8:25 Registration and Continental Breakfast
8:55 Welcome and Introductions
9:00 Extended-Benefits Cases: Trends and Case Law Updates
Tracey Jones, Teague Campbell, Raleigh
The future landscape for extended benefits remains somewhat unclear as the first cases are being appealed to the Court of Appeals. This presentation analyzes the extended-benefits decisions to date and trends we are seeing so far.
10:10 COVID Death Claims: What Have We Learned These Last Two Years?
Trey Collier, The Collier Law Firm, Charlotte Hunter Eddins-Gentel, Ricci Law Firm, Raleigh
During this session, we examine the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on workers' compensation claims in North Carolina. Attendees receive an overview of the statistics of claims filed, a breakdown of the industries that are experiencing the most claims, and data from the North Carolina Industrial Commission on acceptance/denials and litigation. The speakers also discuss the best tactics for handling COVID claims, including analysis of pursuing as occupational disease or injury by accident.
11:20 Handling the Rocket Docket: Expedited Medical Motion Strategies and Best Practices at the Industrial Commission
Deputy Commissioner Kevin Howell, North Carolina Industrial Commission, Raleigh Deputy Commissioner Layla Santa Rosa, North Carolina Industrial Commission, Raleigh
Learn how to navigate the three routes to an expedited medical motion hearing and how to spot issues that can derail them. This session covers some of the frequent pitfalls that may arise along the way, including whether a claim is subject to 97-18(b) or (d), issues outside of medical compensation, and deviation from the expedited time frame, among others.
12:20 Lunch Break
1:20 Structured Settlements
Brent Bowers, Arcadia Settlements Group, O'Fallon, MO
Pre-reform cases, or other cases with long-term disability issues, can be extremely difficult to settle. This session discusses how structured settlements can work for both sides, what options are available for settlement structures (including use of options like CareGuard and annuities), and how to navigate this somewhat-creative settlement solution for your clients.
2:30 Work-From-Home Injuries: Compensability and Prevention
Mason Littlefield, MCG Law, Charlotte Viral Mehta, Mehta and McConnell, Charlotte
As telecommuting has become more of a reality post-pandemic, so have the related injuries and claims. This session reviews the applicable case law that is referenced in work-from-home injuries, the prevalence with which these cases are showing up at the Industrial Commission, and the concerns of employers and carriers on prevention and best practices.
3:40 Hot Topics in Workers' Compensation Mediations
Jackie Clare, Mediator, Raleigh Tom Clare, Mediator, Raleigh
What can be done if mediation is conducted remotely and the plaintiff is unable to sign the agreement? In addressing the issues surrounding signing, this session discusses relevant advisory opinions, case law and statutory changes. Mediation attendance rules and recent changes to Industrial Commission requirements for mediators are also addressed, along with confidentiality and inadmissibility relating to what is said and done during mediation conferences.
It's time to discuss hot topics in the world of workers' compensation law!
Brent Bowers is a Structured Settlement Consultant at Arcadia Settlements Group in O'Fallon, MO.
Prior to joining Arcadia Settlements Group, Brent Bowers was a Concierge Banker at Avenue Bank, a community bank in Nashville with a strong focus on music industry clients. There he served as a team leader to develop new business while providing world-class customer service and banking solutions to a client base of 300+ individuals and businesses. Before that, Brent worked in both Marketing and Artist & Repertoire roles for Universal Music Group (UMG). While at UMG, he worked with artist managers, producers, and engineers to create and manage over 35 recording projects.
Brent graduated from Miami University (OH) where he earned a B.S. in Finance with an emphasis in Entrepreneurship.
Brent Bowers is a native of St. Louis, MO and has returned home to join the busy and successful Arcadia Settlements Group team. He and his wife, Sarah, enjoy traveling, exploring new restaurants and playing at the park with their dog, Mason.
Click here for more information about Brent.
Jacqueline R. "Jackie" Clare
Jacqueline R. "Jackie" Clare is a DRC Certified Mediator – Superior Court in Raleigh. After practicing law with Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, Jackie became a DRC certified superior court mediator in 1993 and since that time has devoted her professional career to a full-time mediation practice, having mediated over five thousand cases primarily in the areas of workers' compensation, personal injury, business, bankruptcy, and medical malpractice.
Jackie is a recipient of the 2013 Lawyers' Weekly Women of Justice Litigation Practitioner Award, the NCBA Dispute Resolution Section Peace Award, and is included as one of the Best Lawyers in America and a North Carolina Super Lawyer for her work in mediation. She has served as a member of the NCBA Board of Governors and the North Carolina Dispute Resolution Commission; she is past chair of the NCBA Dispute Resolution Section and immediate past Chair of the NCBA Women in the Profession Committee. Jackie is an adjunct professor at Campbell Law School, teaching Mediation Advocacy.
Jackie received her B.A. degree from East Carolina University and her J.D. degree with honors from the University of North Carolina School of Law.
Thomas M. "Tom" Clare
Thomas M. "Tom" Clare is a DRC Certified Mediator – Superior Court in Raleigh. Tom practiced with Teague Campbell Dennis & Gorham from 1987 to 2007, and during that time handled both liability and workers' compensation matters. From 1995 to 2007 he specialized in the defense of asbestos related occupational disease workers' compensation cases. From 2008 to 2011 Tom was the managing partner of the Raleigh office of Oxner Thomas & Permar. He became a certified mediator in 2001, and since 2011 has conducted a full-time mediation practice. Prior to becoming a full-time mediator, he was a Board-Certified Specialist in Workers' Compensation.
From 2014 to 2020 Tom was a member of the North Carolina Dispute Resolution Commission, where he served on the Standards and Advisory Opinions Committee. He is a councilor on the North Carolina Bar Association Dispute Resolution Section Council, and co-chair of the Ethics and Practice Committee of the NCBA Dispute Resolution Section.
Tom received his B.A. degree from East Carolina University and his J.D. degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law.
Trey Collier is an attorney at The Collier Law Firm in Charlotte. He began his legal career working for a large defense firm that represented employers and insurance companies in workers' compensation cases. In other words, doing the opposite of what he does now. Even though Trey quickly discovered that he'd rather fight on the side of injured workers instead of defend big insurance carriers, his initial experience on the other side of the courtroom has given Trey a unique and invaluable perspective. He knows how both sides of a workers' compensation case think. He knows the process. And he knows what employers and their insurance companies are ultimately trying to achieve.
Trey has appeared before the deputy commissioners of the North Carolina Industrial Commission, the Full Commission, the North Carolina Court of Appeals, and the North Carolina District and Superior Courts. He has also spoken on a wide array of topics relating to workers' compensation law in North Carolina.
A native of Salisbury, Trey earned a double major in history and political science at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before receiving his J.D. from Campbell University School of Law.
Click here for more information about Trey.
Hunter Eddins-Gentel is a personal injury attorney at Ricci Law Firm in Raleigh. She dedicates her practice to helping individuals who have been hurt on the job. She is a North Carolina Board-certified specialist in workers' compensation law. She is a dedicated and compassionate workers' compensation attorney with over 10 years of experience. She represents injured workers across the State.
Hunter has an inside perspective of what her clients may be up against as she worked two years for Insurance Companies and Employers after graduating law school. Hunter has also participated in numerous Trial Competitions while in Law School and was recognized for her court room advocacy but her induction in the Order of Barristers.
Hunter earned her B.A.,
cum laude, majoring in Politcal Science and minoring in Communications and History, from Meredith College and her J.D. from Campbell University Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law.
Hunter grew up in Zebulon and has returned there to raise her family with her husband. She also gives back to her community by serving on the Boys and Girls Club Board of Directors and the Meredith College- Meredith Fund Board of Directors.
Click here for more information about Hunter.
Deputy Commissioner Kevin Howell
Deputy Commissioner Kevin Howell is from the North Carolina Industrial Commission in Raleigh. He was appointed as a Deputy Commissioner in December 2016. He came to the Commission from the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, where he served as General Counsel from 2015-16. He entered state government in 2013 with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services as Legal Communications Coordinator, and he later served as Acting Assistant Communications Director and then Acting Communications Director.
Prior to entering state government, Kevin started his own law firm in 2009, and his primary practice areas included criminal defense and general civil litigation.
Kevin earned his undergraduate degrees from North Carolina State University in Biological Sciences and Political Science, graduating
summa cum laude. He received his J.D., with a Trial and Advocacy Concentration, from Campbell University School of Law, where he was a member of several trial teams and a staff writer for the Campbell Law Observer.
Tracey L. Jones
Tracey L. Jones is a partner with Teague Campbell Dennis & Gorham LLP in Raleigh. She is co-chair of Teague Campbell's Workers' Compensation practice group and also serves on the firm's Executive Committee. She leads her team with passion and 21 years of workers' compensation experience.Tracey focuses her practice exclusively in the field of workers' compensation, and has extensive experience defending both insurance companies and employers throughout North Carolina. Tracey also specializes in defending asbestosis and other occupational disease claims. In addition to her trial practice before the North Carolina Industrial Commission, she has significant appellate practice, having defended numerous workers' compensation claims before the North Carolina Court of Appeals and North Carolina Supreme Court.
In addition to her certification as a NC mediator, Tracey has been designated as a Medicare Set-Aside Certified Consultant by the International Commission on Health Care Certification. She is an active member of the NC Association of Healthcare Risk Managers and the NC Public Risk Management Association. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the NC Association for Defense Attorneys, a key organization in the workers' compensation community.
Tracey earned her B.A., English and Business from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her J.D. from Wake Forest University.
Click here for more information about Tracey.
Mason Littlefield is an associate at MCG Law in Charlotte. Her practice focuses on workers' compensation.
Prior to joining MGC, she worked at Mecklenburg County District Attorney's office for more than six years.
Mason earned her B.S in Environmental Technology, Business Management with a concentration in Marketing from North Carolina State University and her J.D. from Charlotte School of Law.
Click here for more information about Mason.
Viral Mehta is owner and partner at Mehta and McConnell PLLC in Charlotte. He spent the first decade of his legal career defending employers and large insurance companies in workers' compensation claims. He developed expertise in workers' compensation law, but he felt a lack of fulfillment in representing insurance companies against injured workers. His previous experience representing insurance companies gave him the insight necessary to effectively represent injured workers. He knows how insurance companies and adjusters handle workers' compensation claims.
Viral is a North Carolina State Bar board-certified specialist in workers' compensation law. He has obtained favorable decisions before all levels of the North Carolina Industrial Commission, Court of Appeals, and Supreme Court. He was a contributing author of the 2017 edition of the
North Carolina Workers' Compensation LexisNexis Practice Guide, and he was selected as a Super Lawyers Rising Star in 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022.
Viral is certified by the North Carolina Dispute Resolution Commission as a Superior Court mediator. He enjoys mediating cases, especially workers' compensation claims. In addition to practicing workers' compensation law, he also handles personal injury cases.
Viral graduated from Davidson College with a B.A. in History and earned his J.D. from Wake Forest University School of Law.
Click here for more information about Viral.
Deputy Commissioner Layla Santa Rosa
Deputy Commissioner Layla Santa Rosa was appointed as a Deputy Commissioner in January 2019. She joined the Industrial Commission in 2005, first as a Special Deputy Commissioner in the Executive Secretary's Office, and then as the Law Clerk in the Full Commission Section.
In 2009, Layla left the Commission to practice workers' compensation law with a law firm in Raleigh, where she was a Senior Associate for six years before returning to the Commission.
magna cum laude, from Peace College and earned her J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law, where she was a member of the North Carolina Journal of International Law and Commercial Regulation.
Jennifer Segnere is an associate attorney at Johnson & Groninger PLLC in Durham. She practices in the areas of personal injury, workers' compensation, and employment law.
Jennifer was associated for six years with a respected Raleigh law firm practicing in the areas of workers' compensation and personal injury law, before opening her own practice in 2015. She joined Johnson & Groninger as an Associate Attorney in 2018.
A Board Certified Specialist in Workers' Compensation Law, Jennifer is also fluent in Spanish. She is a member of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice. She also has a deep-seated commitment to providing legal services to underprivileged communities and has volunteered for El Centro Hispano in Durham.
Jennifer earned her B.S. in English and Communications from the University at Buffalo and her J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law. While in law school, she was both a member of the North Carolina Law Review and the Jessup International Moot Court Team.
Click here for more information about Jennifer.
Lindsay A. Underwood
Lindsay A. Underwood is a partner at Teague Campbell in Raleigh. She focuses the majority of her practice in the area of workers' compensation. She represents a variety of insurance carriers and employers, but has specific experience in the healthcare and automotive industries, and with asbestos defense. Lindsay also works with the Municipal Law team to represent counties in property tax appeals.
Lindsay attended Cleveland State University and received a B.A. in Journalism and Promotional Communication. She earned her J.D. from Wake Forest University School of Law. During law school, she was a member of the National Trial Team and the National Moot Court Team. She also participated in the Wake Forest Civil and Criminal Externship Clinic, where she was able to utilize her advocacy skills in the courtroom. Upon completion of her program, Lindsay was inducted into The Order of Barristers, which recognizes students for excellence in trial advocacy during law school.
Click here for more information about Lindsay.
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