Alabama Workers' Comp Conference
Friday, September 29, 2017 | Birmingham, AL
Embassy Suites by Hilton Birmingham
2300 Woodcrest Place
On May 8, 2017, a circuit court judge found fault with two provisions of the Alabama Workers' Compensation Act, a ruling that, if upheld, would render the entire act unconstitutional. He found unconstitutional a provision capping recovery for workers permanently but not totally disabled at $220 a week and with another capping attorney fees at 15 percent. Get the latest on Clower v. CVS Caremark Corp. and other recent developments in Alabama's workers' compensation laws at this essential networking and learning event.
An appellate court judge, attorneys who represent injured employees and defend employers, and an attorney from the Alabama Department of Labor will discuss various topics of interest to attorneys, employers, insurance adjusters and others who navigate Alabama's workers' compensation system.
Topics include defenses in workers' comp actions; other suits, such as those for retaliatory discharge and outrage, that can arise out of the workers' compensation setting; and the appeals process. There will be a case law review, an update from the Department of Labor, and an ethics session.
- Constitutionality of the Alabama Workers' Compensation Act
- Return to work issues, including what happens before and after the injured employee reaches maximum medical improvement, what duty the employer has to rehire, and what are the ADA/EEO implications
- Other suits arising out of the employment relationship – retaliatory discharge, other wrongful terminations, co-employee cases, third-party liability, and dangerous products
- Latest on the standard for medical causation in workers' compensation cases
- What kind of discovery to conduct and how to get the most out of the discovery process
- Recent developments in the definition of a "special employer" under Alabama's Workers' Compensation Act
- A look at resolving a case without trial through informal settlement negotiations and mediation
- Update from the Department of Labor
- The appeals process in a workers' compensation case
- Ethical obligations, including contacts with doctors and rehabilitation personnel and the interaction between attorneys and third party administrators
BONUS: Attendees will receive a binder of materials during the conference and will be able to download the materials after the seminar.
This conference features an Alabama appellate court judge, Alabama defense and plaintiffs' attorneys, and a representative from the Alabama Department of Labor.
- Charley M. Drummond, Fish Nelson & Holden LLC, Birmingham
- J. Douglas (Doug) Fields, Jr., Fields Law Firm, LLC, Vestavia Hills
- Todd Hamilton, Smith, Spires, Peddy, Hamilton & Coleman, P.C., Birmingham
- Donald M. (Don) Harrison, III, Alabama Department of Labor, Birmingham
- Donald B. (Bo) Kirkpatrick, II, Carr Allison, Birmingham
- Judge Terry Moore, Alabama Court of Civil Appeals, Montgomery
- Karen Berhow Southard, Porter Porter & Hassinger, PC, Birmingham
Who should attend?
- Insurance adjusters
- Third party administrators
- Safety and Human Resources managers
- Plaintiffs' and defense attorneys
- In-house counsel
What makes this seminar unique?
- Judicial perspective. Your faculty includes Judge Terry Moore of the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals.
- Insider's perspective. Attendees will hear from Don Harrison from the Alabama Department of Labor.
- Balance. You'll hear from both plaintiffs' and defense attorneys.
- Valuable update. A top authority, Bo Kirkpatrick, will update attendees on recent case law developments in workers' compensation, including the latest on the constitutionality of the Workers' Compensation Act.
- Return to work issues. You'll learn about return to work issues, such as ADA/EEO implications.
- Defending a claim. A leading defense attorney gives a roadmap for defending a case, covering discovery, pleadings, resolution without trial, and the trial itself.
- Related suits. You'll get an overview of other types of suits that can arise out of the employee-employer relationship, such as a retaliatory discharge action or a suit arising from the use of dangerous products.
- Settlement. You'll get the latest on lump sum settlements, Social Security offsets, and the employer's prosecution of third party claims.
- Useful resource. You'll receive a notebook of materials to take back to the office with you for future reference. And you'll be able to download the materials after the conference.
- CLE. Attorneys can earn 7 hours of CLE credit, including 1 hour of ethics.
Charley M. Drummond is an attorney at the Birmingham insurance defense firm of Fish Nelson & Holden, LLC. Before joining the firm, he was the managing partner of a small civil litigation firm where he tried a variety of cases before both state and federal courts. Mr. Drummond is a member of the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Organization (AWCO), the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Defense Lawyers Association, the Alabama Defense Lawyers’ Association, the West Alabama Workers’ Compensation Association, and the Alabama Self-Insurers Association. He currently serves as the Vice President of the Birmingham Bar Association Workers’ Compensation Section, and he is also active in the American Bar Association’s Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section, where he has served in various leadership roles on the national level with the Workers’ Compensation and Employer’s Liability Committee. Mr. Drummond has tried numerous cases before the Alabama circuit courts, and has argued cases before the Alabama Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Alabama. He also has a passion for teaching; In addition to being an adjunct professor of Alabama workers’ compensation law at Birmingham School of Law, he frequently speaks at conferences and seminars for other attorneys, judges, insurance adjusters, and employer representatives.
J. Douglas (Doug) Fields began his legal career in Birmingham as an advocate for victims of injury and disability. For over 27 years, he has tirelessly worked to provide compassionate care for people from all walks of life who have struggled with obtaining the help they needed for themselves and their family due to injury and disability. He created Fields Law Firm, LLC in Vestavia Hills to offer a different approach to serving clients – focusing on warmth, compassion, and care and connecting with clients as people, not cases. While being admitted to practice law in Alabama state courts and all of the United States District Courts in Alabama, Mr. Fields is an active member of a number of professional organizations, including the Alabama State Bar, American Bar Association, Alabama Association of Justice, and Birmingham Bar Association. He is a frequent lecturer in Continuing Legal Education courses, teaches classes in his areas of practice, has contributed to and been featured in various articles and publications, and has made appearances on LawCall, a live call-in show broadcasted on Alabama Public Television as a service to many Alabamians with legal questions who may not otherwise have access to an attorney.
Todd Hamilton is a senior partner of Smith, Spires, Peddy, Hamilton & Coleman, P.C. in Birmingham. His practice areas include the defense of employers and workers’ compensation and wrongful discharge claims, as well as trucking litigation, medical/pharmacy malpractice, products liability, premises liability, and other complex litigation cases. He has been in practice in the state of Alabama for over 26 years. In 2016, he was recognized by the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys in its Ten Best Client Satisfaction Awards, and he was recognized by the Expert Network as a Distinguished Lawyer. He has also been rated AV® Preeminent™ by Martindale-Hubbell® since 2013. Mr. Hamilton is a frequent speaker on workers’ compensation topics as well as trucking litigation for continuing legal education programs throughout the State of Alabama. He is a member of the Birmingham Bar Association, the State Bar of Alabama, and the Defense Research Institute.
Donald M. (Don) Harrison, III, is Deputy General Counsel with the Alabama Department of Labor. He represents and advises the various divisions of the Department, including the Workers’ Compensation, Unemployment, and Mining and Reclamation Divisions.
Donald B. (Bo) Kirkpatrick is a senior shareholder and a founding member of Carr Allison in Birmingham. His practice focuses primarily on workers’ compensation and related litigation, including retaliatory discharge and other employment matters. He advises self-insured clients, third party administrators and insurance carriers with respect to workers’ compensation issues. He has handled litigation statewide for Fortune 500 Companies and has extensive trial experience throughout the state of Alabama. He has served as the Chair of the Workers’ Compensation Section of the Alabama State Bar and currently sits as the Co-Chair of the Workers’ Compensation Practice Group at Carr Allison. Mr. Kirkpatrick is one of only two attorneys from the State of Alabama who speaks regularly at the bi-annual Judicial College, put on for Alabama judges. He lectures at seminars nationwide on current issues and recent developments in workers’ compensation law. He served on the 10th Judicial Circuit of Alabama’s Workers’ Compensation and HIPAA Committees after being appointed by former Presiding Judge Scott Vowell. He has achieved a peer review AV rating through Martindale-Hubbell and has been selected to the Alabama Super Lawyers® list since 2008 as well as Best Lawyers in America® since 2012.
Judge Terry A. Moore graduated magna cum laude from the University of Alabama School of Law in 1993. Following graduation, he entered private practice in the Mobile office of Adams & Reese where he specialized in workers’ compensation and civil litigation. In 1998, he became a partner in the Mobile law firm of Vickers, Riis, Murray & Curran, LLC. In 2004, Judge Moore co-founded Austill, Lewis, Pipkin & Moore, P.C., where he served as a member until his election to the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals in 2006. While practicing law, Judge Moore published numerous articles in legal journals, law reviews, and seminars. In 1998, West Publishing issued Alabama Workers’ Compensation, a two-volume treatise that was written by Judge Moore between 1992 and 1997. That treatise is now considered the leading authority on its subject by the appellate courts of Alabama, having been cited in dozens of cases. Judge Moore has used the knowledge he gained from researching this book to teach workers’ compensation law to judges, lawyers, and workers’ compensation professionals throughout the state and to provide pro bono services.
Karen Berhow Southard is an attorney with Porter, Porter & Hassinger, PC, in Birmingham, where she has been practicing in the areas of workers’ compensation defense, personal injury defense, and insurance defense litigation for over 14 years, specializing in representing employers. While attending law school at the University of Alabama, she was an editor for the Journal of the Legal Profession. Ms. Southard became licensed to practice law in 2003 in the State of Alabama, as well as in the U.S. District Court for the Northern and Middle Districts of Alabama. She is an AV® Preeminent ™ rated attorney with Martindale-Hubbell, and a member in good standing of the Alabama State Bar and Birmingham Bar Associations. She is a member of the Medical Liaison Committee of the Birmingham Bar Association, and currently serves as the President of the Women’s Leadership Council for the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Ms. Berhow frequently speaks at conferences on workers’ compensation and litigation topics, including ethics.
Case Law Update
8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
Donald B. (Bo) Kirkpatrick, II - Carr Allison
- Recent developments in the definition of a “special employer” under the Workers’ Compensation Act of Alabama
- Recent developments in Alabama courts asserting jurisdiction over workers’ compensation claims in Alabama, as well as new decisions on venue issues
- Recent developments with regard to the standard for medical causation in workers’ compensation cases in Alabama
- The constitutionality of the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Act
Ethical Obligations in the Workers’ Compensation Area
9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Karen Berhow Southard - Porter Porter & Hassinger, PC
- Rules of Professional Conduct
- Contacts with doctors and rehabilitation personnel
- Interaction between attorneys and third party administrators
- Attorney fees
- Lawyer liability
10:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. MORNING BREAK
Settlements and Return to Work Issues
10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
Todd Hamilton - Smith, Spires, Peddy, Hamilton & Coleman, P.C.
- Settlements: History and applicability
- Negotiation strategies
- Lump sum settlements, if applicable
- Social Security offset
- Right to reimbursement
- Employer’s prosecution of third party claims
- Return to work issues
- Before Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI): Same employer and different employer
- After MMI/duty to rehire
- ADA/EEO implications
11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. LUNCH (on your own)
Defending a Workers’ Compensation Action
1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Charley M. Drummond - Fish Nelson & Holden, LLC
- Discovery: What kind of discovery to conduct and how to get the most out of the discovery process
- Informal discovery
- Written discovery
- Subpoenas, depositions, and other discovery
- Pleadings and motions: Narrowing the issues through pleadings and motions
- Answers and defenses
- Dispositive motions
- Protective orders
- Responding to motions to compel and other motions
- Resolution without trial
- Informal settlement negotiations
- Trial and trial preparation
- What to expect at trial
- Getting the evidence you need
- Getting the evidence you have admitted at trial
Department of Labor Update
2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Donald M. (Don) Harrison, III - Alabama Department of Labor
- Updates from the Department of Labor
- Ombudsmen/mediation process
3:00 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. AFTERNOON BREAK
The Appeal Process in a Workers’ Compensation Case
3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Judge Terry Moore - Alabama Court of Civil Appeals
- Appeal vs. mandamus: The proper method of review of workers’ compensation orders
- The standard of review of findings of fact: Scintilla of evidence vs. substantial evidence under the ore tenus rule
- Appellate mediation and attorney fees
Other Cases Arising Out of the Employment Relationship
4:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.
J. Douglas (Doug) Fields, Jr. - Fields Law Firm LLC
- Retaliatory discharge and other wrongful terminations
- Co-employee cases
- Third-party liability
- Dangerous products and safety in the workplace
- Employer’s right of subrogation
Location and Date Details
Friday, September 29, 2017
Embassy Suites by Hilton Birmingham
2300 Woodcrest Place
COMPLIMENTARY INTERNET ACCESS
Registration begins at 8:00 a.m. The conference begins at 8:30 a.m. and concludes at 5:15 p.m.
(There will be morning and afternoon breaks, and attendees will have 1 hour and 15 minutes for lunch on their own.)