- Bachelor of Business Administration – Economics & Information Systems 2002, Loyola University Chicago
- Juris Doctor 2005, The John Marshall Law School (Associate Justice, The Moot Court Executive Board)
- Admitted to Practice in Illinois 2005
- Admitted to Practice in United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois 2005
- Member of The Chicago Bar Association
- Member of The Illinois State Bar Association
- Defense of Workers’ Compensation claims in Illinois.
- Member of The Phi Delta Phi International Legal Fraternity
Significant Arbitration/Commission Decisions
- Gary Baker v. Yellow Freight (07 WC 26431)
As a result of the work accident, the Petitioner sustained an aggravation of a C5-C6 and C6-C7 right sided disc herniation with radiculopathy and neck pain in which he received multiple epidural steroid injections. The Petitioner also sustained a lumbar strain injury as a result of his accident in which he received one lumbar epidural steroid injection. The Petitioner sought an award of 17.5% loss of use of a man as a whole arguing the employer would not approve work hardening. However, the Petitioner admitted at trial that he had been working in a full duty capacity performing his pre-accident job functions for eight months and had sought no additional treatment for his alleged pain once returning to work. In addition, the Petitioner testified on cross-examination that he was essentially working the same amount of overtime hours, which were voluntary, that he was working prior to the accident. The arbitrator only awarded the Petitioner 10% loss of use of a man as a whole.
- Julio Morales v. AT&T (06 WC 54888 & 08 WC 55569)
As a result of the July 31, 2006 work accident, the Petitioner sustained a non-disputed MCP radial collateral and ulnar collateral ligament repair resulting in multiple surgeries to the right hand. After returning to full duty work, the Petitioner sustained another work accident on June 6, 2008 to the right thumb. The treating physician recommended a surgery for the right thumb. The Petitioner testified that he did not have the surgery since the respondent would not authorize it. However, the Commission found the opinions of the Respondent’s IME physician credible since the IME physician recommended conservative care, which the Petitioner received and subsequently was released to full duty work and discharged from care by the treating physician. The Respondent argued and the Commission found that there was no evidence to suggest the Petitioner still required surgery for the right thumb. The Petitioner requested an award of 50% loss of use of the hand for both injuries, or 102.5 weeks. However, the Commission awarded 30% of the hand (61.5 weeks) for the 2006 injury and only 10% loss of use of the thumb (7.6 weeks) for the 2008 injury. Therefore, the Commission only awarded 69.1 weeks for both injuries.
- Sondra Ligon v. George Pacific (09 WC 32948)
On May 8, 2009, it is undisputed that the Petitioner fell down injuring her right knee while in the course of her employment. As a result of the Petitioner’s fall, she sustained a right knee meniscus tear which required surgery, was off work for a period of time, and eventually returned to work. Our office recommended disputing this case based upon the argument that the Petitioner’s fall at work did not arise out of her employment. At trial, the Petitioner testified that she was hurrying to clean up a conveyor line and as a result of her hurrying to do so, she fell when descending a step resulting in her right knee injury. However, at trial, our office cross examined the Petitioner in which she admitted that she never reported to her supervisors that she was hurrying at the time of the fall. Our office also had witnesses from the employer testify who confirmed that the Petitioner never reported that she was hurrying at the time of her fall. Through our office’s line of questioning, the Petitioner admitted and our witnesses confirmed that it was unexplained as to the basis for the Petitioner falling as there was no defect on the step, the Petitioner was not carrying at the time of the fall, she did not slip on any object and she was not hurrying. As such, the Arbitrator did not find the Petitioner to be credible and denied all workers’ compensation benefits. The Petitioner did not appeal this decision.
- Edith Herman Lopez v. Metropolitan Bank Group (12 WC 31689)
On May 30, 2012, the Petitioner reported that she was lifting boxes at work which resulted in neck pain. The Petitioner eventually began receiving conservative treatment and has remained off work. The Petitioner received temporary total disability benefits for a period of time until the benefits were suspended based upon the employer’s Section 12 IME physician. This matter proceeded to a Section 19(b) trial in which the Petitioner sought additional TTD benefits as well as additional medical care in the form of authorization for an appointment to determine if surgery would be required. Our office proceeded to a Section 19(b) trial in which the Arbitrator denied all benefits for the Petitioner. The Arbitrator noted the Petitioner failed to prove that her current condition of ill-being regarding the cervical spine was causally related to the work accident. It was argued that the Petitioner had not reported cervical pain allegedly related to the work accident until she first told a therapist (while treating for a non-work related condition) that she had upper back symptoms which she attributed to throwing her grandchildren into a swimming pool. The Arbitrator found that the evidence did not support any symptoms of complaints of neck pain contemporaneously with the work accident. The Arbitrator also did not find the Petitioner credible and noted the opinions of the treating physician were not consistent with the evidence and was conjecture. The decision was affirmed by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission and subsequently the Circuit Court.
5) Francisco J. Antunes v. Norwood Paper/Insperity (11 WC 40542 and 12 WC 37219)
Our office represented the employer in both case numbers. Both cases proceeded to trial and the loaning employer did stipulate they would assume responsibility for any benefits awarded for either date of accident. Even in light of this stipulation, the Petitioner argued that there was joint and several liability and any benefits awarded should be against both our client and the loaning employer. Our office argued that pursuant to case law, when an employer agrees that it would retain responsibility and pay workers’ compensation benefits, only that employer should be ordered to pay benefits. The Arbitrator agreed with our position and our client was not included in the Order section if either decision. The Petitioner appealed this finding and the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission affirmed the arbitration decision.
6) Stanley Newell v. Sysco Foods (10 WC 41772)
The Petitioner sustained a laceration to his head which was accepted by the Respondent. The Petitioner argued at trial that later on the same day of the head laceration, he also sustained an injury to the left side of his head and the left eye which he argued made him permanently and totally disabled. The Respondent used various accident reports prepared and signed by the Petitioner to cross examine him in asserting there was no accident to the left side of the head or the left eye. Our office also had a witness at the employer testify and relied on her documents as well to show there was only evidence of a head laceration. Also, our office argued that even if there was an accident to the left side of the head and/or the left eye, none of the treating doctors causally related his left eye condition to the work accident. The Arbitrator found that the Petitioner was not credible and that the employer’s witness was credible. The Arbitrator found that the Petitioner failed to prove he sustained an accident to the left side of the head or to the left eye. Furthermore, the Arbitrator noted that even if he found there would have been an accident to the left eye, the Petitioner could not prove such an alleged accident was causally related to his left eye condition based upon the fact that none of the treating physicians could casually relate the condition to the alleged accident. While the Petitioner was seeking an unknown amount of medical bills, $190,844.94 in TTD benefits, and PTD benefits for the remainder of his life, the Arbitrator only awarded the Petitioner 3 weeks of disfigurement benefits, or $1,994.16 for the accepted laceration to the head. All other benefits were denied. The Petitioner appealed and the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission affirmed the arbitration decision. The Petitioner has appealed and the case is pending in the Circuit Court.