NWCDC Legal/Regulatory Solutions Track Preview

Breakout sessions for the Legal/Regulatory Solutions track of the 2014 National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference® cover temps, ethics, and exclusive remedy.
By: | August 18, 2014

The 23rd annual National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo takes place Nov. 19-21 at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. The confer­ence is produced by LRP Publications, which also publishes Risk & Insurance®.

ConferenceHere’s a preview of the breakout sessions for the Legal/Regulatory Solutions track of the 2014 National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference®.

Turning the Workers’ Comp Settlement Into a Global Settlement: Tackling the General Release and Resignation

Speakers:

  • Jeffrey A. Kadis, partner, Hedrick Gardner Kincheloe & Garofalo LLP
  • Bill Wainscott, manager, Workers’ Compensation and Occupational Health, International Paper

Employers may face federal and state lawsuits if they apply the wrong approach when discussing employment separation with an injured employee whose workers’ comp claim is being litigated. Charges of wrongful termination, discrimination, and violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act can be leveled against them. The speakers will discuss ways employers and their insurers or claims service providers can coordinate to properly broach the worker’s separation and how to conduct a global settlement to avoid litigation.

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They will offer ways to assess the circumstances that may allow a successful general release/resignation, discuss how to select the appropriate strategy for releasing contentious workers’ comp claimants, and address potential litigation problems when dealing with injured workers.

Top 10 Ways to Reduce Your Legal Expenses NOW

Panelists:

  • Jill Dulich, senior director, Marriott claims services
  • Richard Lenkov, partner, Bryce Downey & Lenkov LLC

Legal expenses in the workers’ comp system can be astronomical, especially in states such as California and Illinois that have high litigation expenses. It is incumbent on employers and payers to reduce and eliminate legal expenses immediately, suggest the speakers. The two will discuss ways employers can eradicate waste, cut through legal jargon, and get to the bottom line quickly.

Workers’ Compensation and Its Secondary Payers: Medicare and Medicaid.

Speakers:

  • Vernon Sumwalt, partner, The Sumwalt Law Firm
  • Tim Nay, founding principal, Law Offices of Nay & Friedenberg

Moderator:

  • Jennifer C. Jordan, general counsel, MEDVAL LLC

While the SMART Act has improved access to Medicare conditional payment information and streamlined MSP reimbursements, a new law strengthens Medicaid’s reimbursement rights, making them very similar to Medicare’s. Some experts question whether this may be the start of another trend to further enhance Medicaid’s secondary payer rights and address its future medical expenses. With the new law set to take effect October 2016, practitioners need to know if they will face long-term care expenses on top of Medicare set-asides and significant delays in settlements.

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The attorney panelists will offer all the facts and discuss the adjustments employers can make to be in the best position.

Direct and Peripheral Attacks on the Exclusive Remedy Doctrine

Speakers:

  • Deborah G. Kohl, managing partner, The Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl
  • Lex K. Larson, president, Employment Law Research Inc.

Moderator:

  • Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., workcompwriter.com

The exclusive remedy doctrine serves as the foundation of the great “bargain” between employees and employers. But now, the lure of the large verdict has spawned both direct and peripheral attacks on the employer’s exclusivity defense. Questions have arisen as to whether federal RICO can be used as an end run around the exclusivity defense. If an employer denies a claim as nonwork-related, can it subsequently defend a civil suit with an exclusivity argument? Has the definition of “intentional injury” been so watered down that it is no longer a meaningful defense? The expert panelists will also discuss whether exclusivity is still a powerful tool for the employer. They will also evaluate the dangers of taking a legal position on a small claim that can be later used against the employer in a much larger tort action and discuss ways to recognize the types of employer/carrier activity that undermine the defense.

Ethics for HR Specialists, Risk Managers, and Claims Adjusters

Speaker:

  • Eugene F. Keefe, partner, Keefe, Campbell, Biery & Associates

The role of ethics in claims handling cannot be underestimated. For example, an employer may end up bearing responsibility for a vendor who acts in bad faith. Situations such as setting up Medicare set-aside accounts, dealing with HIPAA concerns, and addressing fraud should not lead to a company’s downfall. Veteran attorney Eugene Keefe will outline the risks and solutions to ethically challenging workers’ comp scenarios.

He will describe the genesis and development of ethics in the industry, review best practices for ethical handling of claims, and offer ways to recognize the risks involved when confronted with unethical decisions by others.

Temp Nation: Risks, Red Flags, and Injury Rates

Panelists:

  • Corey Berghoefer, senior vice president, Risk Management and Insurance, Randstad
  • Richard M. Jacobsmeyer, partner, Shaw, Jacobsmeyer, Crain & Claffey PC

Moderator:

  • Brad Bleakney, managing partner, Bleakney & Troiani
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The unprecedented growth of temporary workers since 2000 has picked up speed in recent years and continues to be a major trend in a stutter step economy. The speakers will examine a variety of resulting issues from temp workers’ high injury rates to underwriting workers’ comp coverage for employers using a large number of temps.

They will offer insight to interpret how employers can limit exposure when dealing with temp agencies and subcontractor contracts, manage any potential third-party liability concerns from using temp or borrowed employees, and examine case law involving the exclusive remedy doctrine when using temp or borrowed employees.

Nancy Grover is the president of NMG Consulting and the Editor of Workers' Compensation Report, a publication of our parent company, LRP Publications. She can be reached at [email protected]

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The R&I Editorial Team can be reached at [email protected]