Hello and Good-Bye
My term as chair of this committee will end at the conclusion of the ABA Annual Meeting in Boston. It begins Wednesday August 6 and ends Tuesday August 12. I hope many of you attend. I hope some of you attend because of this message.
The committee's next big event is our June 24 teleconference on WC Premium Fraud. This is a huge issue. Most of us in the trenches doing claimant and defense work every day are not called on for our expertise in this area. However, as the issue gains momentum, we will all want to become fluent and able to advise our clients properly when we spot the issue. In California there is a Code section which requires us to report workers' compensation fraud which is defined as committed for the purpose of collecting or denying benefits. Is premium fraud included? There is certainly an argument that paying less premium puts downward pressure on benefits, is a logical consequence of the fraud that a reasonable person would recognize, and therefore fits our statute requiring any party or the appeals board to report it. What about the problem that creates for us when we represent insurance carriers? What if the insured is a huge fortune 500 company? Will the carrier really want to drop a dime on their big client?
Josh Holden was chair last year. I never formally thanked him for doing a great job in all aspects. For example he did not wait until June to write his "welcome message." He did everything he was supposed to do. He got the rest of us to work much harder and smarter than we would have otherwise. He established our monthly conference calls which we continue on the second Thursday of every month. The next call will be July 10. The next after that will be on August 14 just after the close of the ABA meeting.
Our committee had 800 members a few years ago and about 500 today. Some of you have recently joined out committee. The chair is advised when someone new joins a committee. I was charged with welcoming you and definitely dropped the ball. Please allow me to welcome you now. Before my term is up, I will make an effort to speak with you all individually. I would love to talk to you about workers' compensation, the ABA, TIPS, other organizations, the College of Workers' Compensation, the Work Injury Law Group, the California Applicants Attorneys Association. I do know a lot of people and have been active for a long time. I promise to help any of you who ask me for any kind of help. I would love all of you to contribute to the national conversation on workers' compensation in which our committee and others participate and lead.
Stacy Tees a super WC defense lawyer from Philadelphia takes over as Chair immediately after the close of the ABA meeting. She is an incredibly hard worker who always gets done what she says she will get done within the required time deadlines. She plans for a workers' compensation compendium to be written and published by all of us. Many of us will be assigned specific tasks for this effort and others, including outreach to state and local bars, law students, law professors, and our own members. She will get us working hard. She will succeed. We will succeed. We will also learn a lot, have fun, and make substantial contributions to society, our profession, the ABA, TIPS, and the national workers' compensation community. By doing so we should see many more people want to join our effort.
Anthony J. Macauley