Defense Base Act Compensation Blog

The Modern Day DBA Casualty

Longshore/DBA Conference Speakers Overwhelmingly Work for the Defense

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on October 6, 2009

The overwhelming  majority of these speakers work for the insurance companies.

It is their business if they choose to hold conferences which are biased toward their interests.

But is it the place for an ALJ who works for the Department of Labor, a public servant,  to be?

Here is the line up.  Make up your own mind.

Craig A. Kuhns NWLAA President
Master Claims Consultant
Liberty Northwest
Portland, OR

Joshua Gillelan

Longshore Claimants National Law Center


Thomas Fitzhugh, Esq.

From Mr Fitzhugh’s website

“The Defense Base Act extends the LHWCA to employees of private employers working on overseas contracts related to national defense. Most of the private workers in Iraq and Afghanistan – including foreign nationals – are covered by the Defense Base Act. The DBA applies to any worker employed by a contractor on a defense contract who is in the “zone of special danger.” This zone is an extremely inclusive and has been held to cover a worker in a bar fight on Johnston Atoll, a worker injured in a late-night rendezvous with her boss, and an off-duty worker who drowned while attempting to save a fellow swimmer.

There is no minimum compensation rate under the DBA like there is under the LHWCA. But, very often DBA-covered American employees receive wages that entitle them to the maximum compensation rate, currently $1,200.62. The firm has been successful in innovative and aggressive arguments regarding average weekly wage in DBA cases. The Director, OWCP, has been aggressive in arguing that regardless of the length of an overseas worker’s tenure, he or she should be entitled to a benefit rate based on their overseas wages only. We disagree with this blanket approach, and have been successful at trial and on appeal limiting DBA workers’ average weekly wage.

Although the boundaries of DBA coverage are expansive and the benefits generous, there are limits on recovery. Fitzhugh, Elliott & Ammerman, P.C. specialize in handling DBA claims and has been successful in trial and appeal in limiting workers to not one penny more than their entitlement, if any.”

Nina Mitchell, Esq.

Holmes, Weddle & Barcott, Seattle, WA.

From their website

“Clients of Holmes Weddle & Barcott include international, national and regional insurance companies and construction companies, self-insured employers and business entities, shipping and fishing industry concerns, banks and other financial institutions, oil companies, municipalities, and school districts.”

William Durcho

Cambridge Galaher, Rancho Cordova. CA

Phil NealWalker Law Firm

He’ll review it and within 7 days (or sooner if you wish), proivide you a correct rating AND he’ll tell you what steps to take next to save your company money in PD comp.

Hon Jennifer Gee- Moderator
Office of Administrative Law Judges, San Francisco, CA

Jennifer Gee is an ALJ for the Department of Labor.

In this decision, well check the X Files for this one

We are still awaiting word from the DoL on who is paying her way this week and on whose behalf she is speaking, moderating.

UPDATE   The DoL has responded that they are paying for Gee’s expenses.  While this may be better than the Defense

wining and dining her we’re still not sure the taxpayer should be supporting this kind of relationship.

Roger Levy, Esq.
Laughlin, Falbo, Levy & Moresi — San Francisco, CA

Mr Levy needs no introduction here.

Ray Warns, Esq.
Holmes, Weddle & Barcott, Seattle, Wa.

Again, Ray Warns firm represents insurance companies.

David C. Barnett, Esq. No comment
Barnett & Lerner, Ft. Lauderdate. FL
Tom Weiford, CRC
Weiford Case Management and Consultation, Portland, OR

“Mr. Weiford is the principal of Weiford Case Management and Consultation.  He conducts life care plans as well as vocational assessments nationwide.

Mr. Weiford has been in the field of rehabilitation for over 30 years.  He has a Bachelors, as well as Master degree in Rehabilitation Counseling.  He also has completed a post graduate degree program in Life Care Planning.

He holds national certifications as a Certified Life Care Planner (CLCP), a Diplomate of the American Board of Vocational Experts (D/ABVE), a Certified Case Manager (CCM), a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC), as well as a Certified Disability Management Specialist (CDMS).

Mr. Weiford is an adjunct faculty instructor at Portland State University’s Graduate School of Rehabilitation Counseling.  In addition to teaching at Portland State, Mr. Weiford has presented at seminars and workshops on a national basis, both in the field of Life Care Planning as well as in the Forensic Vocational Arena”

John Dudrey, Esq.
Williams Fredrickson, Portland, OR

Representative Clients:
Beaverton Toyota Co.; CIGNA Cos.; General Electric Corp.; Homeport Insurance Co.; Liberty Northwest Insurance Corp.; Russ Chevrolet; Saturn of Beaverton; Stevedoring Services of America; The Travelers Cos.; United Grain Corp.

Russell Metz, Esq.
Metz & Associates, Seattle, WA

Shawn Groff

Leonard Carder, Oakland CA

Dan Thompson

Thompson and Delay

Daniel Thompson & Paul Delay founded Thompson & Delay in 1990 to emphasize representation of the injured and disabled.

D. Gary Rischitelli, MD, MPH, JD

Norman Cole, Esq.
Sather, Byerly & Holloways — Portland, OR

Norm joined Sather Byerly & Holloway in 2005, where he continues to defend claims under the Oregon Workers’ Compensation Act and the Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.

Andrew Posewitz
Todd Pacific Shipyards Corp., Seattle, WA

Andrew Posewitz: Manager, Human Resources

Mr. Posewitz is the Manager of Human Resources.  Andrew has worked in the Human Resources Department at Todd Pacific Shipyards since 1996.  He has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Whitman College and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Washington.  Andrew is the co-chair of the National Shipbuilders and Research Panel’s Committee on Cost Containment and a Member of the Governing Board for the Washington Assigned Risk Pool.  Andrew has also served on the workforce development committee for the Shipbuilder’s Council of America.

Rebecca Watkins

Slather, Byerly, & Holloway

She also defends employers and insurers on workers’ compensation claims, and represents SBH clients in appellate matters before the courts and the Workers’ Compensation Board.

D. Gary Rischitelli, MD, MPH, JD
Northwest Occupational Health Associates, Portland, OR
Robert Babcock, Esp.  

Babcock/Haynes, Portland, OR

Short Biography: Robert E. Babcock, Esq. “Reb” received his B.A. from Swarthmore College in 1965, and his juris doctorate from Indiana University in 1968. His defense practice began in Oregon, where he did extensive legal representation of stevedore and maritime interests. He later relocated to southern California, where he served with Laughlin, Falbo, Levy and Moresi, before joining the firm of Littler, Mendelson, Fastiff and Tichy. He later founded Babcock & Company, a law firm in Lake Oswego, Oregon. His practice centers on defense of maritime interests, with particular emphasis on Longshore, Jones Act and maritime law.

David Utley, Esq.
Long Beach, CA

2 Responses to “Longshore/DBA Conference Speakers Overwhelmingly Work for the Defense”

  1. duke35 said

    Put Chuck Martin Seattle DOL on your list of DOl employees who attend and present at these conferences.

    Also note that this guy will not give a complete recomendation for benifits even after he asked for more medical evidence and I produced it.
    A Seattle lawyer mentioned that once this guy gives a reccomendation it is set in stone no matter what.
    So who is he working for?

    • defensebaseactcomp said

      Thank you for responding with this information.
      This is just the kind of input we need.
      Some of these tenured government employees get to thinking they are invincible.
      With the lack of oversight in our sick little corner of Oz who would ever know.

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