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.
EPS was proud again to support the 2018 Rett syndrome golf outing. The tequila bar was a success, and funds were again raised for a good cause.
On June 21, 2018 EPS held another of it’s Morning Speaker Series events, this time a lively session centering on the topic of problem cases and difficult attorneys. Applicant counsel Phillip Cohen joined EPS for this event. Mr. Cohen, a noted and longtime San Diego practitioner, advised the assembled why injured workers seek him out, common issues he sees caused by claims administrators, why and when he seeks penalties and sanctions, as well as why some of his matters pend for such a long time. Alex Oberjuerge of EPS provided the defense view, with strategies for combatting these difficult cases and counsel. Barry Ponticello also provided some history and litigation tactics regarding these matters. As with all the Morning Speaker Series events, industry leaders were once again brought together for cutting edge discussion and food for thought.
On June 21, 2018, EPS will conduct another of its Morning Speaker Series. These events bring together leaders in the workers’ compensation, civil and maritime worlds with EPS attorneys to address the hot button issues of the day. Previously, a number of topics, including a view from the bench, AME concerns and litigation trends, AMA Guides ratings and applications, and the use and legality of Tele-Medicine have been explored.
This edition will address those difficult claims that involve allegations of sanctions, penalties, interest or other concerns, how they develop and strategies to combat and defend these scenarios.
In an appellate matter of significant importance to California carriers and employers, the EPS workers’ compensation subrogation team obtained a victory at the Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District. The Court of Appeal issued a decision reversing the Trial Judge, and vindicating the benefit provider’s rights under Labor Code Section 3856.
The Decision can be read here: http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/G054220.PDF
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.
EPS held another of its Morning Speaker Series editions on August 23, 2017. The Morning Speaker Series brings together leading experts and EPS attorneys to address hot button and/or emerging litigation issues.
In this “Telemedicine edition”, EPS attorneys Barry Ponticello, Terry Wheaton and Alex Oberjuerge discussed legal authority for Telemedicine, current applications and future litigation expectations for this ever expanding part of the workers’ compensation litigation process. EPS was pleased to be joined by a number of clients and friends of the firm.
U.S .Health Works National Director of Telemedicine, David Kobrinetz, provided information from the front lines of Telemedicine. Mr. Kobrinetz addressed the USHW plan, implementation and regulatory dealings, as well as the current USHW applications. It was also enlightening for the attendees to hear about the expected future of Telemedicine in California workers’ compensation from the provider end.