John has practiced workers’ compensation defense from his Sacramento and Los Angeles offices throughout California for almost 20 years and is a California State Bar Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialist. For several years prior to joining another defense firm and later Cuneo, Black, Ward & Missler, he practiced personal injury law and then represented injured workers before the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. John became a shareholder of the firm in 2012.
Representing insurance companies, self-insured employers, and Third Party Administrators, John excels in handling workers’ compensation claims and cases with positive early outcomes. He is a frequent lecturer and presenter at industry conferences and often conducts in-house client training on workers’ compensation laws, best practices, and clear claim strategies.
Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board
John’s first-hand experience practicing before the WCAB gives him significant insight into the Board’s procedures and how to efficiently work through settlements. While these cases are not often clear-cut, John can move the process along to an even speedier conclusion.
Cumulative trauma cases (also known as repetitive injury claims) are becoming one of the more difficult areas to deal with in workers’ compensation claims. John’s many years of representing clients in connection with cumulative trauma cases gives him significant insight into this burgeoning area.
Employment and Coverage Issues
Cases that involve employment and coverage issues are often convoluted and complex as they are both factually and legally challenging. John’s experience with both areas allows him to quickly assess a case and develop a plan for a speedy resolution.
What is the most interesting case you handled?
While at work, an employee shot and killed two co-workers, severely wounded two others and threatened two more, and then walked out to the parking lot and killed himself. After dozens of depositions with voluminous document production and court appearances, the parties are still fighting to determine the threshold issues of the identity of the employer and the responsible coverage. Issues include general-special employer, with a succession of two staffing agencies for the employees and involving three professional employer organizations. Coverage issues include cancellation of policies for the special employer for lack of payment; breach of contract allegations; an uninsured special employer which brought in the Uninsured Employers Benefits Trust Fund; two liquidated carriers which brought in the California Insurance Guarantee Association. Additionally, dependency is disputed and this is before the other usual claims issues are mentioned including indemnity and medical treatment. John was the first attorney to identify and delve deeply into the facts and complex issues of the several cases, which he successfully consolidated, and for which consolidated cases the discovery and litigation are still ongoing.
If not a lawyer…I would own and operate a fishing charter/adventure company and fly-fishing school.