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Day 1 | COVID, COVID, Go Away, Workers' Comp. Is Here to Stay (2021 Workers' Compensation Winter Program)

1:25         Welcome and Introductions

1:30         Looking Back at the Origins and Policy Considerations of the Industrial Commission Mediation Program

Frank C. Laney, 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Cary

Kick off the program with a discussion of the circumstances and background that led the Industrial Commission to establish a mandatory mediation program, along with policy considerations and decisions that led to its initial structure and design.

2:30         Break

2:40         Social Media Ethics*‡

Uta Marie Zacharias, Lawyers Mutual Liability Company, Cary

Social media can be a great way for attorneys to gather and share information, but it also presents many ethical traps. Learn about effectively counseling clients on the legal ramifications of social media, protecting client confidentiality, managing professional networking websites and online client reviews, and ensuring social media posts comply with advertising requirements — while also complying with the Rules of Professional Conduct.

3:40         Break

3:50         Traumatic Brain Injuries

April Groff, Ph.D., Learning Services Raleigh Program, Raleigh

Receive an overview of traumatic brain injuries and their classifications and symptoms. Then, consider the different stages of recovery, possible long-term issues, life care plans needed and the ethical problems with a post-concussion syndrome diagnosis.

4:50         Adjourn

*Indicates portion providing Ethics/Professional Responsibility credit
Indicates portion providing Technology Training credit

Thank you

Thank you for joining us today for day one of COVID, COVID, Go Away, Workers' Comp. Is Here to Stay. We'll see you tomorrow.


  • Heather T. Baker

    Heather T. Baker is originally from New Jersey, but grew up in North Carolina and went on to graduate from N.C. State University with a degree in English. A high school teacher instilled in her the importance of being able to write and say exactly what you mean, and Heather has continued to love and develop this skill set in both the written and spoken word. Since graduating from UNC Chapel Hill School of Law in 2009, Heather has focused her practice on workers' compensation and is an integral member of Teague Campbell's workers' compensation team. She practices with a comprehensive understanding of the law while balancing each of her clients' specific needs. Heather has an impressive record advocating for her clients in and out of the courtroom.

    Within the realm of workers' compensation in North Carolina, Heather represents employers across industries, some of which include construction, manufacturing, healthcare, hospitality, utilities, and vegetation management. She is regularly asked to speak at local and national conferences, client seminars, and other industry events. Heather has been honored to speak annually at the NC Bar Association's Workers' Compensation Seminar and has also spoken at the NC Bar Association's Annual Review Meeting. She currently serves as Secretary of the NC Bar Association's Workers' Compensation Section Council for the 2020/2021 session and will serve as Vice-Chair in the 2021/2022 year. Heather is also an active member of the National Workers' Compensation Defense Network (NWCDN), a network of prominent insurance defense firms throughout the United States and Canada. She is currently serving as the Southeast Regional Chair and regularly speaks at NWCDN conferences.

    Community is important to Heather and she has made it a priority to invest in her local community. During law school, she helped co-found a mentoring program, Graduate2Graduate, which paired law school students with local high school students who were identified as academically at risk. Heather went on to assist with the launch of Lawyers 4 Literacy in Wake County, a volunteer organization that pairs lawyers in the area with elementary school children to increase literacy and interest in history and civics. More recently, in response to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on public education, Heather volunteered to assist with fundraising for the Project for Equitable Access in Remote Learning (PEARL), which aims to mitigate the education equity gap that has intensified as a result of COVID-19 by providing support for high school students in Raleigh, North Carolina. Heather is also the Chair of the firm's Mentoring Committee, where she enjoys working with associates and other newer attorneys in the legal community.

    Heather is a proud resident of downtown Raleigh. She and her husband, Mike, met while attending N.C. State University and they love living in Raleigh. They have two young daughters who keep them on their toes. Heather is an avid runner and enjoys participating in marathons across the country. The Boston marathon holds a special place in her heart. When not working, wrangling children, or running, Heather enjoys traveling. She and Mike most recently traveled to Vietnam and Cambodia and continue to add to their list of places to visit.

    Click here for more information about Heather.

  • James L. "Jim" Blackburn

    James L. "Jim" Blackburn# graduated from Wake Forest University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law. His legal background includes serving as Special Deputy Attorney General in the North Carolina Attorney's General office, First Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, United States Attorney and several years in private practice.

    Blackburn's most notable appointment was serving as the lead prosecutor in the trial of Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald, who was accused of murdering his pregnant wife and two daughters. He was convicted and sentenced to three consecutive life terms in prison. A book and television mini-series, Fatal Vision, was based on this trial.

    Blackburn's law career ended dramatically in 1993 when he was found guilty of several ethical violations. In April, 1993, he turned in his license to practice law to the North Carolina Bar. He subsequently served a brief time in prison, suffered from depression, spent several years in therapy and a brief stay in Duke Hospital, and then waited tables at the restaurant where he formerly entertained many clients.

    Blackburn documented these experiences in his book, FlameOut. He now has another successful career, through speaking engagements to many varied groups in a number of states and teaching Bar approved CLE courses on Ethics and Professionalism and Mental Health issues.

    Click here for more information about Blackburn.

    #In 1993, James Blackburn turned in his license to practice law, and the State Bar subsequently issued a letter of disbarment.

  • B. Jeanette Byrum

    B. Jeanette Byrum is with Byrum Stiles Byrum & Horne LLP in Charlotte.

    Jeanette earned her B.A from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and her J.D. from Western New England College School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Jeanette.

  • Sherman Lee Criner

    Sherman Lee Criner is a litigation attorney and mediator with Alternative Dispute Resolution of the Carolinas in Wilmington. He began his legal career as an Agency Legal Specialist for the NC Industrial Commission and was a partner with Hedrick Blackwell & Criner from 1994-2002 handling defense, plaintiff & non-insured cases in workers' compensation. He was in solo practice with The Criner Law Firm d/b/a The Workers Compensation Law Firm from 2003-2007.

    Sherman is a NC State Bar Board Certified Workers Compensation Specialist. He is a licensed attorney and mediator in North Carolina & South Carolina. He continues to litigate selected cases in NC & SC but primarily spends his time mediating and arbitrating cases in NC & SC and for the American Arbitration Association.

    Sherman earned his B.A. in Political Science from North Carolina State University, his MBA from Campbell University, Lundy-Fetterman School of Business and his J.D. from Campbell University, Norman A. Wiggins School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Sherman.

  • Barbara Fairchild

    Barbara Fairchild is the chief executive officer of NuQuest in Longwood, FL. She brings 35 years of experience and proven performance in the insurance industry, specializing in catastrophic case management, drug and medical utilization review, and critical-care nursing.

    As an instructor, Barbara has taught multiple courses and presented webinars across the United States. Courses she has presented include Medicare Conditional Payments: Current Obligations & Medicare Advantage Plans, Aging Workforce, Medicare Set-Aside Basic, and Medicare Set-Aside: MSP Compliance.

    Barbara holds a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing from St. Louis University graduating with honors. Additional professional credentials include Registered Nurse, Certified Life Care Planner, and Medicare Set-Aside Consultant Certified.

    Click here for more information about Barbara.

  • April Groff, PhD

    April Groff, PhD is a licensed neuropsychologist and is the Regional Program Director for Learning Services. She overseas Learning Services Neurobehavioral Institute-East and the Post-Acute Residential Neurorehabilitation Program in Raleigh, NC. Both programs serve adults with moderate to severe brain injuries as they transition from hospital to home.

    April is a graduate of the University of Michigan and received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from Boston University. She completed her predoctoral and postdoctoral fellowships in neuropsychology and rehabilitation psychology at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System.

    Click here for more information about April.

  • Bruce A. Hamilton

    Bruce A. Hamilton is a partner at Teague Campbell Dennis & Gorham LLP in Raleigh. He has developed a special expertise in the field of workers' compensation.

    Bruce has lectured about workers' compensation law at the North Carolina Bar Association's Workers' Compensation Seminars annually from 1997 through 2017. He has also been a member of the faculty and speaker at continuing legal education programs produced by the North Carolina Association of Self-Insurers, North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers, Wake Forest University, and the North Carolina Institute of Government to name a few. In addition, Bruce has lectured at each of the North Carolina Industrial Commission's Annual Educational Conferences from 2001 through 2016, was a council member of the Workers' Compensation Section of the North Carolina Bar Association from 2001 through 2004, was selected by his peers to be included in the North Carolina Edition of Super Lawyers from 2006 through 2016 and has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America© since 2001. Bruce received the unique honor of being named by Best Lawyers as its 2013 Raleigh Workers' Compensation-Employers "Lawyer of the Year", a recognition he again was awarded in 2016 and 2019. He has earned the highest (AV-Rated) raking awarded by Martindale-Hubbell since 2009. In 2018, Bruce was selected as one of the 2018 North Carolina Lawyers Weekly Leaders in the Law, an honor bestowed upon the most influential individuals in our state's legal community.

    Bruce graduated from Tulane University with a Bachelor of Science degree, and received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Originally from a small town outside of Chicago, Bruce spent time in New Orleans, Charlottesville and Boston before settling down in Raleigh to establish his workers' compensation practice.

    Click here for more information about Bruce.

  • Vicki Hewitt-McNeil

    Vicki Hewitt-McNeil is a rehabilitation nurse consultant with the North Carolina Industrial Commission in Raleigh, NC. She has been a Registered Nurse for more than 25 years and has been a certified case manager advocating for injured workers in the workers' compensation arena for 14 years. She is also certified in working with traumatic brain injuries and other catastrophic injuries.

    Vicki has previous experience for oversight of compliance with URAC Accreditation, Quality Management Program, Safety Program, HIPAA, and Nursing Education.

    Vicki attended North Carolina Central University where she received her Bachelor of Science in nursing degree and received her Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Phoenix.

    Click here for more information about Vicki.

  • Frank C. Laney

    Frank C. Laney has served as Circuit Mediator for the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit for over 20 years, mediating in excess of 3700 cases. He is also an adjunct professor at North Carolina Central and Campbell Schools of Law, and an ex-officio member of the NC Dispute Resolution Commission. Annually he teaches mediation in Belarus and other former soviet countries.

    Frank is the former Mediation Coordinator for the NC Industrial Commission, a former partner in Mediation Inc. and for three years in the early 1990's limited his private practice in Raleigh to mediation. He has been a member of the NC Bar Association Dispute Resolution Committee/Section since its inception, and is a past Section Chair. He chaired the joint Section-Commission committee responsible for the 2012 updating and rewriting of Alternative Dispute Resolution in North Carolina, A New Civil Procedure, serving as an author and co-editor of the book. In 2004, the Section presented him with the Peace Award. He was a consultant with the NC Bar Association's Mediated Settlement Conference and District Court Arbitration Pilot Programs. He co-chaired the committees that developed the Family Financial Settlement and Clerk Mediation Programs.

    Frank is certified as a Superior Court, Family Financial and Clerk Program mediator by the NC Dispute Resolution Commission and as a practitioner member of the Academy of Family Mediators.

    Frank received his B.A. from N.C. State University and his J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law

    Click here for more information about Frank.

  • Mary Grace Roberson Linthicum

    Mary Grace Roberson Linthicum represents the North Carolina Industrial Commission as an Assistant Attorney General with the North Carolina Department of Justice. She provides a full range of legal support to the North Carolina Industrial Commission, including the enforcement of civil penalties assessed against non-insured employers. In addition to representing the N.C. Industrial Commission, she handles criminal appeals for the State of North Carolina as assigned by the North Carolina Attorney General.

    Prior to joining the Attorney General's Office, Grace worked for Oxner + Permar, PLLC in Greensboro, North Carolina, as a workers' compensation and social security disability attorney.

    Grace earned her J.D. from Charlotte School of Law and undergraduate degree in Business Administration with a focus in Accounting from Campbell University.

    Most recently, Grace served as a keynote speaker for the North Carolina Women's Leadership Conference.

    Click here for more information about Grace.

  • Annemarie Pantazis

    Annemarie Pantazis is a board certified workers' compensation specialist with the Wilder Pantazis Law Group in Charlotte. She represents plaintiffs in NC workers' compensation claims.

    Annemarie served two terms on the NCAJ Board of Governors and served as Chair of the Workers' Compensation Section. She currently serves on the NC State Bar workers' compensation specialization committee, which drafts and grades the specialization exam. She also currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Workplace Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), which is a nationwide organization of workers' compensation advocates. She received WILG's rising star award, the Charlotte Business Journal's 40 Under 40 Award, Super Lawyers recognitions of Top 25 Lawyers in Charlotte, Top 100 Lawyers in N.C., Top 50 Women Lawyers in N.C., and Best Lawyers-Workers' Compensation Claimant's Lawyer of the Year Award.

    Annemarie earned her B.A. from The College of William & Mary and her J.D. from Wake Forest University School of Law, where she was a published member of the Law Review and Chief Justice of the Moot Court Board.

    Click here for more information about Annemarie.

  • Daniel C. "Dan" Pope Jr.

    Daniel C. "Dan" Pope Jr. is Of Counsel with Wilson Ratledge, PLLC in Raleigh.

    Prior to joining Wilson Ratledge, he was the president of Brooks, Stevens & Pope, PA, a workers' compensation defense firm in Raleigh, NC. Prior to joining Brooks, Stevens & Pope, Mr. Pope served as law clerk to two Industrial Commission Chairs, Ernest Pearson and William Stephenson. He is Board Certified by the North Carolina State Bar as a Specialist in Workers' Compensation Law and concentrates his practice in the representation of employers.

    Mr. Pope is a member of the North Carolina Bar Association (Workers' Compensation Section), the 10th North Carolina Judicial District Bar, the North Carolina State Bar, the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States, and the Eastern and Western District of North Carolina United States District Court Bars. He was admitted as a Fellow of the College of Workers' Compensation Lawyers in 2017 where he serves on the KidsChance committee. He has lectured on workers' compensation and related issues for the North Carolina Bar Association, the North Carolina Industrial Commission's Educational Conference, the Florida Workers' Compensation Institute, and the National Business Institute. He served on the North Carolina Industrial Commission's Opioid Task Force in 2017 and 2018, and currently co-chairs the Workers' Compensation Subcommittee of the North Carolina State Bar's Board of Legal Specialization. He has also served as an adjunct faculty member of the North Carolina Occupational Safety & Health Education Resource Center, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

    He received his undergraduate degree in English Literature from North Carolina State University in 1985 and his law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1988

    Click here for more information about Mr. Pope.

  • Robert Sagrillo

    Robert Sagrillo is the president of national accounts and settlement consulting with NuQuest in Longwood, FL. He is a highly-respected professional in the Medicare set-aside arena and was one of the first Medicare set-aside advisors in the country.

    As an attorney and senior consultant for NuQuest – a leading provider of Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) compliance solutions – Robert draws on his expertise in public benefits, trust and estate planning, and tax to advise his clients on the best and most cost-effective way to maximize benefits for claimants while minimizing the overall cost to and liability of insurance companies and employers. Many of the nation's largest self-insured employers and workers' compensation insurance carriers turn to Robert regularly for consultation.

    Click here for more information about Robert.

  • James Taylor, M.D.

    James Taylor, M.D. is a North Carolina licensed physician, certified in anesthesiology by the American Board of Anesthesiology. He is also a specialist in pain medicine. Dr. Taylor is an owner and president of Integrated Pain Solutions, PLLC, which operates seven pain clinics in eastern North Carolina. The clinics see over 4,000 patients per month. Dr. Taylor is also the owner and CEO of Carolina Medical Investments, LLC, a research and development company that produces CBD and other cannabinoid products under the brand name "ritualx."

    Dr. Taylor received his medical degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. He completed his residency at the University of Utah, and internship at St. Mary's Hospital in California. Dr. Taylor is married, has three children, and lives in Cary.

    Click here for more information about Dr. Taylor.

  • Uta Marie Zacharias

    Uta Marie Zacharias, Senior Claims Counsel, joined Lawyers Mutual in 2018. Prior to joining Lawyers Mutual, Uta worked as Senior Subrogation Counsel at Investors Title Insurance Company since 2010. She came to Investors Title from LandAmerica in Richmond, Virginia, where she served six years as Associate Claims Counsel. Uta also practiced for several years in law firms in Charlotte, N.C. and Richmond, V.A., where she focused on real estate, general business transactional matters, employment and immigration law. Uta is licensed in North Carolina and Virginia. She is a member of the Wake County Real Property Lawyers Association.

    Click here for more information about Uta.

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February 4, 2021
Thu 1:25 PM EST

Duration 3H 25M

This live web event has ended.