Boxer & Gerson Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialist Maria Sager will be representing Boxer & Gerson, LLP at the California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Convention at the Riverside Convention Center in southern California when she sits on a three-person panel addressing workers’ compensation issues. The three-day convention runs from September 21-23 and is expected to draw some 3,000 attendees, along with a sponsor roster that reads like a Who’s Who in American business (Wells Fargo, Google, AT&T, Pepsico, Aetna, Kaiser Permanente, and many others.)
Sager will be joined on the panel by attorney Yvonne Lang, who represents employers in worker’s compensation cases for a southern California firm, and Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board Judge Adoralida “Dora” Padilla, who has been presiding over workers’ comp cases since her appointment to the judiciary in 2001. The panel discussion will take place in a morning session on the convention’s second day.
Sager joined Boxer & Gerson in February, 2003 and became a partner in January, 2011. She makes frequent presentations around the state to help educate workers on their rights in the workers’ comp system, and also visits various consulates in San Francisco to apprise immigrant workers of their legal rights.
Thirty-nine years after lending his name to the firm he founded with original partner Stewart Boxer, Michael Gerson recently achieved another punctuation point on his long legal career by winning Best Lawyers® recognition as 2017 “Lawyer of the Year” for worker’s compensation in the Oakland metropolitan area. Gerson’s award recognizes his substantial and still ongoing contributions to the field of workers’ compensation law, for which he has won multiple other honors in the greater Bay Area while also serving his profession in a variety of ways.
Among Gerson’s many professional activities is serving as Chair of the State Bar Workers’ Compensation Law Advisory Commission, as a Commissioner of the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization, and as Past President of the California Applicants’ Attorneys Association, where he continues to sit on the Board of Governors. He has also enjoyed teaching assignments at UCSF Medical School’s Department of Occupational Medicine and at UC Berkeley Extension, and has made innumerable presentations to groups such as the Industrial Claims Association, the California Continuing Education Bar, the Conference of California Workers’ Compensation Judges, and many unions and labor groups.
Gerson’s personal affinity for sports is accompanied by a commitment to protecting the well-being of its participants. He does so by serving the NFL Players Association as its recommended workers’ compensation attorney representing players on the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders, as well as any other association member with a claim in Northern California. He represents such clients on issues they may have before the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board of the State of California.
Centro Legal de la Raza’s Youth Law Academy was the focus on Boxer & Gerson attorney Maria Sager’s radio interview show on July 26. Sager is interviewed monthly on Spanish station KIQI by host Michelle White regarding workers’ compensation and other legal issues relevant to the Spanish-speaking community. Her July show featured Youth Law Academy attendee and Boxer & Gerson summer intern Uriel Chavez, along with Centro Legal de la Raza’s Raymundo Jacquez.
The trio discussed Uriel’s experience with his first legal internship and the support provided by Centro Legal de la Raza, an Oakland-based non-profit founded in 1969 to help educate and advance the rights of low-income residents and the Latino community in the Bay Area. Its Youth Law Academy provides an intensive three-year after-school program to youth who have expressed an interest in pursuing legal careers. Boxer & Gerson offers one student a six-week internship experience every summer.
Boxer & Gerson, LLP will participate in Labor Rights Week festivities at the Mexican Consulate in San Francisco for the sixth straight year in 2016. Spanish-speaking attorney Maria Sager visits the consulate monthly to make presentations and answer questions from consulate visitors. On her June visit, she accompanied Alameda Labor Council officials Josie Camacho and Rosa Advincula as the trio made plans for the annual Labor Rights Week observance at the consulate, which takes place this year from August 29 to September 6.
Veteran Boxer & Gerson attorney Arjuna Farnsworth had an article accepted and published in the most recent issue of Workers’ Compensation Quarterly, the highly regarded professional journal of the California State Bar Workers’ Compensation Section. Entitled, “Proving Permanent Disability: The Applicant’s Attorney’s Burden,” the article reviewed the many complex factors in play when an injured worker’s injuries may lead to a judgement of total disability.
One key factor which Farnsworth discusses in some depth is whether the worker is capable of benefiting from participation in a vocational rehabilitation program. This raises many questions of the worker’s capacity, not only from the standpoint of any pain that limits his or her activities, but also in the taking of medication to help control the pain, which may come with side effects that make work difficult to sustain. Farnsworth suggests that only “careful and deliberate development of the medical record,” including “medical evidence of work capacity loss and functional loss” will suffice in obtaining a just verdict.
The article concludes: “If this all sounds hard—that’s because it is!…However, the reward of knowing you are helping truly needful and deserving people inspires and compensates for all the hard work.”
A group known as “Making Change At Walmart” organized an “action event” in Oakland on June 3, at which Boxer & Gerson Workers’ Compensation Specialist Dennis Popalardo was a featured speaker. The event was intended to highlight the multiple ways that the Walmart Corporation falls short in its commitment to workers’ rights and just compensation.
Popalardo has taken on Walmart on behalf of eight different clients over the years, the most recent being an as-yet unresolved case stemming from a client who slipped and suffered a fractured lower back while working in Walmart’s Union City store last May. The woman has not been able to work since, but Walmart has denied her coverage for needed home care and pain medication. The case is also notable in that Walmart had been hesitant to call an ambulance for the worker at the injury site, delaying doing so despite the severe nature of the injury and the employee’s obvious distress.
Walmart has long been known as hostile to union organizing efforts. A Washington Post story last year led with this: “The fact that Wal-Mart opposes unions isn’t news. The company has a long history of fighting them, to the point of closing stores after employees organize. Training documents that surfaced last year showed how managers are instructed to talk to their teams about why unions are so undesirable.”
Nevertheless, organizing efforts continue around the country under a variety of groups. According to Walmart.com, the company employs 1.5 million people in the U.S. alone and another 800,000 internationally. Its U.S. employees represent about 1% of the country’s entire workforce, a statistic that gives it enormous impact in labor relations, with reverberations for policymaking rippling throughout the economy.
In a case eventually ruled upon by the California Supreme Court, Boxer & Gerson attorney Jenny Jerez prevailed in an action that began with a worker’s back injury in 2002 while employed by the Sealy mattress company. Originally awarded $67,000 for her injury, the worker later appealed after her condition worsened. Jerez took the case and was successful in helping her client win the much higher sum of $500,000 plus lifetime coverage for any medical problems stemming from the injury.
When an appeals court ruled that a recently enacted law required the defendant Sealy to pay attorney fees, Sealy appealed to the Supreme Court on the grounds that the case predated the changed law. The Supreme Court ruled for Jerez and her client in upholding the lower court’s decision. This resulted in the client receiving a larger sum, since Jerez’s attorney fees would otherwise have been deducted from the award.
The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 5 invited Boxer & Gerson, LLP attorneys Dennis Popalardo and Justin Litvack to conduct a training on workers’ compensation issues to its shop stewards on May 17 at the union’s headquarters offices in Hayward. Local 5 is highly active as a progressive political force in northern California, and it provides expert training to its stewards and workers on an ongoing basis.
The union represents 30,000 members, primarily in retail grocery and meat, department stores, retail drug stores, agriculture and food processing, financial services and education, among others. With a geographic area extending from Crescent City in the north to Vacaville east and to King City in the Salinas Valley to the south, it remains close to its membership via field offices in Eureka, Martinez, Novato, Salinas, San Francisco, South San Francisco and San Jose.
The California Applicants’ Attorneys Association (CAAA) has invited Boxer & Gerson, LLP workers’ compensation specialists Justin Litvack, Arjuna Farnsworth and Warren Pulley to serve as expert panelists on various seminar programs at its Summer Convention beginning June 30. The four-day event will be held at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis, featuring several daily panels and general sessions pertinent to injured workers and the workers’ compensation system.
Litvack will offer his insights on the topic of “Medical Provider Networks-Survival Guide.” Farnsworth will speak to “Apportionment: Addressing Defense Arguments,” while Pulley will join the discussion entitled, “Behind the Scenes: Insurance Reviews.” All seminars will feature three panelists and run for 75 minutes.
CAAA has been a major force working on behalf of the legal interests of injured workers in California since 1966. It maintains headquarters in Sacramento.