Workers' Compensation Section

News from the Section

2016 Spring Education Conference

Saturday, June 4, 2016
The Cliffs Resort
2757 Shell Beach Rd
Pismo Beach, CA
Register Online

Program Schedule | Essential Information | Printable Brochure | Mail/Fax Reg. Form

Earn 6 hours of participatory MCLE credit, including 1 hour in Legal Ethics, and 6 hours legal specialization credits in Workers' Compensation Law! Read more.

Advanced Litigation Skills Boot Camp

Advanced Litigation Skills Boot CampSaturday, July 16, 2016
The State Bar of California
180 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94105

Saturday, July 23, 2016
Los Angeles Airport Marriott
5855 West Century Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90045

Earn 6 Hours MCLE Credit and Legal Specialization

Program Schedule | Essential Information | Printable Brochure Mail/Fax Reg. Form
Register Online - San Francisco | Register Online - Los Angeles

For full program information, see Advanced Litigation Skills Boot Camp.

Announcing the Recipients of the 2016 State Jimenez Memorial Special Recognition Awards

We're pleased to announce this year's recipients! The awards will be presented during a reception at The State Bar of California Annual Meeting.  Watch for details! For information about winners in past years, see Steve Jimenez Memorial Special Recognition Awards.

Lifetime Achivement Award

Frederick DietrichFrederick Dietrich

Frederick T.“Rick” Dietrich joined the legal staff of the WCAB in 1979. From 1983 to 1990 he was an applicant’s attorney with the law firm of Airola, Williams, Dietrich and Otis. He returned to the Appeals Board in 1992 as its staff Workers’ Compensation Judge, and in 1992, he was elevated to Deputy Commissioner.  In 2008 he was named Secretary and Deputy Commissioner. In that capacity Rick served as the WCAB’s chief advisor and legal counsel. During his entire tenure, he has been regarded as an efficient manager of the WCAB staff, as well as one of the top legal minds in the field.

In 2008, Rick’s effective liaison with the DWC and his deep understanding of every aspect of workers compensation litigation was instrumental in providing the WCAB with a seamless transition from a paper adjudication filing system to an electronic adjudication management system (EAMS.) This was recognized by all, as a monumental feat on his part.

During each set of “legal reforms” such as the 2004 SB 899 and the 2012 SB 863, Rick’s extensive and high caliber knowledge of the workers’ compensation system provided essential guidance for the WCAB, as they maneuvered through each new slate of legislation. His brilliant expertise helped formulate new legal theories, which resulted in the issuance of over 30 en banc decisions including Almaraz-Guzman, Ogilvie, Weiner, Cervantes, Blackledge, Guitron, Valdez, Messele, Torres, Navarro, Dubon, Neri-Hernandez and many others.

Rick and his wife, Theresa, are looking forward to increased family time since Rick retired on December 30, 2015. This will mean more opportunity to spend time with his son Andrew, his daughter-in-law Viara, his daughter Elisabeth, his son-in-law Shane Curran, and of course, the light of his life, his grandchildren, James and  Maggie.

Michael GersonMichael Gerson

Michael Gerson, native of Alameda and a 1974 graduate of USF Law School, is the co-founder with Stewart Boxer of Boxer & Gerson, LLP. Michael has made it his personal mission for over 40 years to steer the firm toward compassionate and high quality representation of injured workers and their families. He brings uncommon understanding and skillful means to the maze that injured workers must navigate through very trying times. His name has become synonymous with the great integrity, commitment and passion with which he has practiced the law and helped mentor a new generation of attorneys.

Michael’s widespread reputation rests on the consistent success he has enjoyed in both his own practice and the accomplishments of his firm, which has grown to become one of the dominant forces protecting workers, and other injured or disabled people in Northern California. He has been recognized since 1995 as one of the “Best Lawyers in America”, and as a Northern California “Super Lawyer” since 2005. Always meticulously prepared, he has won the respect of fellow attorneys, judges, and other observers for both his legal acumen and the respect he tirelessly demonstrates for his profession.

Michael has been a Certified Specialist in workers’ compensation since 1980. He has litigated thousands of claims before the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, and has argued cases before the California Supreme Court, and the California Courts of Appeal. Michael served on the State Bar Workers’ Compensation Legal Specialization Committee, and received special recognition by the State Bar as chair of the committee. Additionally, Mike is a past president of the California Applicant’s Attorney’s Association (1989-1990), and sits on the Board of Governors. He has been on the program faculty for the UCSF Medical School Department of Occupational Medicine and has lectured before the UC Berkeley Extension Division, the Industrial Claims Association, the California Society of Industrial Medicine, the California CEB, the Conference of California Workers’ Compensation Judges, as well as many many unions and other groups. In 2012, Michael was selected by the NFL Players’ Association as its panel attorney, representing the San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Raiders.

Michael is especially grateful for the loving support of his family, wife, Jamie, and his son, Major Michael Andrew Gerson, USMC, and daughter, Carly Gerson Santos, RN.

Applicants' Attorney Award

Joseph CapurroJoseph V. Capurro

Joseph V. Capurro, Esq. has practiced in the field of Workers Compensation Law since he was admitted to the California Bar in 1980. He is a sole practitioner at The Law Office of Joseph V. Capurro in San Jose, CA, and has represented injured workers before the Workers Compensation Appeals Board and Courts of Appeal since his admission to the Bar. Currently, his practice is limited to such representation. He has been a certified specialist in the field of Workers Compensation for over 20 years.
Mr. Capurro has frequently participated in matters involving Workers Compensation issues before the California Supreme Court and various California Courts of Appeal, including the recent Stevens v. WCAB case as Amicus in support of the Petitioner.

He is an active member of the California Applicants Attorneys Association and is a member of the Board of Directors. He currently serves on several committees of the organization and is Co-Chair of the Amicus Curiae Committee. He is a frequent lecturer on matters involving Workers Compensation, particularly on the topic of recent case law developments.
Additional memberships include the Santa Clara County Bar Association, the Bar Association of San Francisco, the Workers Injury Law & Advocacy Group, and the American Association for Justice.

Mr. Capurro is a graduate of California State University, Hayward (BA Political Science) and received his JD from the University of Santa Clara School of Law (1980). He is married to his wife Jackie and has three adult sons, none of whom are lawyers.

He enjoys traveling, gardening, and spending time with his granddaughter. He is a member of the Italian Folk Art Federation of America and has a keen interest in Italian culture, language, and folk traditions.

Defense Attorney Award

Michael CartierMark Cartier

Mark Cartier is a partner in the workers compensation defense firm of Thomas, Lyding, Cartier, Arnone & Daily LLP in Walnut Creek California.

Mr. Cartier received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California San Diego in 1983, and received his Juris Doctor with Honors from the University Of San Francisco School Of Law in 1986.

He became a member of the California Bar in 1986, and is a certified specialist in workers compensation.

He was admitted to the State Bar of Arizona in 1993.

He was a Northern California workers compensation Superlawyer in the years 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011.

He has been involved in a number of Court of Appeal cases, including oral argument in the First District Court of Appeal in the seminal apportionment case of Brodie v WCAB. He was involved in writs in Zipton v. WCAB (1990) 218 Cal. App. 3d 980, and CNA v. WCAB (Kirkeby), (2006) 71 Cal. Comp. Cases 149.
More recently, he wrote the petitioner’s brief and did oral argument in the case of Contra Costa County v. WCAB (Dahl) (2015) 240 Cal. App. 4th 746.

When he isn’t glued to a computer screen, he enjoys skiing, hiking, and camping

Judge of the Year

Hon. Paige S. Levy

Paige Levy was appointed as a Workers’ Compensation Judge at the Marina del Rey WCAB in 2005.  She was appointed to the Presiding Judge’s position in 2012 and the Chief Judge position in 2016.  Prior to being appointed as a Judge, she was the Managing Partner for Levy & Associates, PC and the Managing Partner for Specter & Levy, LLP.   Judge Levy was the Chair of the Workers’ Compensation State Bar Executive Committee for the 2013-2014 term and served on the committee for five years.  She has been a board member for the California Conference of Workers’ Compensation Judges.  Judge Levy was the project manager for the 2013 revisions to the DWC Policy and Procedural Manual.  The Judge is the chair of the DWC Ethics Advisory Committee.  Over the last ten years she has spoken on numerous topics including the application of the AMA Guides, Case Law update, Utilization Review, WCAB policy and procedure, ethics, specialization exam prep, liens, and litigation tips for attorneys.  She is a regular presenter for the State Bar and the Division of Workers’ Compensation.  Judge Levy was the 2013 CAAA Judge of the Year; the 2012 Work Comp Central Magna Comp Laude Award Winner; and a 2014 and 2015 DWC Employee of the Year Recipient. She became a Workers’ Compensation specialist in 2000.  The Judge obtained her J.D. degree from Whittier Law School in 1994 where she graduated with honors.  She received her undergraduate degree in pre-law from San Diego State University.   

Young Attorney Award

Randy PollackRandy H. Pollak

Randy H. Pollak is currently supervising attorney in the in-house legal department at Pacific Compensation Insurance Company in Thousand Oaks, California, where he is responsible for managing a group of attorneys, hearing representatives and administrative staff, as well resource support and training to the claims department. He is a graduate of Loyola Law School and received his B.A. summa cum laude in Political Science from UCLA.  He is currently a post –exam candidate for certified legal specialist in workers’ compensation law. He is the author of the recent article Court Call: An Actual User’s Perspective that appeared in the Workers’ Compensation Quarterly. Vol. 28, No. 2, pp. 1-3.

Performance Perspective

By David DePaolo

"Will you decide to heal yourself and come back stronger? Or will you allow the injury to get the best of you? A great tool is to choose the best perspective and focus on what you want to happen," says Matt Belair, a sport psychologist in an interview in International Mountain Bike magazine. "I want to recover quickly and perform my best, I will continue to have total confidence in my abilities." Athletes get hurt all the time. Particularly in the more "action" oriented sports more popular with the current generation, such as motocross, mountain bikes, parkour, etc. Read more.

Batten v. WCAB: Admissibility of a "Privately Retained Medical Expert" Report

The 2nd District Court of Appeal issued an opinion in Batten v. WCAB, (2015) 80 Cal. Comp. Cases 1256; wherein the applicant had challenged the WCAB’s interpretation of recent statutory changes and in particular Labor Code § 4605 concerning self-procured medical legal reports with a resounding rejection of the applicant’s arguments that there was a conflict in the statutory language and further decisively asserting the authority of the Legislature to regulate workers' compensation matters. In its opinion the Court asserts the necessity of following clearly stated statutory law. Read more.

MEMBERS ONLY: List of CLE webinars and Substantive Law Articles Available FREE on State Bar Website

As a benefit of Section membership, the state bar is pleased to offer six hours of MCLE credit, offering credit in all of the MCLE subfields, Elimination of Bias in the Legal Profession, Detection and Prevention of Substance Abuse and Emotional Distress and Legal Ethics. Just watch these programs found at the link below, and keep a record of having done so, in the event you're audited for MCLE compliance.

State Bar Workers’ Comp Section members may also use this link to access a plethora of our most popular articles from our publications.

Thank You for Being a Section Member - Here's 6 Hours MCLE in Legal Ethics!

We're very grateful for your membership in the Section. As a token of that, we're offering six hours of self-study MCLE credit in the area of Legal Ethics. The programs are posted in our Member's Only Area.

Simply watch the programs and read the accompanying materials, and keep track of having done so. You can report this to the State Bar when it's time to demonstrate your compliance with the MCLE requirements.

Online CLE

See Online CLE and click on Workers' Compensation to find out how you can get online participatory MCLE credit for Workers' Compensation programs at your convenience. Choose from a wide selection of State Bar of California MCLE programs at both modem and broadband connection speeds. For information about other options for CLE credit, see Education .

Save Money with CEB

Continuing Education of the Bar, California (CEB) is extending some special discount offers to our CEB Discount Program for Section Memberssection. As a member of the Workers' Compensation Section, you're eligible for:

  • 10% off selected CEB print or online books
  • A rebate on your section dues that can be applied to the cost of a CEB Gold CLE Passport or a CLE program ticket

A complete list of the products eligible for a discount is available on a CEB web page accessible through our Members Only Area . Information about the section dues rebate program can be found on the CEB Web site .

Contact Us

Workers' Compensation Section
The State Bar of California
180 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1639
FAX 415-538-2368