glaucoma, nausea, psychosis, seizures,
sleep disorders and spasticity.
Prescriptions for most of those drugs fell significantly in states that implemented medical marijuana laws, the
study found. In contrast, a change in prescribing pattern was not seen for classes of drugs for which medical
marijuana is not generally thought of as a treatment alternative, including antibiotics and blood thinners.
The researchers used data on prescriptions filled by Medicare Part D enrollees from 2010 to 2013.
Only two of the nine drug categories — those used to treat glaucoma or spasticity — didn't show a decrease in
prescribing in response to medical marijuana laws. The largest drop in prescriptions after medical marijuana
laws were enacted was for painkillers, the study found. “It was really quite dramatic,” David Bradford said in a
phone interview.
Paul Tauriello, director of the Colorado Division of Workers’ Compensation, hadn’t yet read the University of
Georgia study, but noted that chronic pain and the use of opioid painkillers are big issues in workers’
compensation. “Whenever there’s a prospect for something that can provide benefits and not have the
downsides, we’re always interested,” he said.
Whether medical marijuana is such a solution remains to be seen, said Tauriello, who speaks frequently on the
topic of medical marijuana in workers’ comp. Clinical studies are needed to determine not only marijuana’s
effectiveness for treating particular conditions, but also what appropriate doses are and which cannabinoids
contained in marijuana are responsible for a given effect. “There is a real lack of clinical studies on medical
marijuana,” Tauriello said. “We’re just acting on a lot of people saying, ‘I know this helps me.’”
Continued, Page 25.
August 2016
NAWCJ - Lex and Verum
Page 24
Pain Killers, from Page 24.
Colorado approved marijuana for medical use in November 2000, and pot became
legal for recreational use in the state in January 2014. Colorado law does not require
health care insurers to pay for medical marijuana, but Tauriello said some workers’
comp payers appear to be doing so without publicizing the fact.
At the same time, Colorado has maintained strong laws on employers’ rights. A
worker may be fired for testing positive for marijuana, Tauriello said, and may even
lose temporary disability payments if he is found to have marijuana in his system at the
time of a work-related accident.
But now, Colorado employers who want to maintain a zero-tolerance policy for drugs
are finding it difficult to find employees who meet the drug-free criteria, Tauriello said.
Over the course of the study by the University of Georgia researchers, 17 states had
medical marijuana laws in place; as of last month, that number had grown to 24 states
and the District of Columbia.
The study used a “difference in differences” approach, looking at how much
prescribing of certain classes of drugs changed after states implemented medical
marijuana laws, compared to changes over the same period in states that did not legalize
medical marijuana.
The study didn’t determine to what degree patients turned to medical marijuana rather
than prescription drugs to treat certain conditions, and how much they spent on the
treatment. Bradford said more research is needed to answer those questions.
But the change in prescribing patterns following legalization of medical marijuana is
noteworthy, the researchers said. “We would like this to become part of the policy
conversation,” Bradford said.
WCAB Decision Clarifies That
CMS Approval of Set Asides Is
Voluntary
By Elaine Goodman
Thursday, July 14, 2016
Those who don’t see the value of asking the Centers for Medicare Services to approve
amounts set aside for future medical spending in workers’ comp settlements may get a
boost from a recent opinion by the California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board.
In the June 3 opinion, a WCAB panel rescinded a workers' compensation judge's order
approving a compromise and release signed by applicant Louis Alvarenga, and sent the
case back for a second look.
The opinion clarifies that CMS approval of the Medicare set-aside amounts is an
optional step and not required — a sometimes-confusing concept in workers’ comp.
But what is required, according to the WCAB panel opinion, is that the injured worker
be informed of the potential consequences of not obtaining CMS approval for the setasides when settling a case.
Continued, Page 26.
August 2016
NAWCJ - Lex and Verum
Page 25
CMS Approval, from Page 25.
Because the latter step wasn’t followed, WCAB
rescinded the settlement among Alvarenga and his
employer, Scope Industries; its insurer, Commerce &
Industry Insurance; and the claim administrator,
American International Group Claims. “It does not
appear that applicant was adequately advised of the
effect of the parties’ failure to conduct CMS review of
the MSA,” WCAB members wrote in the opinion.
“Applicant should be advised of the fact that CMS may
withhold future Medicare benefits if CMS deems the
settlement to be inadequate.”
The employer brought the case to the Appeals Board
after becoming concerned that CMS review of the
Medicare set-aside, which hadn’t been conducted, was
required in the settlement for the Medicare-age claimant.
Medicare will review set-aside amounts for settlements
exceeding $25,000; those preparing the settlement
initially thought the $25,000 threshold applied to the
medical portion of the settlement, which was less
than $25,000.
But the WCAB opinion noted that the issue wasn’t
relevant because “CMS does not actually require review
of any MSA agreements.” The WCAB panel said
another reason for rescinding the settlement was because
it was inadequate. The $39,000 settlement specified
$24,079 for the Medicare set-aside. But after $11,040 in
disability advances and $5,850 in attorney fees were
deducted, the claimant was left with just $22,110.
Roy Franco, chief client officer for Franco Signor, a
provider of Medicare secondary-payer services, said the
confusion about CMS’ review of Medicare set-asides
arises because CMS clearly states that its interests must
be protected in workers’ comp settlements. That is, CMS
doesn’t want Medicare to pay for service related to a
workplace injury, for which the employer should be
responsible.
Although the payer must cover medical costs for the
injury, asking CMS to determine what the future costs
will be has drawbacks, Franco said. The amounts CMS
calculates are unpredictable, he said; the agency’s
contractor may come back with different numbers for
the same condition at different times. “Because of the
inability to predict MSA values, the industry is moving
toward MSA products that do not need CMS approval
and submission,” Franco wrote in a blog post.
Gov. Nixon Announces
Former State Senator
Joseph Keaveny as
Workers’
Compensation
Judge
Governor Jay Nixon today announced that
former state Sen. Joseph P. Keaveny, of St.
Louis, has been named as a Workers’
Compensation Administrative Law Judge in St.
Louis. Administrative Law Judges have the
authority to approve settlements or issue awards
after a hearing relating to an injured worker’s
entitlement to permanent benefits allowed by
Missouri law.
Keaveny represented the 4th Senate District in
the Missouri Senate since December 2009 when
he was elected in a special election. He was
reelected to the seat in 2010 and 2014 and was
term limited.
Serving as Minority Floor Leader, Keaveny
also served as the chairman of the Progress and
Development Committee. He is an attorney with
the St. Louis firm of Weiss Attorneys at Law,
and obtained his undergraduate degree from the
University of Missouri St. Louis and his master’s
of business administration and his law degree
from Saint Louis University.
Continued, Page 27.
August 2016
NAWCJ - Lex and Verum
Page 26
CMS Approval, from Page 26.
The determination by CMS can’t be appealed, Franco said,
so the parties are giving up their due-process rights. In
contrast, if the parties to the settlement calculate a set-aside
amount using a reasonable basis and don’t submit it to CMS
for approval, it would be up to CMS to challenge the setaside if questions later arise, he said.
At the same time, the WCAB was clear that the claimant
needs to know the ramifications of bypassing CMS approval,
Franco said. “They don’t want the injured worker to all of a
sudden have his (Medicare) benefit suspended, and have no
idea why that happened,” Franco said.
Attorney Teddy Snyder, a workers’ compensation mediator
in Los Angeles, said awareness has grown that the CMS
review of Medicare set-asides is voluntary. But a lingering
misconception is that gaining CMS approval of the MSA
protects payers from future liability, she said. For example, if
a claimant spends his set-aside on something other than
medical treatment, Medicare still may call upon the workers’
comp payer to cover doctors’ bills related to the workplace
injury.
Regarding notification to the claimant of potential risks that
come with a settlement, Snyder said itemizing how the
money will be spent is a good idea. “In putting together
settlement agreements, you have to be specific about what’s
going to happen and who is going to bear risks,” Snyder said.
Thanks to our 2015
NAWCJ
Judiciary College
Sponsors:
Torrey-Greenberg
Pennsylvania Workers’
Compensation treatise, as
published by ThomsonReuters.
__________
The articles on pages 22-24, Study: Fewer Painkillers Prescribed
when Medical Marijuana is Legal and WCAB Decision Clarifies
That CMS Approval of Set Asides Is Voluntary, were originally
published on WorkCompCentral.com and are reprinted here with
permission. The NAWCJ gratefully acknowledges the
contributions of WorkCompCentral to the success of this
publication and the NAWCJ.
Humor from Everyday Life
By the Court: Is there any reason why you couldn't
serve as a juror in this case?
By a Potential Juror: I don't want to be away from my
job that long.
The Court: Can't they do without you at work?
Potential Juror: Yes, but I don't want them to know that.
August 2016
NAWCJ - Lex and Verum
Page 27
SAWCA Presents
Roundtable 2016!
By Hon. Melodie Belcher
Are you attending the NAWCJ College at WCI in Orlando? If so, you will likely want to attend SAWCA’s 6 th
Annual Regulator Roundtable on Monday from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Crystal Ballroom G1, Convention
Level! The Roundtable, hosted by the Southern Association of Workers’ Compensation Administrators, or
SAWCA, will be comprised of over 20 of the top agency leaders and judges from around the country.
These leaders will address topics of concern in the workers’ compensation world. This year we plan to
address the status of the “Grand Bargain,” that is, whether the workers’ compensation system today fairly
represents the trade-offs considered with the enactment of workers’ compensation laws in the early 1900’s. We
will tackle the always controversial topic of decriminalized marijuana, both medical and recreational.
The regulators will address the provision of marijuana to workers’ compensation claimants – where it is
mandated and how it is handled. The accompanying return to work and employment issues will also be
discussed. But that’s not all! The Roundtable will consider pharmacy formularies – Who has them and do they
work? We’ll also consider the efficacy of surgery. Is surgery the go to option when other, non-invasive methods
of handling injuries may be more effective? On the other hand, is delay in provision of medical care,
specifically authorization for recommended procedures, negatively impacting outcomes? We’ll address best
practices for adjusters and the agencies’ responsibility for ensuring that claims are handled appropriately both
by the agencies and by the carriers.
Of course, we will comment on the status and pros and cons of opt-out programs. The regulators will weigh in
on many more timely concerns – issues faced in the daily handling of claims as well as issues that challenge the
provision of workers’ compensation benefits on a national level. This is an opportunity for all of those attending
to witness frank discussion of tough issues that challenge the workers’ compensation systems across the
country.
Finally, relevant questions posed by audience members will be considered and discussed as well. This is an
opportunity to learn, to become current on the hot topics, and to have fun listening to an often spirited
discussion. See you at the Roundtable!
August 2016
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Latest Developments in State
Handling of AMA Guides
By Thomas A. Robinson, J.D
Currently, 32 states require physicians to use some edition of the American Medical Association’s Guides to the
Evaluation of Permanent Impairment (“Guides”) in making their assessments of permanent impairment for
injured workers. Of the remaining states, 15 more allow the use of Guides. Praised by some as providing at least
a somewhat objective basis for determining medical impairment, yet derided by others who argue that they are
the ultimate example of “cookbook medicine,” the Guides are nevertheless an important part of our medical
claims determination process.
Each June & July, as my colleague, Robin Kobayashi, and I pull together the annual edition of Occupational
Injuries and Illnesses (LexisNexis Matthew Bender), we comb through the reporters for appellate decisions in
which the AMA Guides have played a pivotal role. During the past year, Pennsylvania turned out to be the key
battleground states for the Guides, but there were important decisions from a number of other jurisdictions. I
have highlighted a few of those decisions below.
Pennsylvania:
WCJ should not conflate the qualifications of the medical expert with the persuasiveness of the expert’s
testimony.
IA Constr. Corp. v. Workers’ Comp. Appeal Bd. (Rhodes), 2016 Pa. LEXIS 1070 (May 25, 2016)
PROCEDURAL POSTURE: Appeal from an order of the Commonwealth Court that in turn had reversed an
order of the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board that affirmed a denial of the employer’s modification
petition.
OVERVIEW: In 2005, Claimant suffered injuries in a vehicular accident, while in the course of his employment
with the employer. In 2007, Claimant was awarded total disability benefits, where the WCJ found that Claimant
had sustained work-related injuries, including traumatic brain injury with organic affective changes, persistent
cognitive problems, memory impairment, posttraumatic headaches, posttraumatic vertigo or impaired balance,
and musculoskeletal or myofascial neck and back injuries. Several years later, the employer initiated a review of
Claimant’s impairment rating. The Bureau directed a physician to conduct an IRE. Following the examination,
the physician assigned a discrete impairment rating to each of Claimant’s conditions, which, together,
comprised the 34 percent “whole person impairment rating” under the Sixth Edition of the AMA Guides. At the
hearing, Claimant did not testify on his own behalf, nor did he present medical testimony or other evidence. The
WCJ denied Employer’s modification petition, rejecting the physician’s impairment rating opinion. Initially, the
WCJ expressed a concern that the doctor had inappropriately “lumped” an array of discrete injuries into three
categories. In the WCJ’s estimation, the physician’s assessment of cognition was an unduly limited one, since
he performed only a cursory examination and otherwise relied upon only a limited range of medical records.
The WCJ also noted that the physician specialized in physical medicine and pain management, not neurology,
and that she was not persuaded by his opinion. The Commonwealth Court reversed, finding that the physician
met the WCA’s stated qualifications for IRE physicians and that he had followed the prescribed methodology
for conducting the examination. Claimant appealed.
OUTCOME: Reversed and remanded.
August 2016
NAWCJ - Lex and Verum
Continued, Page 30.
Page 29
AMA Guides, from Page 29.
AMA GUIDES DISCUSSION: Emphasizing that with regard to expert medical testimony, one should not
conflate the qualifications of the expert with the persuasiveness of the expert’s testimony, the Supreme Court of
Pennsylvania reversed the Commonwealth Court, holding that a WCJ’s rejection of the expert medical opinion
of the IRE physician was authorized where the WCJ found the IRE’s opinion was underdeveloped and out-ofspecialty. The Supreme Court said certainly the physician was “qualified.” That did not mean, however, that his
testimony and reports were persuasive. The Court acknowledged that the WCJ could not base the
persuasiveness issue merely upon the fact that the expert was testifying out of his or her specialty. Here,
however, the physician apparently based his mental acuity determination after asking the claimant a few basic
questions, whereas the AMA Guides required a much more detailed mental status examination. The Court
added that to the degree that there was an element of unfairness associated with the Bureau’s handling of
individual IRE physician assignments, that was a systemic concern most appropriate to administrative and/or
legislative consideration.
Statute requiring physicians to utilize “the most recent” edition of the AMA’s Guides is an improper delegation
of legislative authority.
Protz v. Workers’ Comp. Appeal Bd. (Derry Area Sch. Dist.), appeal granted, in part, Protz v. Workers’ Comp.
Appeal Bd. (Derry Area Sch. Dist.), 133 A.3d 733 (Pa. 2016)
PROCEDURAL POSTURE: Claimant sought review of an order of the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board
affirming a decision by a Workers’ Compensation Judge that modified her benefits from total to partial
disability under § 306(a.2) of the state’s Workers’ Compensation Act.
OVERVIEW: Employer filed a request for designation of a physician to perform an impairment rating
evaluation (IRE), following which Jeffrey M. Moldovan, D.O., evaluated Claimant in October 2011 and
provided a ten-percent impairment rating under the Sixth Edition of the Guides. In April 2012, Employer filed a
modification petition, seeking to convert Claimant’s total disability benefits to partial disability benefits thereby
reducing the amount of compensation that would be paid to 500 weeks under § 306(a.2)(7) of the Act, 77 P.S.
§511.2(7) (“In no event shall the total number of weeks of partial disability exceed five hundred weeks for any
injury or recurrence thereof, regardless of the changes in status in disability that may occur….”). Claimant
argued, inter alia, that it was error to consider the 6th Edition of the Guides.
OUTCOME: In a sharply divided decision, the Commonwealth Court held that the statutory provision in §
306(a.2) of the state’s Workers’ Compensation Act [77 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 511.2] that requires physicians to utilize
“the most recent” edition of the Guides in determining the level of an injured employee’s permanent impairment
was an improper delegation of legislative authority and, accordingly, was unconstitutional. The majority noted
that in 1996, when the statute was modified to require the use of the AMA Guides, 4th Edition, the Legislature
had examined the Guides and determined that they conformed to public policy. Adopting subsequent editions as
the standard, without an examination and determination that they were consistent with the state’s interests was
improper, however. The majority noted that the Legislature could delegate authority and discretion in
connection with the execution and administration of a law to an independent agency or an executive branch
agency where it had first established primary standards and imposed upon others the duty to carry out its
declared legislative policy. Section 306(a.2) went too far, however. It provided a private party—the AMA—
with carte blanche authority to implement its own policies and standards and then required the state to adopt
them sight unseen.
AMA GUIDES DISCUSSION: While claimants in other states had earlier tried to make the improper
delegation of legislative authority argument, none had been successful. Until further review by the Supreme
Court of Pennsylvania, this decision stands for the proposition that the 4th Edition must be utilized within the
state.
Continued, Page 31.
August 2016
NAWCJ - Lex and Verum
Page 30
AMA Guides, from Page 30.
Protz holding may be utilized in other cases only if Claimant made unconstitutional delegation of legislative
powers an issue.
Winchilla v. Workers’ Comp. Appeal Bd. (Nexter Broadcasting), 126 A.3d 364 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2015), appeal
denied, 130 A.3d 1293 (Pa. 2015)
PROCEDURAL POSTURE: Claimant sought review of the order of the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board
that affirmed a decision of a Workers’ Compensation Judge that granted the employer’s petition to modify
Claimant’s benefits from total to partial disability under Section 306(a.2) of the Workers’ Compensation Act
(Act).
OVERVIEW: In August 2002, Claimant sustained a work injury to his lower back. The Employer
acknowledged the compensability of the injury and began to pay benefits. Claimant returned to work until
February 2005 when worsening pain rendered him unable to perform his job duties. Subsequently, Claimant
submitted to an impairment rating evaluation (IRE) performed by a physician, who provided a whole-body
impairment rating of five percent under the Sixth Edition of the AMA Guides. The employer subsequently filed
a modification petition, seeking to convert Claimant’s total disability benefits to partial disability benefits,
thereby reducing the amount of compensation that could be paid to 500 weeks. In his answer to the modification
petition, Claimant contended that the Act’s “IRE provisions are: as applied to Claimant and/or facially,
unconstitutional, capricious, arbitrary, not reasonably calculated, confiscatory, not to be used to assess disability
in the workers’ compensation sense and extinguish rights.” At hearings before the WCJ, the employer submitted
a copy of the physician’s IRE in support of its modification petition. Claimant did not submit any medical
evidence but instead relied on a decision of the Social Security Administration (SSA) finding Claimant totally
disabled from substantial gainful employment based upon his back injury and hearing-loss impairment. The
WCJ granted the employer’s modification petition, adopting the physician’s medical opinion regarding
Claimant’s IRE as the only medical evidence presented in the case and rejecting the SSA’s decision as nonbinding. The WCJ also dismissed Claimant’s constitutional challenge, finding that Claimant presented no
evidence to support this contention. The Board affirmed in essential part.
OUTCOME: The Commonwealth Court initially issued its unpublished opinion in this case on the same day it
released its Protz decision, finding here that Claimant had waived the constitutional argument, by failing to
assert it more specifically in the petition for review (i.e., Claimant did not claim that Section 306(a.2) was an
unconstitutional delegation of power). Subsequently, the Commonwealth decided to publish its decision. In
doing so, Winchilla operates so as to restrict severely the number of claimants who can challenge their disability
ratings under Protz. They may do so only if the claimant raised the issue properly before the Board and/or the
Commonwealth Court.
AMA GUIDES DISCUSSION: Unless the claimant has specifically raised the issue of the unconstitutional
delegation of power, as it was raised in Protz, any modification order in which the IME physician used the 5th
or 6th Edition of the Guides would stand.
Illinois:
Claimant is not required to submit AMA Impairment Report in order to support award of PPD benefits.
Corn Belt Energy Corp. v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Comm’n, 2016 IL App (3d) 150311WC
PROCEDURAL POSTURE: The employer appealed a decision of the Circuit Court of Bureau County that
confirmed an award by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.
Continued, Page 32.
August 2016
NAWCJ - Lex and Verum
Page 31
AMA Guides, from Page 31.
OVERVIEW: Claimant sought workers’ compensation benefits. Following a hearing, the arbitrator determined
claimant sustained accidental injuries that arose out of and in the course of his employment and awarded
claimant medical expenses of $1,480, less several credits to the employer, and 15 weeks’ permanent partial
disability (PPD) benefits for a 3% loss of the person as a whole. The Commission, with one commissioner
dissenting, modified portions of the arbitrator’s decision but otherwise affirmed and adopted his award. On
judicial review, the circuit court of Bureau County confirmed the Commission. The employer contended on
appeal that (1) the Commission erred in finding claimant’s condition of ill-being was causally connected to his
work accident, (2) the Commission erred in awarding claimant PPD benefits where he failed to introduce into
evidence a PPD impairment report as described in section 8.1b(a) of the Act (820 ILCS 305/8.1b(a) (West
2012)), and (3) the Commission’s PPD award must be reversed because it failed to adequately address the
remaining factors identified in section 8.1b(b) of the Act (820 ILCS 305/8.1b(b) (West 2012)) for establishing a
PPD award.
OUTCOME: The appellate court, with one justice dissenting, held that that the express language of section
8.1b(a) did not limit the Commission’s ability to award PPD benefits where no AMA report was submitted. The
majority said that section 8.1b merely requires that if an AMA rating report has been provided, then the
Commission must consider it, along with all the other four factors listed in section 8.1b(b), when determining
permanent disability.
AMA GUIDES DISCUSSION: The appellate court found that section 8.1b(a) does not contain any language
that obligates either a claimant or an employer to submit a PPD impairment report. Additionally, it contains no
language limiting the Commission’s ability to award PPD benefits when no report is submitted. Accordingly, a
claimant is not required to obtain an AMA impairment report in order to establish permanency under section
8.1b. The employer can, of course, provide the report. If a physician prepares such a report, it must be prepared
utilizing the 6th Edition of the Guides. Unless the employer or the claimant seeks the report, however, the case
will be tried without one and the Commission’s determination of PPD will be based solely on the remaining
four factors of the statute:
1. The occupation of the injured employee
2. The age of the employee at the time of the injury
3. The employee’s future earning capacity and
4. Evidence of disability corroborated by the treating medical records
It remains to be seen whether Corn Belt will be appealed.
© Copyright 2016 LexisNexis. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission. This article originally appeared in the
LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, www.lexisnexis.com/wcnews.
__________
Thomas A. Robinson, Durham, N.C., received his B.A., cum laude, for both Economics and History, in 1973 from Wake
Forest University, his J.D. in 1976 from Wake Forest University School of Law, where he served as Managing Editor,
Wake Forest Law Review, and his M.Div. in 1989 from Duke University Divinity School. From 1976 to 1986, Mr.
Robinson was in private practice, where he focused on workers’ compensation defense work. From 1987 to 1993, he was
research and writing assistant to Professor Arthur Larson. From 1993 until December 2014, Mr. Robinson worked closely
with Lex Larson as senior staff writer for Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis) and Larson’s Workers’
Compensation, Desk Edition (LexisNexis). Since January 2015, Robinson has assumed the role of co-author of those
treatises with Mr. Larson. He is an Editor-in-Chief of Workers’ Compensation Emerging Issues Analysis (LexisNexis) and
a contributing author or editor to five other LexisNexis workers’ compensation publications. Robinson also serves on the
executive committee of the Larson’s National Workers’ Compensation Advisory Board (LexisNexis). His award-winning
blog, The WorkComp Writer, can be accessed at http://www.workcompwriter.com/.
August 2016
NAWCJ - Lex and Verum
Page 32
Eighth Annual NAWCJ
Judiciary College
Orlando, Florida
August 21-24, 2016
Sunday, August 21, 2016
12:00 - 1:30
MOOT COURT JUDGES’ LUNCHEON
1:40 – 5:00
E. EARLE ZEHMER MOOT COURT PRELIMINARY ROUNDS
Celebrating 29 years in 2016, the E. Earle Zehmer Competition will include twenty-two
teams. The competition is co-sponsored by the NAWCJ and the preliminary rounds are
judged by members of the NAWCJ. The final rounds on Monday are judged by a panel of the
Florida First District Court of Appeal. The competition is outstanding, the participants are
exceptional, and this opportunity to contribute to the law students’ development is both
exciting and gratifying.
The annual moot court luncheon provides
collegiality and discussion as industry
experts help the judges prepare for the
preliminary rounds of competition.
Judges (left to right) Almeyda (FL), Alvey
(KY), and Stevick (VA) preside over oral
arguments in the preliminary round.
August 2016
NAWCJ - Lex and Verum
Page 33
Monday, August 22, 2016
8:00 – 8:30
REGISTRATION AND INFORMATION
8:30 – 9:00
WELCOME
Michael Alvey, NAWCJ President
Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Board
Frankfort, Kentucky
9:00 – 10:50
EVIDENCE FOR ADJUDICATORS
Honorable T. Scott Beck, Introduction of Moderator and Panel
South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission
Columbia, South Carolina
Honorable Jennifer Hopens, Moderator
Texas Department of Insurance Division of Workers’ Compensation
Austin, Texas
Panelists
Honorable Melodie Belcher
Honorable Shannon Bruno-Bishop
Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation Louisiana Workforce Commission
Atlanta, Georgia
New Orleans, Louisiana
Honorable Robert Swisher
Kentucky Department of Workers’ Claims
Frankfort, Kentucky
Hon. David Torrey
Pennsylvania Department of Labor
and Industry
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
One of the great challenges of the workers’ compensation adjudicator is the evidentiary
objection. The rules may apply, or may be persuasive, or may be irrelevant. Objections may
come clearly and concisely, or in a jumbled cascade of thoughts. The adjudicator’s role is to
understand the applicable standards, and make concise and effective rulings to keep the trial
on track and the parties on topic. This panel will bring decades of evidentiary objection
experience and address a variety of evidentiary challenges.
10:50 – 11:00
BREAK
11:00- 11:50
REPETITIVE USE INJURIES
Honorable LuAnn Haley, Introduction of Speaker
Industrial Commission of Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
Dr. J. Mark Melhorn
The Hand Center
Wichita, Kansas
Repetitive trauma can be its own breed, depending on the jurisdiction, definitions,
regulations and more. These injuries are often times more difficult medically in terms of
diagnosis, causal relationship, and treatment. Dr. Melhorn is a nationally recognized expert in
the diagnosis and treatment of common repetitive trauma injuries. He will provide insight,
analysis and advice on the trials and tribulations of these injuries.
August 2016
NAWCJ - Lex and Verum
Page 34
Monday, August 22, 2016, Continue
12:00 – 12:30
LUNCH (PROVIDED)
12:30 – 1:50
COMPARATIVE WORKERS’ COMPENSATION LAW PANEL
This panel discussion will bring perspective on how our statutes are different, and how they
are similar. Dealing with statutory interpretation is part of our daily routine. Despite the
diversity of our particular statutes, we share a multitude of concordant issues and challenges,
which this program illuminates. Each year brings different states to the panel, and therefore
differing viewpoints to the conversation. This program is consistently among the highest
rated of the judiciary college.
Honorable Ken Switzer, Moderator
Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims, Tennessee
Nashville, Tennessee
Panel
1:50 – 2:00
Honorable R. Karl Aumann
Maryland Workers’ Compensation
Commission
Baltimore, Maryland
Honorable Elizabeth Crum
Pennsylvania Department of Labor and
Industry
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Honorable Deneise Lott
Mississippi Workers’ Compensation
Jackson, Mississippi
Honorable Elizabeth Elwin
Maine Workers’ Compensation Board
Augusta, Maine
BREAK
2:00 – 5:00
THE AFTERNOON IS DIVIDED INTO TWO TRACKS, ONE FOR
THE NEWER ADJUDICATOR AND ONE FOR THE MORE SEASONED
ADJUDICATOR
Track One - The NAWCJ NEW JUDGE PROGRAM
Back by popular demand, the NAWCJ presents education specifically for the new
adjudicator. Transitioning to the bench from private practice can involve various challenges.
Much of the three hour program Monday afternoon is intended to foster frank discussions in
small groups. This series of discussions is focused on those who have been on the bench for
two years or less, but all adjudicators are encouraged to attend.
2:00-2:10
ANNOUNCEMENTS AND BUSINESS
Honorable Michael Alvey, NAWCJ President
Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Board
Frankfort, Kentucky
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Monday, August 22, 2016, Continued
2:10 – 3:00
JUDICIAL WRITING FOR THE NEW JUDGE
Honorable Robert Cohen, Introduction of Speaker
Florida Division of Administrative Hearings
Tallahassee, Florida
Honorable Melanie G. May
Chief Judge, Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal
West Palm Beach, FL
Lawyers write, and the tenor and tone must be persuasive and informative. Taking the bench,
the new judge has to learn to transition from persuasion to adjudication, both in attitude and
in writing. Judge May will bring years of experience to the fore. She will provide wit and
wisdom regarding the transition from effective legal writing to the adjudicatory writing
required as judges.
3:00 – 3:10
BREAK
3:10 – 4:00
JUDICIAL ETHICS CONUNDRUMS AND HUMDRUMS?
Honorable Jane Rice Williams
Kentucky Department of Workers’ Claims
Frankfort, Kentucky
Honorable Roland Case, Kentucky
Kentucky Department of Workers’ Claims
Pikeville, Kentucky
Honorable Robert Himmel
Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission
Roanoke, Virginia
Honorable Margret Kerr
Florida Office of Judges of Compensation Claims
Miami, Florida
Honorable Bruce Moore
Kansas Department of Labor, Division of Workers’ Compensation
Salina, Kansas
The new judge takes the bench with a volume of experience and knowledge. As good at that
foundation may be, there are new rules and processes that must now be mastered. The Code
of Judicial Conduct, state regulations, and more confront the new workers’ compensation
adjudicator. Moderator Jane Williams and panel of seasoned judges, commissioners, and
deputies will guide a discussion of some of the common ethical concerns of new judges.
Attendees will gain knowledge and confidence in the interpretation of judicial ethical
requirements.
4:00 – 4:10
August 2016
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Monday, August 22, 2016, Continued
4:10 - 5:00
Transitioning to the Bench
Honorable John Lazzara, Introduction of Moderator and Panel
Florida Office of Judges of Compensation Claims
Tampa, Florida
Honorable David Imahara, Moderator
Georgia State Board of Workers’
Compensation
Atlanta, Georgia
Honorable Aisha Taylor
South Carolina Workers’ Compensation
Commission
Columbia, South Carolina
Honorable Allen Phillips
Tennessee Court of Workers’
Compensation Claims
Jackson, Tennessee
Honorable Nicole Tifverman
Georgia State Board of Workers’
Compensation
Savannah, Georgia
The journey to the bench is long and hard. Having achieved it, the new judge faces a variety
of new challenges, questions and trials. This panel will work through some common issues
for those new to the bench, and with the help of the Judiciary College audience, provide
wisdom and suggestions.
Track Two
2:00 – 5:00
SAWCA REGULATOR ROUNDTABLE
For the more seasoned adjudicators, Monday afternoon offers the opportunity for a doctoratelevel exposure to comparative law in workers’ compensation. The Southern Association of
Workers’ Compensation Administrators (SAWCA) will present their 5th Annual Regulator
Roundtable. Regulators and Administrators from across the country will discuss hot topics
challenging workers’ compensation systems. Attendees will hear perspectives, initiatives,
problems and solutions.
Monday Evening:
5:00 – 6:00
NAWCJ and SAWCA RECEPTION
The perfect closure for the first day of our NAWCJ program is the official welcoming
reception for adjudicator attendees, regulators and associate members. Following a full day
of edification and instruction, this is the chance to mingle and unwind with old friends and
new acquaintances from across the continent.
7:00 – 11:00
WCI Reception and Entertainment
Casual attire, drinks and heavy hors d’oeuvres. This is a rocking closure to the first day of the
WCI conference. All registered NAWCJ Judiciary College attendees are invited to the
reception and entertainment. There will be live entertainment, lighthearted conversation, and
more opportunity to renew and form friendships.
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Tuesday, August 23, 2016
8:45 – 9:45
LIVE SURGERY (IN THE ADJUSTER BREAKOUT)
9:55-10:00
ANNOUNCEMENTS AND UPDATES
Honorable Ellen Lorenzen, NAWCJ Past-President
Florida Office of Judges of Compensation Claims
Tampa, Florida
10:00 – 10:50
ETHICS JEOPARDY
Honorable Bruce Moore, Introduction of Speakers
Kansas Department of Labor, Division of Workers’ Compensation
Salina, Kansas
Deborah Hughes, Moderator
Office of the Disciplinary Administrator
Topeka, Kansas
Ethics can be a challenge and the judge may be called upon to both interpret and document
attorney actions and inactions. This game-show style presentation on the intricacies and
challenges of lawyer ethics will be an eye-opener for all.
10:50 – 11:00
BREAK
11:00- 11:50
THE OPT OUT, THE CONSTITUTION, AND THE GRAND BARGAIN
Honorable Deneise Turner Lott, Introduction of Speakers
Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission
Jackson, Mississippi
Michael C. Duff, Moderator
University of Wyoming
Laramie, Wyoming
Honorable Ryan Brannan, Commissioner
Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation
Austin, Texas
Honorable Robert Gilliland, Chair
Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
There are a great many constitutional challenges, benefits sufficiency challenges and more in
the current world of workers’ compensation. This panel of experts will bring analysis and
understanding of the nature of these challenges and the effects on the system as a whole.
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Tuesday, August 23, 2016, Continued
12:00 – 12:30 LUNCH (PROVIDED)
NAWCJ ANNUAL BUSINESS MEETING
Honorable Michael W. Alvey, NAWCJ President
Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Board
Frankfort, Kentucky
Honorable Jennifer Hopens, NAWCJ President-Elect
Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation
Austin, Texas
12:30 – 1:00
WORKERS’ COMP: WHAT IS HOT FROM A NATIONAL
PERSPECTIVE?
Honorable Jennifer Hopens, Introduction of Speaker
Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation
Austin, Texas
David DePaolo, CEO and Founder
WorkCompCentral.com
Camarillo, California
1:00 – 1:10
BREAK
1:10 – 4:00
ADVANCED JUDICIAL WRITING
Honorable Melodie Belcher, Introduction of Speaker
Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation
Atlanta, Georgia
Professor Wayne C. Schiess
University of Texas School of Law
Director - The David J. Beck Center for Legal Research, Writing, and Appellate Advocacy
Austin, Texas
Judicial writing is a skill, and challenges exist in writing effective orders. Professor Schiess
will pick up where judicial writing for the new judge left off, and provide an advanced
perspective on how judges can and should write more efficiently and effectively.
(There will be a ten minute break each hour, 2:00-2:10 and 3:00-3:10).
4:00 – 4:10
August 2016
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Tuesday, August 23, 2016, Continued
4:10 – 5:00
THE MEDICAL EXAMINATION AND ASSIGNING RATINGS
Honorable Sheral Kellar, Introduction of Speaker
Louisiana Workforce Commission
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Dr. Russell L. Travis
Neurosurgical Associates
Lexington, Kentucky
Workers’ compensation is in a state of transition regarding the adoption of various guides to
permanent impairment. Some states have adopted their own guides, while others have relied
upon the American Medical Association (AMA) Guides. The AMA Guides have been
through a series of updates and changes in the last 20 years. Various states are using the
Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Editions of the AMA Guides. What are the similarities and what are
the differences? Our medical expert will provide a bird’s eye view of the methodology and
logic of various impairment rating processes.
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
8:50 – 9:00
ANNOUNCEMENTS AND UPDATES
Honorable David Torrey, NAWCJ Immediate Past-President
Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
9:00 – 10:15
HEART, LUNGS AND OTHER PRESUMPTIONS
Honorable Karl Aumann, Introduction of Moderator and Panel
Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission
Baltimore, Maryland
Honorable Jim Szablewicz, Moderator
Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission
Richmond, Virginia
Bonnie Hoskins, Esq.
Hoskins Law Offices
Lexington, Kentucky
Glen Wieland, Esq.
Weiland, Hilado, and DeLattre
Orlando, Florida
Dr. Leonard Pianko
Aventura Cardiology
Aventura, Florida
Presumptions for various populations of workers and medical conditions are a persistent
challenge. Legal changes and the developments in medicine continue to refine our
adjudication of these presumptions. This blue-ribbon panel will address developing issues
and concerns with presumptions from both a medical and legal perspective.
10:15 – 10:30
August 2016
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Wednesday, August 24, 2016, Continued
10:30 - 11:45
HOT TOPICS IN WORKERS’ COMPENSATION 2016
Hon. Frank McKay, Introduction of Speakers
Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation
Atlanta, Georgia
Honorable Larry Karns
Kansas Department of Labor, Division of
Workers’ Compensation
Salina, Kansas
Honorable David Threedy
Washington Board of Industrial Insurance
Appeals
Olympia, WA
Honorable Dwight Lovan
Kentucky Department of Workers’ Claims
Frankfort, Kentucky
Honorable Sheral Kellar
Louisiana Workforce Commission
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
What is hot in workers’ compensation adjudication? This all-star panel from four very
diverse jurisdictions will bring the what and the wherefore to the table for a lively discussion
of what is changing the workers’ compensation laws, regulations and procedures in their
states and across the country.
Judiciary College 2016
August 21-24, 2016
Marriott World Center, Orlando, Florida
NAWCJ Judiciary College Hotel - The Caribe Royale
$110.00 per night
One block away from Marriott World Center (convention site)
Continuous shuttle service to/from Marriott World Center.
To reserve, email arrival and departure dates to [email protected]
August 2016
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NAWCJ Judiciary College 2016 Faculty
Honorable Michael Alvey
Chairman Michael W. Alvey received his Bachelor’s degree from Western Kentucky
University, and his J.D. from the University of Kentucky College of Law. Admitted to
the Kentucky Bar in 1988, Chairman Alvey practiced primarily defending workers’
compensation, federal black lung and personal injury claims. On November 13, 2009
Chairman Alvey was appointed to serve as Chairman of the Kentucky Workers’
Compensation Board effective January 5, 2010. Chair Alvey has served on the board of
directors of the National Association of Workers’ Compensation Judiciary, Inc., and is
the President. Chairman Alvey retired from the Kentucky Army National Guard in
2000 where he served nearly 21 years as an armor officer and is a graduate of the
Armor Officer Basic Course and Armor Office Advanced Course. Chairman Alvey
resides in Owensboro, Kentucky where he has been involved in various church and civic activities as well as
working with youth sports including both coaching and officiating.
Honorable R. Karl Aumann
Appointed Commissioner of the Workers’ Compensation Commission in February 2005,
R. Karl Aumann was subsequently named as Chairman in October 2005. Immediately
prior to this appointment, he served as Maryland’s Secretary of State. He earned a
Bachelor of Arts from Loyola University in Maryland in 1982. Chairman Aumann
received his J.D. in 1985 from the University of Baltimore, School of Law and was
admitted to the Maryland Bar in 1986. He was an associate with the Towson firm of
Power & Mosner and later with the Baltimore office of Miles& Stockbridge. In 1991,
President George H.W. Bush appointed him Counsel and Senior Policy Advisor to the
Appalachian Regional Commission. From 1994 until 2003, Chairman Aumann served as
Chief Administrator and District Director for Congressman Robert Ehrlich. Chairman Aumann served as
president of the Southern Association of Workers’ Compensation Administrators and is co-chair of the
Adjudication Committee of the International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions. He
has served since 2010 as a board member of the National Association of Workers’ Compensation Judiciary, and
since 2006 as a board member of the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Educational Association.
Honorable Scott Beck
Commissioner Beck was appointed to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation
Commission on June 30, 2008. In 2010, he was elected by the Commission as Interim
Chairman and in December 2012, Governor Haley nominated Commissioner Beck for
reappointment as Chairman. He graduated with a BS degree from Penn State in 1981
and from the USC School of Law in 1999. Prior to joining the Commission, he served
in various positions in Law Enforcement from 1979-1996 and most recently as an
Assistant Attorney General from 2000-2008 prosecuting healthcare fraud cases.
Commissioner Beck served as a city councilman in North Augusta, South Carolina
from 1993-1996, and was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives,
serving from 1996-2000.
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Honorable Melodie Belcher
After ten years as a flight attendant for Eastern Airlines, Melodie Belcher needed a new
career. She attended Georgia State University College of Law where she was an editor on
the law review, graduating cum laude in 1992. She then worked as an associate for Swift
Currie McGhee & Hiers, where she represented employers and insurers in workers’
compensation claims. In 1999, she joined the State Board of Workers’ Compensation as a
mediator in the Columbus office. She was appointed administrative law judge in 2002,
and in October of 2009, she became the chief judge, moving to the Atlanta office.
Melodie is the Chair of the Administration and Procedures Committee for the Southern
Association of Workers’ Compensation Administrators and is the Secretary for the
National Association of Workers’ Compensation Judiciary. She speaks regularly on a variety of workers’
compensation issues. Melodie has two grown children (one lawyer and one in law school), and a cocker spaniel
and lives in LaGrange, Georgia with her husband, Bill (who is not a lawyer).
Honorable Ryan Brannan
Ryan Brannan is the Texas Commissioner of Workers’ Compensation, overseeing the
Division of Workers’ Compensation for the Texas Department of Insurance. He was
appointed Commissioner in August 2014 and confirmed by the Texas Senate during the
84th Texas Legislative session. Commissioner Brannan has led efforts to improve
workplace safety and outreach to injured employees while streamlining processes and
reducing costs within the Division of Workers’ Compensation. He also has
strengthened fraud investigations and enforcement efforts to make sure insurance
carriers and health care providers comply with state regulations and provide accurate
data to the Division. One goal of this sharpened enforcement focus has been to obtain
better results for both employers and employees within the system. He served as a
policy advisor to former Governor Rick Perry, providing strategic and operational
advice on issues such as workers’ compensation, property and casualty insurance, life insurance, health
insurance, health care, and land use management districts. He also advised the Governor on legal issues
including tort reform, property rights, and eminent domain. Commissioner Brannan spent several years as a
policy analyst on issues including property and casualty insurance, health insurance, workers’ compensation,
health care, tort reform, eminent domain, energy, electricity, and telecommunications.
Honorable Shannon Bruno-Bishop
Shannon Bruno Bishop joined the Office of Workers’ Compensation (OWC) as the
District Judge in the Harahan, Louisiana office. As District Judge of the OWC, Shannon
conducts judicial hearings in the district office by presiding over workers’ compensation
claims in a judicial capacity rendering final appealable judgments in the claims. She has
full administrative responsibility in the district office. Judge Bishop is a native of New
Orleans and graduated from Tulane University with a B.A. in Sociology and The
University of Mississippi School of Law with a J.D. She is admitted in Mississippi and
Louisiana. Prior to becoming District Judge, Judge Bishop served as mediator, in
Harahan and New Orleans, where she mediated hundreds of workers’ compensation
cases each year. Judge Bishop is married to State Senator Wesley T. Bishop and they
have two sons, ages 6 and 2. Judge Bishop’s past and/or current professional and community involvements
include: Louisiana State Bar Association, The Mississippi Bar, American Bar Association, National Bar
Association, American Diabetes Association, Young Leadership Council, Martin Luther King Charter School,
Greater New Orleans Louis A. Martinet Legal Society, Mississippi Mock Trial Competition, Boy Scouts of
America, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
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Honorable Roland Case
Judge Roland Case is a Kentucky Administrative Law Judge in Pikeville. He was appointed by Gov. Beshear
He previously served as the assistant county attorney of Pikeville County.
Honorable Robert Cohen
A native of Orlando, Florida, Bob Cohen graduated from Brandeis University in 1979
with a B.A. degree in American Studies. He graduated in 1981 from the Florida State
University College of Law, where he served on the Law Review. After more than 20
years in private practice, concentrating in administrative and civil law representing large
companies, professional licensees and consumer associations, Bob was appointed by the
Governor and Cabinet in October, 2003, as the Director and Chief Administrative Law
Judge of the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings which includes under its
umbrella, the Office of Judges of Compensation Claims. Bob currently serves as President
of the National Association of Administrative Law Judiciary, as a Board Member of the
National Association of Workers’ Compensation Judiciary, on the Second Judicial Circuit
Bench/Bar Committee, as an alumni member of the William Stafford Inn of Court, as a Board Member of the
Legal Aid Foundation of the Tallahassee Bar Association, and has served as a consumer organization
representative on the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes Steering Committee, The Residential Community
Mitigation Program Advisory Committee, and the Department of Revenue Property Tax Administration Task
Force. He is active in the community, currently serving as Leadership Giving Co-Chair in the Florida State
Employees Charitable Campaign, having previously served as President of the Tallahassee Bar Association, the
Legal Aid Foundation (twice), and numerous community organizations. He is a Fellow of the Florida Bar
Foundation and a Charter Life Mentor of the National Administrative Law Judiciary Foundation. He is also a
past recipient of the Florida Bar’s Pro Bono Service Award for the Second Judicial Circuit. Bob is a frequent
speaker on topics related to administrative law at Bar events, regional and state organizations, and in the
classroom. He is Board Certified by the Florida Bar in State and Federal Government and Administrative
Practice.
Honorable Elizabeth Crum
Judge Crum is Director of the Workers’ Compensation Office of Adjudication with
management responsibilities for Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation judges, judge
managers and staff in 23 offices located throughout the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania. Prior to her present position, she was Deputy Secretary for
Compensation and Insurance with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and
Industry. Judge Crum also served as Judge Manager for the Eastern District of
Pennsylvania and as a Judge in Philadelphia. Prior to her appointment as Judge, she
served as an attorney and Chief of the Compliance Division with the Bureau of
Workers’ Compensation. She began her legal career as an attorney/advisor with the
U.S. Department of Labor in Pittsburgh. Judge Crum is a 1987 graduate of the
University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
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David DePaolo
After practicing workers’ compensation law for nearly 18 years, David DePaolo
founded and grew WorkCompCentral into the most respected news and education
service in the workers’ compensation industry. He is a regular public speaker on
workers’ compensation to industry trade shows, educational seminars, radio and
television, and has been quoted or cited in general media publications such as Fortune
Magazine, the LA Times and Wall Street Journal. He has been published in leading
industry journals and scholarly publications on topics ranging from the underlying
financial issues that led to an historic makeover of the California workers’
compensation system, to the new paradigm in work injury protection and national
trends in the workers’ compensation industry.
Professor Michael C. Duff
Professor Duff became the Centennial Distinguished Professor of Law in 2014. He
teaches the College of Law’s courses in Torts I, Labor Law, and Workers’ Compensation
Law. He also teaches a course on Alternative Dispute Resolution in the Workplace. He
has previously taught Administrative Law and Introduction to Law at the College of Law;
and has also taught Labor Law and Administrative Law as a visiting professor at the
University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law. Professor Duff founded the College of
Law’s Academic Support Program (now called the Academic Achievement Program) in
2006, and directed the program for seven years. A seasoned legal practitioner, Professor
Duff spent nearly a decade working as a trial attorney, adjudicative official, and
investigator in various National Labor Relations Board offices immediately prior to
joining the UW faculty. Before engaging in federal government law practice, Professor
Duff worked for two years as an associate attorney in a cutting-edge, progressive, private
sector law firm in Maine, where he represented injured workers and labor unions.
Honorable Elizabeth Elwin
Administrative Law Judge Elizabeth Elwin has been with the Maine Workers'
Compensation Board for 22 years. Prior working in state government, Ms. Elwin worked
for federal and municipal agencies as an assistant general counsel at EPA--Region I, and
before that at the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs. She began her career at a large
New York law firm, after graduating from Cornell University and Cornell Law School.
Honorable Robert Gilliland
Robert Gilliland is a veteran trial lawyer whose prior practice concentrated in the area
of business litigation in both state and federal courts. Following his admission to the
Oklahoma Bar, Robert served four years as a captain in the Judge Advocate General’s
Corps of the US Army in the United States and the Republic of Vietnam. Robert holds
the distinction of being one of only a handful of lawyers in the United States to be
selected for continuous inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America (bet-the-company
litigation; commercial litigation; energy law; environmental litigation; real estate
litigation; securities litigation) since the publication’s debut in 1983. He was also
perennially named to Oklahoma Super Lawyers. He was appointed Chair of the
Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission effective June 1, 2015.
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Honorable LuAnn Haley
After earning her JD in 1981, Ms. Haley worked in the field of Workers’ Compensation
as a defense lawyer in Pennsylvania. After passing the bar in Arizona in 1999, she was
appointed an Administrative Law Judge for the Industrial Commission of Arizona. Ms.
Haley lectures for state bar CLE programs and also serves as a reviewer for AMA
publications. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of
Workers’ Compensation Judiciary and the Editor of the Lex and Verum newsletter.
Honorable Robert M. Himmel
Robert M. Himmel was appointed to serve as Deputy Commissioner to the Roanoke
Regional Office on September 25, 2013. Deputy Commissioner Himmel earned a
Bachelor of Arts degree from Mary Washington College and a Juris Doctor degree from
the University of Richmond T.C. Williams School of Law. For 17 years, Mr. Himmel
was engaged in the private practice of law, specializing in Virginia workers’
compensation cases. During the past seven years, Mr. Himmel focused primarily on
appellate litigation before the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission and the
Virginia Court of Appeals. While in private practice, Mr. Himmel lectured frequently
and was voted by his peers to the Best Lawyers® in America publication.
Honorable Jennifer Hopens
Jennifer Hopens received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin and
a law degree from the University of Texas School of Law. She joined the Texas
Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation as a hearing officer in
2007, and traveled across the state presiding over numerous contested case hearings
involving a variety of workers’ compensation matters. She is currently the Director of
Hearings for the Northern & Western regions of the Division and is Board Certified in
Workers’ Compensation law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. She also
serves as president-elect of the National Association of Workers’ Compensation
Judiciary.
Bonnie Hoskins, Esq.
Bonnie Hoskins graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1978 with Honors and High
Distinction. She next studied at the Centre for Renaissance Studies in Oxford, England
before entering the University of Kentucky College Of Law in 1979. While attending the
University Of Kentucky College of Law, Ms. Hoskins served as a member of the National
Moot Court Team. She received her Juris Doctorate Degree in 1982. Since that time, she has
practiced primarily administrative law specializing in workers’ compensation defense. She
clerked with Kentucky’s Special Fund while in law school and then practiced with the
Special Fund for a short time after completing her law degree. In 2001, Ms. Hoskins
founded Hoskins Law Offices PLLC. She is a former Chair of the Workers’ Compensation
Committee of the Kentucky Bar and a regular speaker at Continuing Legal Education seminars. Ms. Hoskins
has published numerous outlines and articles in continuing education publications. She is also a contributing
author to the University of Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Desk Book.
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Deborah Hughes
Ms. Hughes has been with the Disciplinary Administrator’s Office since 2013. She is a 1989
graduate of the University of Kansas School of Law. After law school, she worked in
private practice for 12 years. In 2001, she joined the Shawnee County District Attorney’s
Office, where she was responsible for the office’s appeals and post-conviction cases. From
2004 through 2012, she worked for the Kansas Supreme Court as the Court’s Special
Projects Attorney. Just prior to joining the Disciplinary Administrator’s Office, Ms. Hughes
worked as an appellate defender with the Kansas Appellate Defender Office. Ms. Hughes has
served on the Kansas Judicial Council Criminal Law Advisory Committee, and is a member
of the Kansas Bar, Topeka Bar, American Bar and the Kansas Women Attorney’s
Association. She serves as a Master in the Sam Crow American Inn of Court.
Honorable David Imahara
Judge David Imahara is the Chief Administrative Law Judge for the Georgia Board of
Workers’ Compensation. He previously served as Administrative Law Judge, Deputy Chief
Judge, and director of the Alternative Dispute Resolution unit of the State Board. He has
served on the Board of the National Association of Workers’ Compensation Judiciary.
Honorable Larry Karns
Larry Karns began his new career as the Director of the Kansas Department of Labor,
Division of Workers Compensation, in 2012 after practicing law with the Topeka,
Kansas, law firm of Glenn, Cornish, Hanson & Karns for 36 years and after a year with
McAnany, Van Cleave & Phillips, a Midwest regional law firm specializing in workers
compensation defense. He is a 1972 graduate of the University of Kansas School of
Business and a 1975 honors graduate from the Washburn University School of Law. In
addition to the practice of law, Larry served for several years as a hearing officer for
various state agencies and as a judge pro tem for the Topeka, Kansas, Municipal Court.
During his legal career Larry has served on the Board of Directors of a local bank, a
domestic insurance company and a regional agricultural lender. He currently serves as a
member of the Board of Directors of the International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and
Commission.
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Honorable Sheral Kellar
Sheral C. Kellar has served at the Louisiana Workforce Commission (formerly the
Louisiana Department of Labor) as a Workers’ Compensation Judge since 1991 and as
Workers’ Compensation Chief Judge since May 1999. In January 2016, she was
appointed Director of the Louisiana Office of Workers’ Compensation Administration.
Judge Kellar was appointed co-chair of the Louisiana State Bar Association Access to
Justice Committee and served from June 2004 to June 2008. In June 2007 she received
its President’s Award for her many contributions to the Bar Association and her
exceptional service as Co-Chair of the Access to Justice Committee. She is a member of
Baton Rouge Bar Association, Louisiana Association of Administrative Law Judges,
Louisiana State Bar Association Medical Legal Inter-professional Committee and the
National Association of Workers’ Compensation Judges. In 2009 she was elected the
recording secretary for the Louisiana Center for Civil Justice, a state-wide call center that facilitates the
provision of pro-bono and low-fee civil legal assistance to Louisiana’s poorest citizens. Also, in 2009 Judge
Kellar was appointed Chair of the Access to Justice’s Gap Assessment Sub-Committee, where she spearheaded
an Economic Impact Study detailing the tremendous positive financial impact Louisiana’s legal services
programs have on the state economy. She is a former member of the American Bar Association, the National
Legal Aid & Defender Association, board member of the Louisiana Bar Foundation and at-large member of the
Louisiana State Bar Association Board of Governors having been appointed in 2002 to a three year term. She is
also a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA volunteer) and in June 2005 she was selected the CASABaton Rouge volunteer of the month. Judge Kellar speaks frequently on issues of workers’ compensation and
professionalism. She received her Bachelor of Science and Juris Doctorate degrees from Louisiana State
University.
Honorable Margret Kerr
Judge Kerr is originally from England and Australia. She received her B.A. from the
University of Kent at Canterbury, U.K. in 1980, and her J.D. from the University of Miami
in 1993. She began her legal career at the law firm of Underwood, Karcher & Anderson
where she worked as an associate for 3 years. In 1996, she joined Kubicki Draper, as an
associate and then partner, for the next 12 years, limiting her practice to workers’
compensation cases. In 2008, she joined the law firm of Arrick, Peacock and Kerr where
she continued to practice workers’ compensation defense, until her appointment as a Judge
of Compensation Claims by Governor Scott in 2013.
Honorable John Lazzara
Judge Lazzara was initially appointed Judge of Compensation Claims (JCC) for the Tampa
District in 1990 by Governor Bob Martinez. In 1993 he requested reassignment to the
Tallahassee District following the retirement of the late Judge Gus Fontaine. Since then he
has been reappointed twice by Governors Lawton Chiles and Jeb Bush, and once by
Governor Charlie Crist. In 1998 and 2002, Judge Lazzara was nominated for appointment to
the First District Court of Appeal. In November 2005, Governor Bush was appointed him
Interim Deputy Chief Judge, and served in that capacity until May 2006. Prior to his
appointment to the tribunal, Judge Lazzara practiced law in Tampa for 23 years, and served
as a Hearing Officer for the Hillsborough County Environmental Commission and the Property Appraisal
Adjustment Board. He was also an Arbitrator with the Florida New Motor Vehicle Arbitration Board and the
American Arbitration Association. Judge Lazzara has been a Certified Circuit Civil Mediator since 1989, when
the Florida Supreme Court appointed him to its initial Special Committee for Mediation/Arbitration Rules.
Judge Lazzara was President, Florida Conference of Judges of Compensation Claims (1997-99); Chair, The
Florida Bar Workers’ Compensation Rules Committee (1994-95); and Chair, Division of Administrative
Hearings’ Workers’ Compensation Rules of Procedure Revision Committee (2005-06).
Continued, Page 49.
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He was a member of the Florida Bar Appellate Court Rules Committee (2001-07) and chaired its Workers’
Compensation Practice Subcommittee (2002-03, 2005-07). He is a member of The Florida Bar’s Standing
Committee on Professionalism, and chairs the Scholarship Committee of the North Florida Chapter of Friends
of 440. In 2009, he was inducted as a Fellow of the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, and is a
founding Director and the Inaugural President of the National Association of Workers’ Compensation Judiciary
(2008-10). Judge Lazzara received his B.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of Florida. In 1996, he
completed studies at the IAIABC International Workers’ Compensation College at Arizona State University. He
is a frequent lecturer on workers’ compensation trial, appellate and procedural topics, and has testified before
committees of the Florida Legislature on workers’ compensation legislation. Judge Lazzara has co-authored
chapters on “Workers’ Compensation Mediation” in the Florida Bar’s Alternative Dispute Resolution in
Florida, Vol. II, 1995, and in the Florida Workers’ Compensation Practice, 4th & 5th Editions and Supplements.
Honorable Ellen Lorenzen
Ellen Lorenzen was originally from Los Angeles, CA. but grew up in Baton Rouge, LA. She received her B.A.
from Emory University, Atlanta, GA in 1971 and moved to Florida. She began working as an all-lines adjuster
until she attended Stetson College of Law where she graduated in 1978. After admission to the Bar, she became
employed as staff counsel for Continental Insurance in Tampa, practicing primarily in the area of personal
injury defense with some workers’ compensation cases. In 1985 Ms. Lorenzen became employed with the firm
of Morris & Rosen where she represented injured employees. In 1986 she was hired by Travelers Insurance as a
staff attorney where she was responsible for a mix of workers’ compensation and personal injury cases until
1990. At that time she became the managing attorney for the Tampa staff counsel office of Travelers and
restricted her practice solely to workers’ compensation defense. In 1994 Ms. Lorenzen became associated with
the firm of Barr, Murman, Tonelli in Tampa and became a partner there in 1997. In 1998 Ms. Lorenzen and
John Dixon, Esq. formed a firm handling workers’ compensation defense statewide on behalf of several selfinsured employers. Ms. Lorenzen resigned her membership in that firm in 2004 when she was appointed a
Judge of Compensation Claims by Governor Bush. She has been Board Certified in Workers’ Compensation
since 1988 and has been a Board Certified Circuit Civil Mediator since 1994. Ms. Lorenzen serves on the board
of Tampa Jewish Family Services, a non-profit social services agency providing mental health counseling and
food bank assistance to those in need in the Tampa area irrespective of race or religion. She is also on the
Friends of 440.
Honorable Deneise Turner Lott
Deneise Turner Lott has served as an Administrative Judge with the Mississippi
Workers’ Compensation Commission since November 1988. She is currently senior
judge and is the first woman to hold that position. She was engaged in private law
practice with an emphasis on disability claims before joining the Commission as a staff
attorney. She served the Commission as senior staff attorney before becoming an
Administrative Judge.
She graduated from the University of Mississippi cum
laude with a B. A. degree in English. She also received her law degree from the
University of Mississippi School of Law. She has served on several bar committees and
has twice served as chair of the Administrative Law and Workers’ Compensation
Section of the Mississippi Bar. She has also taught administrative law and workers’
compensation law as an adjunct professor at Mississippi College School of Law. She regularly provides
programs for continuing legal education credit on workers’ compensation topics. Judge Lott co-chaired the
Kids’ Chance Mediation Project which is designed to help fund the higher education of children of seriously
disabled or deceased workers and which is sponsored by the Workers’ Compensation Section of the Mississippi
Bar. She has twenty hours of mediation training and over 1000 hours of court-annexed settlement experience.
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Honorable Dwight Lovan
Commissioner Dwight T. Lovan received his Bachelor’s degree from Baylor University
and J.D. from the University of Kentucky College of Law. Admitted to the Kentucky Bar
in 1977, Commissioner Lovan worked as a staff attorney for the Kentucky Court of
Appeals with responsibility for workers’ compensation appeals for 15 months. From 1979
to 1990 he practiced law in Owensboro, concentrating in the areas of workers’
compensation and civil litigation. In May of 1990, Commissioner Lovan was appointed
Administrative Law Judge and remained in that position until August of 1994 when he
was named to the Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Board. Between July 2000 and
January 2004, Commissioner Lovan served as Chairman of the Kentucky Workers’
Compensation Board before returning to private practice in the firm of Jones, Walters,
Turner and Shelton. By executive order signed on February 7, 2008, Commissioner Lovan was appointed to
serve as the Commissioner of the Department of Workers’ Claims.
Honorable Melanie G. May
Judge May has served as Chief Judge of the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal since
2011, and has served on that Court since 2002. Before her appellate tenure, she served as a
trial judge on the 17th Judicial Circuit Court for eleven years. Her initial legal experience
was clerking at the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeal, after which she practiced for
nine years before taking the bench. Judge May has served on an array of councils, boards,
and committees. These include the Access to Courts Committee, the Unauthorized
Practice of Law Committee, the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, and the
Supreme Court Steering Committee on Treatment-Based Drug Courts. Judge May has
been involved in leadership of many such committees. She was an instructor on Legal
Research and Writing at the Nova Law Center and an Instructor with the National Judicial College.
Honorable Frank McKay
Frank R. McKay is the Chairman of the Georgia State Board of Workers’
Compensation, appointed by Governor Nathan Deal. He came to the Board from private
practice where he was a partner in the Stewart, Melvin & Frost law firm in Gainesville,
Georgia. His practice was concentrated in workers’ compensation, and he tried and
presented many cases before the Administrative Law Courts and the Georgia Court of
Appeals. He is a former Special Assistant Attorney General handling workers’
compensation claims for the State of Georgia. He obtained his law degree (J.D.) from
Walter F. George School of Law, Mercer University, and his undergraduate degree
(B.A. Economics) from Clemson University. He was on the State Board’s Advisory
Council prior to being appointed the Chairman.
Dr. J. Mark Melhorn
Mark Melhorn MD FAAOS FAADEP FACOEM FACS is an occupational orthopaedic
physician who specializes in the hands and upper limbs. He received his BS from
McPherson College and his MD from the University of Kansas and is currently a Clinical
Associate Professor, Department of Orthopaedics, University of Kansas School of
Medicine - Wichita. He has been elected to national boards and educational committees
while authoring and lecturing on his research of workplace injuries and illnesses; returnto-work options; impairment and disability; and prevention of musculoskeletal pain in the
workplace, including the text “AMA Guides(tm) to the Evaluation of Work Ability and
Return to Work” 2nd edition AMA Press (2011), Guides to the Evaluation of Disease and
Injury Causation 2nd edition AMA Press (2014) and was the lead author for the Upper
Extremity Chapter in the 6th Edition of the AMA Guides to Impairment.
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Honorable Bruce Moore
Judge Bruce Moore has served as an administrative law judge for the Kansas
Department of Labor, Division of Workers’ Compensation, since 1995 where he
presides over workers’ compensation cases. He also serves as a municipal court judge
pro tempore for the City of Salina, Kansas. Before joining the Department of Labor,
Judge Moore served as municipal court judge pro tempore for the City of Prairie
Village, Kansas, and as a district judge pro tempore for Kansas’ 10th Judicial District.
He practiced law in Kansas for 15 years, concentrating his practice on criminal
prosecution and defense and the prosecution and defense of personal injury and
workers’ compensation claims. Judge Moore received his bachelor’s degree from
Kansas State University and Juris Doctor from Kansas University. He is the author of
“Litigating a Defense of Alcohol or Drug Impairment Under the Workers’
Compensation Act,” published by the Journal of Kansas Trial Lawyers Association, and
Chapter 25, “Causation: A Judge’s Perspective,” for the American Medical Association’s Guides to the
Evaluation of Disease and Injury Causation,” Second Edition (2013). He has served as President of two Rotary
Clubs, and as an Assistant District Governor of Rotary International; he served two terms as President of the
Board of Directors of the Salina Community Theatre, and as a Disaster Response team member for the
American Red Cross. Judge Moore was awarded a Professional Certificate of Judicial Development in
Administrative Law Adjudication Skills in 2008 and a Professional Certificate of Judicial Development in
Dispute Resolution Skills in 2009 by the National Judicial College. Judge Moore is an alumnus of The National
Judicial College and joined its faculty in 2009.
Honorable Allen Phillips
Allen Phillips is a judge of the Tennessee Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims,
presiding in Jackson, Tennessee. He previously was a partner with Waldrop & Hall
where he had practiced since 1990. His varied practice included employment law,
personal injury, insurance defense, family law and worker’s compensation. He served
on the board of directors of the Jackson-Madison County Bar Association. He graduated
from Lambuth College and earned his J.D. from the University of Tennessee College of
Law in 1990.
.
Dr. Leonard Pianko
Dr. Pianko practices in Aventura, Florida and specializes in cardiovascular disease and
internal medicine. He is the founder of the Aventura Cardiovascular Center. Dr. Pianko
is board certified in cardiology and internal medicine with special expertise in
cardiovascular disease, preventive cardiology, and non-invasive treatment options,
including echocardiogram and nuclear stress testing. He is a native of New York, born in
the Bronx, and earned an undergraduate degree from Yeshiva University in New York
before receiving his medical education at top-ranked Mount Sinai School of Medicine
and completing his training at the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine
in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Recognized as a “Top Doctor” by Castle Connolly, Dr.
Pianko is proud to call himself a “patient advocate,” working together with his patients
in order to educate on best practices and tailored treatment options—from lifestyle and
preventive to diagnostic and clinical. Central to his practice is an unwavering commitment to compassionate
and quality care, supporting patients and their families throughout their medical decision-making processes.
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Professor Wayne C. Schiess
Professor Schiess joined the faculty at The University of Texas School of Law in 1992,
after three years of law practice in the Dallas office of Baker Botts, LLP. Professor
Schiess is the director of the legal-writing program and teaches legal writing, legal
drafting, and plain English. He is also a frequent seminar speaker on those subjects. He
has published more than a dozen articles on practical legal-writing skills, plus two
books: Writing for the Legal Audience and Better Legal Writing. He expects his third
and fourth books on legal writing to be published soon. He received his Juris Doctor
from Cornell Law School. In 2012 and 2015, he was chosen as the Law School’s legalwriting teacher of the year. In 2011, the Texas Pattern Jury Charges Plain Language
Project, for which he was the drafting consultant, was named a finalist for a ClearMark
Award by the Center for Plain Language. He blogs on legal writing at LEGIBLE.
Honorable Robert Swisher
Robert Swisher is the Chief Judge of the Kentucky Department of Workers’ Claims.
Appointed to the bench in 2009 by Governor Beshear, Judge Swisher became the Chief
Judge in 2014. Prior to his appointment, Judge Swisher was a partner with the Northern
Kentucky based workers’ compensation defense firm of Jones, Dietz & Swisher. He is a
graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Kentucky College of
Law. He has been licensed to practice law since 1979.
Honorable Kenneth Switzer
Kenneth M. Switzer is the Chief Judge of the Tennessee Court of Compensation Claims.
He graduated from David Lipscomb College and earned his law degree from the
University of Louisville. Judge Switzer has been practicing law almost forty years, since
1977. He has been a litigator and a mediator in workers’ compensation personal injury
and medical malpractice. Judge Switzer is certified by the National Board of Trial
Advocacy. During his practice, he has been a frequent speaker at educational seminars on
the subjects of civil trial and workers’ compensation practice.
Honorable James Szablewicz
Jim Szablewicz is the Chief Deputy Commissioner of the Virginia Workers’
Compensation Commission and has been in that position since April 2004. In this
capacity, he supervises the Judicial Division of the Commission, including the functions
of the Commission’s Clerk’s Office, six Regional Offices and all of the Deputy
Commissioners state-wide. Prior to becoming Chief Deputy Commissioner, Jim served
as a Deputy Commissioner for two years, and was engaged in the private practice of law
on Virginia’s Eastern Shore for eleven years, primarily representing injured workers. Jim
received his B.A. in Political Science from Yale University in 1984 and his J.D. from the
University of Virginia School of Law in 1987.
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Honorable Aisha Taylor
Commissioner Aisha Taylor was appointed to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation
Commission on January 31, 2013. Before serving on the Commission, Commissioner
Taylor was a shareholder in the law firm Collins & Lacy, practicing primarily in workers’
compensation defense and employment law. Commissioner Taylor graduated from the
University of South Carolina where she was a team captain of the 2002 Women’s Track
& Field National Championship Team. Following her graduation from the University of
South Carolina School of Law, Commissioner Taylor clerked for the Honorable Brooks P.
Goldsmith of South Carolina’s Sixth Judicial Circuit. She and her husband, Henry, live in
Blythewood, South Carolina with their three children.
Honorable Dave Threedy
Dave Threedy is the Chief Judge at the Washington State Board of Industrial
Appeals. He is President Elect of the International Association of Accident Boards
and Commissions.
Honorable Nicole Tifverman
Nicole Tifverman is an Administrative Law Judge with the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation in
Savannah. Prior to her appointment as an ALJ in 2011, she practiced workers’ compensation law for twentyfour years, representing employees, employers, and insurers. She hears cases in Savannah, Claxton, and Millen,
and also mediates when her schedule permits. Judge Tifverman received her B.A., with highest distinction, from
the University of Rhode Island and her J.D. from Emory University School of Law.
Honorable David Torrey
David B. Torrey, a native of Alexandria, VA, has been a Workers’ Compensation Judge
with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry since 1993. He is Adjunct
Professor of Law, University of Pittsburgh School of Law (1996-present). He is also the
Editor of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Workers’ Compensation Newsletter (1988present). He received his A.B., 1982, from West Virginia University; and his J.D.,
1985, from Duquesne University School of Law. While in law school, he was Editor-inChief of the Duquesne Law Review (Volume 23, 1984-85). In 2010 he was elected to
membership in the National Academy of Social Insurance. He is the Immediate Past
President of the National Association of Workers’ Compensation Judiciary; and a
Fellow and Secretary of the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers. In 2008, he
published the Third Edition of his treatise, Torrey & Greenberg, Pennsylvania Workers’
Compensation: Law & Practice (4 Volumes: Thomson-Reuters 3rd ed. 2008 & Supp. 2015). He also served in
the U.S. Army (1976-1979), and in the West Virginia Army National Guard (1979-1982).
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Russell L. Travis, M.D.
Russell L. Travis is a neurological surgeon from Lexington, Kentucky. He is a former
president of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Dr. Travis attended
Centre College in Danville, and received his medical degree from the University of
Louisville. Following his residency at the Medical College Hospital of South Carolina,
Dr. Travis returned to Lexington to begin his practice as a neurological surgeon. One of
Dr. Travis’ most outstanding contributions has been his commitment to ensuring that all
Kentucky citizens have access to affordable, quality health care. As both an advocate for
change at a legislative level and as a volunteer in the field, his efforts are widely known
and appreciated. Almost every week for the past 25 years, Dr. Travis has traveled
hundreds of miles to see patients in places where you wouldn’t normally find a
neurosurgeon. He played a key role in the formation of Kentucky Physicians Care, a
group of physicians who volunteer their services to provide free medical care to the less fortunate in their
communities. This national recognized program was the first all-volunteer, nongovernment-sponsored statewide
program of its kind in the country. To ensure its success, Dr. Travis traveled to every part of the State at his own
expense, encouraging his colleagues to participate. Since 1985 more than 300,000 Kentucky citizens have
received needed medical attention from Dr. Travis’ physician volunteers.
Glen Wieland, Esq.
Born and raised in Orlando, Glen Wieland seemed destined to be a lawyer, his father as
well as his brothers were attorneys. “My father was a very big influence on all three of
us,” he says. “He was one of the original workers’ comp lawyers in town before he sat
as a judge for 23 years.” No surprise that Mr. Wieland, who has been practicing for
over 25 years himself, has been Board Certified in Workers’ Compensation since 1990.
The firm, Wieland Hilado & DeLattre, represents individuals injured or who have
suffered loses as a result of automobile accidents, premises accidents or job-related
accidents. Mr. Wieland has served as president of the Florida Workers’ Advocates, a
statewide organization of trial attorneys who specialize in workers’ compensation. His
other areas of practice include personal injury, automobile negligence, insurance
disputes, wrongful death, toxic torts and social security disability. Mr. Wieland
completed his undergraduate studies at Presbyterian College in South Carolina before receiving his law degree
from The Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham, Alabama. He returned to Orlando in 1982 and began
practicing law at Walker & Buckmaster, where he stayed for five years. He left to partner with another attorney
for more than 10 years before forming Wieland Hilado & DeLattre. As one of three attorneys, Mr. Wieland
prefers the personal interaction between attorneys that can be found only at a smaller firm. He is admitted to
practice before the Middle Court of Florida, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court.
He has been selected by his peers to be included as a member of The Best Lawyers in America. He has spoken
on behalf of injured workers at national meetings of the National Council of Insurance Legislators. He has also
been recognized by Orlando Magazine as one of Orlando’s Best Attorneys. Martindale Hubbell rates attorneys
worldwide and has awarded Wieland its highest rating, AV. He belongs to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum
devoted only to trial lawyers who have achieved a settlement or verdict of a million dollars or more. Mr.
Wieland’s parents inspired him with the idea of giving back to the community. His mother was personally
recognized by President George W. Bush for having spent over 50 years in continuous volunteer work for the
community. He is a past-chairman and trustee for the Orlando Area Trust for the Homeless, Chancellor of
Anglican Diocese of the East and Anglican Province of America. He is married to Kennie Wieland and has two
children, Billy and David.
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Honorable Jane Williams
Jane Rice Williams is an Administrative Law Judge with the Kentucky Department of
Workers’ Claims. Judge Williams received her Bachelor of Arts from the University
of Kentucky and Juris Doctorate from Salmon P. Chase College of Law. She was
admitted to the practice of law in the Commonwealth of Kentucky in October of 1995
and is a member of the Kentucky and Laurel County Bar Associations.
Judge Williams is a native of Harlan, Kentucky. She was in private practice in
Lexington and then London from 1995 until July 2012 handling a variety of civil
matters with a concentration on workers’ compensation law representing both plaintiffs
and defendants. Judge Williams was appointed as an Administrative Law Judge and
has served in that position since July 15, 2012.
Judiciary College 2016
August 21-24, 2016
Marriott World Center, Orlando, Florida
NAWCJ Judiciary College Hotel - The Caribe Royale
$110.00 per night
One block away from Marriott World Center (convention site)
Continuous shuttle service to/from Marriott World Center.
To reserve, email arrival and departure dates to [email protected]
August 2016
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th
6 Annual National
Regulators Roundtable
This year celebrates the 6th Annual National Regulators Roundtable, sponsored by the Southern Association of
Workers’ Compensation Administrators (SAWCA). This session brings together regulators from throughout the
country to discuss challenges, concerns and issues facing individual jurisdictions in the oversight of the everchanging workers’ compensation industry. Problems may have already been successfully addressed by other
jurisdictions; developing issues of concern in one state may be an omen for future developments in another and
legislative issues know no boundaries. The National Regulators Roundtable is a forum where regulators share
lessons learned and seek timely answers to their most pressing issues.
Topics may include: Emerging Medical Treatments; Employer Compliance; Adjudication of Benefits;
Managing the Legislative Environment; Technology, and ending with an open forum providing the audience the
opportunity to raise their own issues and concerns for the regulators to address.
The 6h Annual National Regulators Roundtable remains open to all WCI attendees, representing a unique
opportunity for participants and audience alike. Be sure to join us as the regulatory leadership from across the
nation gathers in Orlando addressing those topics that shape our industry.
Welcome:
Moderator:
Gary Davis
Secretary / Treasurer
SAWCA Lexington, KY
Arizona
Honorable Luann Haley
Judge
Industrial Commission of Arizona
Tucson, AZ
Honorable Melodie L. Belcher
SAWCA Past-President
Administrative Law Judge
Georgia State Board of Workers’
Compensation
Columbus, GA
Florida
Honorable David Langham
Deputy Chief Judge
Florida Office of Judges of
Compensation Claims
Pensacola, FL
Florida
Tanner Holloman
Director
Division of Workers’
Compensation
Tallahassee, FL
August 2016
Larry G. Karns
Director
Division of Workers’ Compensation
Topeka, KS
Kentucky
Colorado
Paul Tauriello
Director
Division of Workers’
Compensation
Denver, CO
Kansas
Florida
Andrew Sabolic
Assistant Director
Division of Workers’ Compensation
Tallahassee, FL
Georgia
Honorable Frank McKay
Chairman
Georgia State Board of Workers’
Compensation
Atlanta, GA
Honorable Dwight T. Lovan
Commissioner
Department of Workers’ Claims
Frankfort, KY
Louisiana
Sheral Kellar
Louisiana Office of
Workers’ Compensation
Administration
Baton Rouge, LA
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Maine
Honorable Paul H. Sighinolfi,
Executive Director/Chair
Workers’ Compensation Board
Augusta, ME
South Carolina
Gary M. Cannon
Executive Director
South Carolina Workers’ Compensation
Commission
Columbia, SC
Maryland
Honorable R. Karl Aumann
Tennessee
Chairman
Hon. Kenneth Switzer
Maryland Workers’ Compensation Chief Judge
Commission
Tennessee Court of Workers’
Baltimore, MD
Compensation Claims
Nashville, TN
Maryland
Texas
Scott Curtis
Assistant Attorney General
Honorable Ryan Brannan
Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commissioner
Commission
Texas Division of Workers’
Baltimore, MD
Compensation
Austin, TX
Mississippi
Honorable Deneise Lott
Administrative Law Judge
Mississippi Workers’
Compensation Commission
Jackson, MS
Virginia
Honorable Roger Williams
Commissioner
Virginia Workers’ Compensation
Commission
Richmond, VA
Nebraska
Hon. Tom Stine
Judge
Workers’ Compensation Court
Lincoln, NE
Washington
Honorable Dave Threedy
Chief Judge
Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals
Olympia, Washington
New Mexico
Darin Childers
Director
New Mexico Workers’
Compensation Administration
Albuquerque, NM
Wisconsin
Joe Moreth
Director, Bureau of Insurance
Programs
Wisconsin Worker’s Compensation
Division
Oklahoma
Honorable Bob Gilliland
Commissioner
Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation
Commission
Oklahoma City, OK
Pennsylvania
Honorable Elizabeth Crum
Director of Adjudication
Pennsylvania Department of Labor
& Industry
Harrisburg, PA
August 2016
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NAWCJ 2016
Associate Members
James M. Anderson*
Hugh McAngus*
Anderson, Crawley & Burke
McAngus, Goudelock & Courie
Robert Barrett*
James McConnaughhay*
Rissman, Barrett, Hurt, Donahue & McLain
McConnaughhay, Duffy, Coonrod, Pope & Weaver
Douglass Bennett*
John E. McLain*
Swift, Currie, McGhee & Hiers
Rissman, Barrett, Hurt, Donahue & McLain
Sharkey Burke*
R. Briggs Peery*
Anderson, Crawley & Burke
Swift, Currie, McGhee & Hiers
Regan Cobb*
William E. Pipkin
McAngus, Goudelock & Courie
Austill, Lewis & Pipkin
R. Stephen Coonrod*
John F. Power
McConnaughhay, Duffy, Coonrod, Pope & Weaver
Power & Cronin
Mark Davis*
Steven A. Rissman*
McAngus, Goudelock & Courie
Rissman, Barrett, Hurt, Donahue & McLain
Gerald A. Rosenthal*
Charlie Domer
Domer Law
Rosenthal, Levy, Simon & Ryles
Robert Donahue*
Michael Ryder*
Rissman, Barrett, Hurt, Donahue & McLain
Swift, Currie, McGhee & Hiers
Terry Germany*
E. Louis Stern*
Anderson, Crawley & Burke
McConnaughhay, Duffy, Coonrod, Pope & Weaver
J. Russell Goudelock*
Richard A. Watts*
McAngus, Goudelock & Courie
Swift, Currie, McGhee & Hiers
Molly Lawyer
Patrick E. Weaver*
Latham, Wagner, Steele & Lehman
McConnaughhay, Duffy, Coonrod, Pope & Weaver
Glen D. Wieland*
Laurence Leavy*
Laurence Leavy & Associates, P.A.
Wieland, Hilado & Delaitre, P.A.
*Denotes Charter Associate Member.
July 2016
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