Workers’ Compensation Litigation

Workers’ compensation claims cost employers significant time and money by diverting resources to the investigation and defense of potentially illegitimate claims. Ulmer & Berne’s attorneys understand this cost and work with companies in pursuing fair and equitable resolution of claims. Unlike other law firms, we integrate the defense of workers’ compensation claims into an overall employment protection strategy. Our attorneys are certified by the Ohio State Bar Association as specialists in workers’ compensation and employment law. Consequently, we recognize and solve employment-related problems arising from workers’ compensation issues, including retaliation claims, Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave issues, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and age discrimination claims and wage and hour violations.

Self-insured, state-funded and public-sector employers each have unique issues that must be recognized and handled by competent legal counsel. No matter whom we represent, our practice is the same — to vigorously defend and to offer strategic planning for the defense of future claims.

We offer a statewide practice with offices in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati. Our attorneys represent employers during every phase of the workers’ compensation process, including administrative hearings, court appeals, mandamus actions, violations of specific safety requirements, Bureau of Workers’ Compensation audits, classifications and premium disputes, adjudication committee hearings, self-insured applications and complaints and the defense of intentional tort and retaliation claims.

Whether our client is a Fortune 500 company, a mid-level family business, or a small business owner, we have the experience to advise on the legal issues unique to workers’ compensation:

  • Industry and manual classification
  • Investigation of fraudulent claims
  • Rating disputes
  • Termination of workers’ compensation claimants

Our goal is to win claims at the administrative level utilizing thorough investigation and preparation, thereby avoiding unnecessary litigation costs and limiting our clients’ exposure to future claims. We provide practical advice and approach each problem with a real-world solution.

Representative Experience

  • Represented the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation’s Self-Insured Guaranty Fund in courts across Ohio against hundreds of occupational disease claims alleging asbestosis and asbestos-related diseases by former employees of LTV Steel, resulting in the denial of benefits and/or the dismissal of claims in 90 percent of the actions defended.
  • Obtained summary judgment in numerous occupational disease claims for bankrupt self-insured involving claims of asbestos-related pleural disease, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), heavy metal, cancer, and occupational death claims.
  • Served as national coordinating counsel for a Fortune 100 chemical manufacturing company overseeing all workers’ compensation litigation in Ohio. Coordinated litigation strategy and implemented cost control procedures among seven regional law firms handling worker’s compensation defense.
  • Successfully defended manufacturers and service clients against violations of specific safety requirement claims (VSSR) alleging violations of Ohio’s manufacturing and construction safety requirements. Claims included failure to guard, failure to tie-off, and failure to comply with specific height protection requirements.
  • Successfully defended a local city in employment intentional tort action brought by widow of deceased employee, where employee was killed as a result of boiler explosion, resulting in complete dismissal.
  • Successfully defended a local city in catastrophic falls, psychological claims and traumatic brain injury cases.
  • Successfully defended numerous private and public employers against occupational injury and occupational disease claims before the Ohio Industrial Commission and state courts.
  • Successfully defended a local public school district in death claims and permanent total disability claims which progressed to writs of mandamus or claims in court.
  • Successfully defended a Fortune 100 defense contractor administratively and in state court against intentional tort and toxic exposure death claims, involving exposure to heavy metals and solvents containing hydrocarbons. Similar claims currently being defended at the administrative level in anticipation of appeal to court.
  • Represented employers before the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation on various rating and classification issues involving premium challenges and collection issues arising out of employer noncompliance.