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Claiming Victory: Strategies for Workers' Compensation Advocacy (2023 Workers' Compensation Fall Program)

8:25        Registration and Continental Breakfast

Sponsored by The Deuterman Law Group

8:55        Welcome and Introductions

9:00        Staking Your Claim

Barry Jennings, Jennings Law, Raleigh
Tim Wilson, Mewborn & DeSelms, Jacksonville

Hear the plaintiff, defense and mediator perspectives on how to best prove compensability in your claim or defend the denial of a case.

9:45        Break

9:55        How Much Are We Talking?

Leeann Gerlach, Ricci Law Firm, Greenville
Brian Groesser, Midkiff Muncie & Ross, Raleigh

Receive a primer on how to appropriately value your claim for settlement as well as how to convince your client to follow your recommendations.

10:55      Break

11:05      Litigation Tips and Strategies

Ben Ridings, Wallace & Graham, Salisbury
Deputy Commissioner Layla Santa Rosa, NC Industrial Commission, Raleigh
Reghan Schmitt, Holder Padgett Littlejohn & Prickett LLC, Raleigh

Hear from a deputy commissioner, plaintiff's attorney, and defense attorney on how to conduct yourself in the courtroom and how to advise your client to do the same.

12:05      Lunch Break

1:05        Death Claims

Scott Fuller, Cranfill Sumner LLP, Raleigh
Griff Shuler, Daggett Shuler, Winston-Salem

Learn how to navigate death claims, their compensability, and the benefits owed, as well as how to determine the appropriate beneficiaries.

1:50        Break

2:00        Scarring and Disfigurement

Deputy Commissioner Jesse Tillman III, NC Industrial Commission, Charlotte

Hear from a deputy commissioner on how awards of scarring and disfigurement are made as well as what evidence each side should present.

2:45        Break

2:55        A Moral Compass*

Melissa Cleary, McAngus Goudelock & Courie LLC, Raleigh
Cameron Simmons, Cameron Simmons Law, Wilmington

In this ethics hour, we discuss pushing the limits of zealous advocacy and whether there are common litigation tactics within the Workers' Compensation Bar that cross the lines of ethics.

3:55        Break

4:05        There's a Case for That

Elizabeth Hilker, EMP Law, Winston-Salem

Hear and discuss some of the top cases every workers' compensation attorney should know and how to use them in your practice.

5:05        Adjourn

* Indicates portion providing Ethics/Professional Responsibility credit

Description

This back-to-basics CLE assists you in obtaining the best results for your client, proving the facts of your case, and conducting yourself with decorum and professionalism in all venues.

Contributors

  • Melissa Cleary

    Melissa Cleary is a member at McAngus Goudelock & Courie LLC in Raleigh. Her practice focuses exclusively on workers' compensation. She is a Board Certified Specialist in Workers' Compensation Law and the first female defense attorney in North Carolina to be inducted into the College of Workers' Compensation Lawyers.

    In addition to her many appearances before the North Carolina Industrial Commission, Melissa has handled cases before the North Carolina Court of Appeals, the North Carolina Supreme Court and the EEOC.

    Melissa earned her B.A., magna cum laude, in Economics from Saint Mary's College and her J.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

    Click here for more information about Melissa.

  • Scott Fuller

    Scott Fuller is a Workers' Compensation Attorney with Cranfill Sumner LLP in Raleigh. He has been handling workers' compensation matters for employers, third-party administrators, and workers' compensation carriers since 1992.

    Scott has represented defendants at mediations, before Deputy Commissioners, at the Full Commission, in Superior Court, and in the appellate courts. His representative clients include both insured and self-insured employers, in the manufacturing, construction, transportation, hospitality, and service industries.

    Scott handles many routine claims involving accidents and occupational diseases, both admitted and denied. He also appears before Superior Court judges in connection with third-party claims, and in disputes concerning attorney's fees. Many of his clients and peers know him for his handling of unusual cases involving such out of the ordinary topics as competency, contested dependency, assault, murder, suicide, mental disability, malpractice, joint employment, credits, forum selection, and attendant care. He currently serves on the firm's COVID-19 response team.

    Scott has been a Board Certified Specialist in workers' compensation law in North Carolina since 2000.

    Scott earned his B.A. in History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Scott.

  • Leeann Gerlach

    Leeann Gerlach is a Workers' Compensation Attorney with the Ricci Law Firm in Greenville. She began her career defending employers, insurance companies, and third-party administrators in workers' compensation claims, so she brings a unique and informed perspective to her cases on behalf of injured workers. She has successfully handled cases at both the Deputy Commissioner and Full Commission levels before the North Carolina Industrial Commission, as well as before the Court of Appeals of North Carolina. She has experience with all types of workers' compensation cases, including traumatic injury by accidents, repetitive motion injuries, occupational diseases, and catastrophic claims.

    Leann has an AV Preeminent Rating from Martindale-Hubbell and she was elected to The Best Lawyers in America for 2020 and 2024 due to her work in workers' compensation law*. In 2022 and 2023, she was also selected to the North Carolina Super Lawyers Rising Stars® list. She is a member of the North Carolina State Bar, the North Carolina Bar Association, the Wake County Bar Association, the North Carolina Advocates for Justice, and the Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group, and she recently spoke at a continuing legal education seminar about the impact of immigration on workers' compensation claims in North Carolina. She is currently serving as the Vice Chair of the Workers' Compensation Section for the North Carolina Bar Association.

    Leeann earned her B.A., summa cum laude, in Business Administration and Spanish from Washington and Lee University and her J.D., with honors, from the University of North Carolina School of Law. During her time in law school, she worked as both a staff writer and a contributing editor of the North Carolina Law Review, a volunteer coordinator for Carolina Street Law, and a member of the Faculty Selection Committee. She was elected to serve as an Honors Writing Scholar and council for the graduate honor court. She also received the Gressman-Pollitt Oral Advocacy Award during her first year.

    Click here for more information about Leeann.

  • Brian C. Groesser

    Brian C. Groesser is the Director, Managing Partner of Raleigh Office at Midkiff Muncie & Ross PC. His entire practice is dedicated to serving the needs of employers and insurance carriers in defending workers' compensation claims in North Carolina. He places strong emphasis on the relationships he has with his clients while providing efficient and effective representation. He has successfully defended and closed claims at all levels of the Industrial Commission.

    Since 2017, Brian has hosted a monthly webinar for clients called Legal Lunch Live wherein he discusses news from the Industrial Commission, compensability scenarios, doctor comparisons, and case law updates. Since 2023, he has hosted a one-of-its kind podcast called Claim Closure discussing North Carolina workers' compensation issues. He conducts yearly presentations for clients, as well as the NCBA and the Industrial Commission. He is AV-rated by Martindale Hubbell, listed in The Best Lawyers in America, and is named to North Carolina Super Lawyers Rising Stars.

    Brian earned his A.B, magna cum laude, in Political Science from University of Michigan and his J.D., magna cum laude, from North Carolina Central University School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Brian.

  • Elizabeth Hilker

    Elizabeth Hilker is an associate attorney at EMP Law in Winston-Salem. She practices in the areas of employment law and workers' compensation, and is also experienced in labor law.

    Elizabeth earned her B.A. in History and International Studies, with a minor in Spanish, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his J.D. from Wake Forest University School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Elizabeth.

  • Barry Jennings

    Barry Jennings is owner of Jennings Law in Raleigh. He has represented over 1000 injured workers, employers and insurance carriers in workers' compensation claims at the North Carolina Industrial Commission and North Carolina's Appellate Courts. He has had the opportunity to represent parties in over 1500 mediations throughout his career.

    Barry's extensive experience in representing parties in North Carolina Workers' Compensation cases enables him to understand the value and intricacies of the mediation process. Mediation offers parties the opportunity to control the outcome of their case. An effective mediator offers parties a safe space to understand the risks and benefits of their case. Barry's experience and abilities enable him to approach mediations with the necessary knowledge and skills to explore all aspects of a case and assist in providing parties control.

    Barry is a North Carolina Board Certified Workers' Compensation Specialist.

    Barry earned his B.S. in Animal Sciences from North Carolina State University and his J.D., with honors, from the University of North Carolina School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Barry.

  • Ben Ridings

    Ben Ridings is an attorney at Wallace & Graham in Salisbury. He has been practicing workers' compensation law for over 15 years and is a North Carolina Board Certified Specialist in Workers' Compensation Law.

    Early in his career, Ben represented the interests of insurance companies and large employers. He now dedicates his practice to helping injured workers navigate North Carolina's complex workers' compensation system.

    Ben earned his B.A. in History from the University of North Carolina at Asheville and his J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Ben.

  • Deputy Commissioner Layla T. Santa Rosa

    Deputy Commissioner Layla T. 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.

    Layla graduated, 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.

    Click here for more information about Layla.

  • Reghan Schmitt

    Reghan Schmitt is an Associate Attorney at Holder Padgett Littlejohn & Prickett LLC in Raleigh. She is a member of HPLP's workers' compensation defense team.

    Prior to joining HPLP, Reghan practiced workers' compensation defense for a national civil litigation firm where she represented employers, insurers, and third-party administrators in various industries.

    Reghan earned her B.B.A., Business Administration and Management, from North Carolina State University and her J.D. from Campbell University School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Reghan.

  • Griff Shuler

    Griff Shuler is an attorney with Daggett Shuler in Winston-Salem. He concentrates his practice in Workers' Compensation claims and complex third-party cases. He has extensive experience in handling many different types of workers' compensation claims before the North Carolina Industrial Commission for over 26 years.

    Griff has handled cases involving traumatic brain injury, serious back injuries, neck injuries, severe fractures of the hand, arm, feet or leg, rotator cuff and other shoulder injuries, knee injuries, hip injuries, ligament injuries, cartilage injuries, occupational disease cases, and many other types of work-related injuries.

    Griff earned his B.A., magna cum laude, in Political Science/History from King College (Bristol, TN) and his J.D. from Wake Forest University School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Griff.

  • Cameron D. Simmons

    Cameron D. Simmons is the owner of Cameron Simmons Law PLLC in Wilmington. He is also Of Counsel with several other local firms, running their workers' compensation practices. Cameron is a Board-Certified Specialist in Workers' Compensation and has been since 2005. He is also a certified mediator.

    Cameron was in college a long time and spent a considerable amount of time watching WVU football while in grad and law school at West Virginia University. Unfortunately, his beloved Mountaineers are terrible right now. Despite being born and raised in West Virginia, Cameron somehow finds time to wear shoes (but not always a shirt) and has all his teeth.

    After graduating in 1999, Cameron moved to North Carolina and began practicing on the dark side of the force with McAngus Goudelock and Courie. He then moved to the beach and helped open the Wilmington office of Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog. After years of evil, he saw that light and switched to the Plaintiff's side of the v in 2006. His practice now is focused almost solely on Plaintiff's workers' compensation and mediation.

    Cameron has handled cases at all levels of the Industrial Commission and the appellate courts. He has been and is presently on some boards and has been an officer of stuff here and there…but that's kinda boring. What's not boring is that he lives on a hobby farm in Wilmington, with tons of animals, his smoke show partner Lindsay and their 2 teenage boys (1 of which is bad). The fact that both kids are still alive is a miracle that Cameron should receive complete credit for.

    P.S. Cameron picked his profile picture because it represents the only running sport in which Cameron can beat Heather.

    Click here for more information about Cameron.

  • Casey Spence

    Casey Spence is an attorney with Sumwalt Anderson in Greensboro.

    Prior to joining the firm, Casey worked at Deuterman Law Group as an associate attorney in workers' compensation, following previous stints there as a law clerk and new client coordinator.

    In 2016, Casey was one of a select group of attorneys in the state who qualified as a Board Certified Specialist in Workers' Compensation, a title that was renewed in 2022.

    Casey is actively involved in a number of professional development groups, including the NC Bar Association and the NC Advocates for Justice (NCAJ). Others in the legal field consider her a leader in workers' compensation law, especially cases involving undocumented workers.

    Casey earned her B.A. in Political Science, Spanish Language and Literature, Middle Eastern Studies from North Carolina State University and her J.D., with honors, from the University of North Carolina School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Casey.

  • Jesse "Jay" Tillman

    Jesse "Jay" Tillman is Deputy Commissioner with the North Carolina Industrial Commission in Charlotte. He was appointed in August of 2015. Before joining the Commission, he was in private practice concentrating in the areas of personal injury, products liability, and real property liability. He is admitted to practice law in both North Carolina and South Carolina.

    Jay is also a recently retired Captain of the United States Navy (reserve component) and last served while activated and mobilized as the Occupational Safety and Operations Risk Management Officer and as a battle director for the Commander of U.S. Fifth Fleet in Bahrain. He was also active in Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Southern Watch, Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, and Inherent Resolve.

    Jay earned his B.A. in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his J.D. from the Campbell University School of Law.

  • Tim Wilson

    Tim Wilson is an attorney with Mewborn & DeSelms in Jacksonville His practice areas include workers' compensation, local government representation, civil litigation, and labor and employment disputes.

    For the first 11 years of his legal career, Tim practiced at Lewis & Roberts PLLC in Raleigh. Focusing primarily on workers' compensation law, he earned partnership status at Lewis & Roberts before ultimately electing to return to his Eastern North Carolina roots in 2018. At that point, he joined Mewborn & DeSelms.

    Tim has experience representing clients before the North Carolina Industrial Commission, the North Carolina Court of Appeals, the North Carolina Supreme Court, and the United States Department of Labor, as well as in North Carolina District and Superior courts and the North Carolina Office of Administrative Hearings. He is admitted to practice in both state and federal court.

    Tim earned his B.S. in Business Administration and Management from North Carolina State University and his J.D. from Campbell University Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Tim.

  • Tyler L. Younts

    Tyler L. Younts is an attorney with Orbock Ruark & Dillard PC in Winston-Salem.

    Tyler joined the firm in 2022 after completing a six-year term as a deputy commissioner at the North Carolina Industrial Commission where he presided over workers' compensation claims, civil tort claims, and other matters. He also sat on several Full Commission panels, hearing appeals of other deputy commissioner decisions. Before being appointed deputy commissioner, he served the Full Commission as a law clerk.

    Prior to joining the Industrial Commission, Tyler worked as a non-profit organization attorney and practiced appellate litigation.

    Tyler is a member of the Greensboro Bar Association and the Federalist Society, and he is an E.A. Morris Leadership Fellow.

    Tyler earned his B.S. in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his J.D. from Campbell University, Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law. He is admitted to practice law in North Carolina state courts, as well as the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

    Click here for more information about Tyler.

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November 17, 2023
Fri 8:25 AM EST
North Carolina Bar Center 8000 Weston Parkway Cary, NC 27511 919.677.0561

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Duration 8H 40M

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