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Betsy Willer
Hennessy & Roach
St. Louis
Managing Partner
  • Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts (Paralegal studies) 1987, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
  • Juris Doctor 1993, University of Missouri at Columbia
  • Admitted to Practice in Illinois 1994, Missouri 1993

Professional Affiliations:

  • Member of the Missouri State Bar Association BAMSL (Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis)
  • Committee chairperson on sub-committee for Workers’ Compensation section of BAMSL
  • Coordinated publication of handbook on guidelines for handling Missouri Workers’ Compensation cases

Practice Areas:

  • Defense of Workers’ Compensation cases in Missouri and Illinois.

Social Affiliations:

  • Board member/Past President elect for 2005-2007 of Kid’s Chance, Inc. of Missouri (charitable organization providing scholarships to the children of employees who were either killed or severely disabled in work related injuries in Missouri).
  • Co-chairperson of the annual fund raising golf tournament for Kid’s Chance and chairperson of the scholarship committee of Kid’s Chance

Significant Arbitration/Commission Decisions

  1. Donna Jaycox v. General American Life Insurance Company and President Riverboat Casino

A claim was filed against two successive employers for carpal tunnel syndrome.  The claimant had worked for General American Life Insurance Company for over four years.  Treatment was rendered with possible diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome.  Claimant subsequently left this employment and began working for the President Riverboat Casino.  Both employers denied liability based on the last exposure rule.  We were able to successfully argue against liability based on the last exposure rule on behalf of General American and the subsequent employer was found liable.  The decision was affirmed both at the Commission level and the Court of Appeals of the Eastern District.

  1. Helen Burnett v. Barnes Jewish Hospital

This claim involved a mental stress claim based on alleged harassment in the work place.  Employer produced testimony from the claimant’s supervisor refuting the claimant’s allegations.  An award was issued by the Administrative Law Judge finding that the claim was denied and claimant failed to sustain her burden of proof. An appeal was taken to the Industrial Commission.  After reviewing briefs submitted by the parties and oral arguments, the decision was upheld by the Commission.

  1. Kathy Sandlin v. Chrysler Corporation

This was a compensable case, but future medical treatment, past TTD and future TTD benefits were all disputed.  An award was entered by the Administrative Law Judge awarding additional medical evaluation and possibly additional medical benefits, but denying any TTD benefits.  The claimant filed for an appeal to the Commission.  The employer filed a motion to dismiss the application which was granted by the Commission.  The dismissal of the review was also upheld by the Court of Appeals after submission of briefs and oral argument to the Eastern District of Missouri Court Appeals.

  1. Vernell Walton v. Brown Shoe

This was a denied case and issues in dispute included accident, notice, statute of limitations and medical causation.  Also at issue were outstanding disputed medical expenses and TTD benefits.  At trial, the employee testified he was lifting a box at work to put on the conveyor belt when he developed sharp pain in his back.  Employer/insurer offered testimony of a supervisor as well as documentation uncovered during investigation indicating back injury reportedly occurring after assisting his daughter with a move.  Other inconsistencies were also supported as described in the IME physician’s report.  The Administrative Law Judge issued the Award on Hearing denying all benefits.  After the claimant filed an appeal to the Commission, employer filed a Motion to Dismiss the Application for Review which was granted.

  1. Doris Ray v. Cooperative Attendant Services, Inc.

This was an accepted case and benefits were paid initially for an injury allegedly involving the claimant’s right thumb and hand. An MRI eventually revealed degenerative changes in the MP joint of the thumb.  The issues at trial were whether additional treatment was owed for the osteoarthritis in the claimant’s thumb in the form of a fusion and whether the claimant sustained any permanent partial disability as a result of her injury.  The Administrative Law Judge found that the claimant did sustain a compensable injury, but no permanent disability resulted from it and no future treatment was awarded.  No benefits were awarded.  The Labor and Industrial Relations Commission affirmed.

  1. Steve Salamone v. Commercial Coating Systems, Inc.

Claimant sustained a compensable injury when he fell resulting in a fractured heel.  He eventually underwent an ankle fusion.  He was released from treatment for a period of time before he went back and had one final surgery.  He was not placed on any restrictions between the time when he first placed at MMI and the initiation of the second period of medical treatment. Claimant obtained a medical opinion stating that he had restrictions during this period of time even though that evaluating physician did not examine the claimant until well after he had initially been placed at MMI by the treating doctor.  At trial, the Judge found that the claimant was at MMI after the first release from treatment and he was not under any restrictions.  He found the claimant’s expert was not credible and deferred to the opinion of the treating physician. The claimant was also seeking open medical for potential future hardware removal.  The claimant’s expert had indicated that this may eventually be necessary.  The treating physician did not recommend any additional treatment and indicated no anticipated need for future treatment involving hardware removal.  At trial, the Judge again found the treating physician to be more credible and no additional treatment was awarded.  The decision was affirmed both by the Commission and the Court of Appeals.

Feltz v. Bob Sight Ford
Liability for PTD Benefits Upon Death of Employee - Before and After Schoemehl
Tina Ball-Sawyers v. Blue Springs School District