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Susan Barranco
Hennessy & Roach
Managing Partner

Susan V. Barranco was admitted to both the Illinois Bar and Wisconsin Bar in 2012, and focuses her practice on defense of workers’ compensation claims. Susan, a Milwaukee native, is overseeing the firm’s office in Milwaukee while maintaining an Illinois-based practice. In 2004, Susan earned a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, double majoring in English (Honors in the major; Distinction in Senior Thesis) and Communications, from Lake Forest College. There, she played one year on the women’s basketball team, worked as a peer tutor in the Writing Center, studied abroad in Rome, Italy, and was selected as a member of the Senior 25. After college, Susan worked for two years in the pharmaceutical industry, and worked for over three years as a Medical Proofreader at a pharmaceutical advertising agency. In 2012, Susan earned a Juris Doctor from Marquette University Law School, cum laude, graduating in the top 10% of her class. Susan served as Chief Justice to Marquette Law’s Moot Court Program, was inducted into the Pro Bono Society, and was a member of the championship team in the Jenkins Moot Court Competition, in which she also earned the prizes of Best Brief and Best Oral Advocate. Susan was the class speaker at her law school’s commencement ceremony.

  • Marquette University Law School, Juris Doctor, 2012
  • Lake Forest College, Bachelor of Arts in English and Communications, 2004

Professional Affiliations:

  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • State Bar of Wisconsin
  • Certified Facilitator, Milwaukee County District Attorney Community Conferencing Program

Practice Areas:

  • Workers’ Compensation, Labor and Employment

Significant Arbitration/Commission Decisions

1. J. Gaytan v. Joyce Farms Recycling (Illinois)

Petitioner, then a 67-year-old laborer, injured his right knee when he slipped and fell at work in a compensable accident. After Petitioner had been released to return to work consistent with results of a functional capacity evaluation showing that he was capable of resuming heavy work, he did not present for any form of work. He also continued to complain about the right knee generally, and was eventually recommended for a total knee replacement. The arbitrator found, based on Respondent’s medical opinions, the compensable meniscal tear injury did not cause the need for Petitioner to undergo a right total knee arthroplasty, given the extent of the degenerative findings noted in Petitioner’s compensable surgery. The arbitrator also based his decision on preexisting complaints of pain to the affected leg in medical records discovered based on a pharmacy subpoena received after the IME occurred. The arbitrator specifically declined to employ a “chain of events” theory, in a case in which the claimant chose not to obtain a supportive medical opinion. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission affirmed and adopted the arbitrator’s findings, and the case was settled thereafter.

2. V. Parker v. WR Grace (Illinois)

Petitioner was injured in a compensable accident in which she tripped in a doorway at work. She suffered minor, strain level injuries to the hand, knee, and low back. Around six months before the accident, she requested that her primary care physician send her to an arthritis specialist for the same knee that was affected in the accident. She eventually went back to the same specialist after the accident-and after she had already been released from care by an occupational clinic, returning to full duty work. At trial on cross-examination, testimony was elicited confirming the extent to which Petitioner was working full duties plus overtime after her release from care, but before treating with the arthritis specialist. Three to four months after her return to full duty work, Petitioner fell outside of work on a Sunday, banging her knee on her car door, allegedly due to weakness caused by the at-work fall, as opposed to the preexisting state the knee was in regardless of the accident. After the outside of work fall, Petitioner was eventually recommended for a total knee replacement. Benefits for time away from work resumed after the outside-of-work fall.

The arbitrator found that Respondent should not have been liable for the payment of any TTD benefits after the outside-of-work fall, by which time-in light of her return to very heavy full duty work with overtime-she had reached maximum medical improvement. Respondent succeeded asserting a causation defense that Petitioner’s knee had, by that time, returned to its pre-accident baseline, and, if anything, the need for the TKA was due to her preexisting condition or the outside-of-work fall, which was not caused by the accident’s effects. The decision resulted in an overpayment credit for over 65-2/7 weeks of TTD benefits paid-meaning Respondent was due a credit and found to owe no further medical or indemnity benefits even after applying the permanent partial disability awarded under the claim’s compensable component. The case settled after trial.

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