EPS’ piece on medical-legal communications, a hot button legal issue, was published in the May edition of the worker’s compensation section of the State Bar magazine, Workers’ Compensation Quarterly. The magazine requested that EPS update a prior article on the topic for the magazine’s May 2020 publication.
The United States Supreme Court heard oral argument on March 25, 2019 in the matter of The Dutra Group v Batterton, which case now stands submitted for decision. The issue to be addressed is the scope of a seaman’s damages under the general maritime law, namely whether punitive damages may be sought. On behalf of the maritime employer/vessel owner Defendant, EPS was successful in having both the Trial Court and 9th Circuit certify the interlocutory appeals sought. Wilmer Hale joined in as Supreme Court co- counsel.
The EPS team has long made law in all areas of their practice, be it general liability, LHWCA, subrogation, CA workers’ compensation or maritime law. On just this issue now to be decided by the SCOTUS, EPS has previously litigated the Jones Act/general maritime damages scope in multiple matters at all judicial levels- (CA) State and Federal Trial Courts, State and Federal Courts of Appeal, and now, the U.S. Supreme Court. This issue will now be decided for all of America by the SCOTUS.
The very questions of injury and proof were before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in a recently argued LHWCA matter. The matter arose as an orthopedic and pulmonary cumulative trauma claim of a decades long maritime pile driver asserted against his last maritime employer. The matter was tried over multiple days by Barry Ponticello, with an ALJ finding of no orthopedic or pulmonary injury. This decision was affirmed by the BRB.
At the 9th Circuit, the Claimant sought an alternative standard of proof in multiple employer cases, as well as differing occupational disease injury standards. Briefing opposing these theories was undertaken by Renee St.Clair and Mr. Ponticello, with Mr. Ponticello arguing the matter before the 3 judge appellate panel, who affirmed the Trial Decision.
The National Shipbuilding Research Program (NSRP) brings its educational conference to San Diego. The NSRP’s mission is to manage and focus national shipbuilding and ship repair research and development funding on technologies and processes that will reduce the total ownership cost of ships for the U.S. Navy, other national security customers and the commercial sector and develop and leverage best commercial and naval practices to improve the efficiency of the U.S. shipbuilding and ship repair Industry.
Barry Ponticello and Renee St. Clair were requested as featured speakers on the interplay of the Longshore and Harborworkers Compensation Act (LHWCA) and the Jones Act. Mr. Ponticello and Ms. St.Clair have litigated scores of LHWCA and Jones Act matters from the Trial level through the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal.
In a workers’ compensation subrogation matter involving post Trial division of judgment proceeds and the application and interpretation of Labor Code Section 3856, EPS appeared before the 4th District Court of Appeal, Division Three in Santa Ana. Barry Ponticello, a veteran of California Supreme Court, California Appellate Court and U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit oral arguments, argued on behalf of the benefit provider.
In keeping with the firm’s long standing public speaking and presenting tradition, EPS (www.eps-law.com) hosts an ongoing speaker series, bringing together leading experts and EPS attorneys to address hot topic litigation issues.
Frequent AME Dr. Lane appeared at one of the events, detailing a medical legal evaluator’s role in the litigation process, as well as addressing his process for assessing permanent disability and apportionment. Barry Ponticello spoke on the role of the defense counsel in litigating permanent disability and apportionment issues. Susan England, with her years of experience as a workers’ compensation judge, gave the attendees the view from the bench.