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Seasons Greetings to ALL……

GMK has had a successful year in 2017 due to our partnership with you….our clients. We want to thank you for your business throughout 2017 and we look forward to a wonderful 2018.

In 2017, GMK was able to provide training to over 30 clients with over 1,300 participants. We were able to do this by personally coming to your offices. We want to give a special thank you to those clients that let us into your offices this year to meet and train your staff.

Our goal in 2018 is to offer the same personal training as we did in 2017. We will be reaching out to you in January to schedule the dates. GMK will also be offering Webinars throughout 2018 on current and relevant topics.

GMK appreciates your business……We wish you a happy, healthy and safe holiday season with your family.

Happy Holidays from all of us at…….

Goldman, Magdalin & Krikes, LLP

GMK's Joshua Mauras in the Community

Joshua Mauras, Associate Attorney at GMK has been appointed by the Orange County Board of Supervisors to the Orange County Visitors Association. Joshua was appointed to represent the First District which incorporates Santa Ana, Garden Grove, Westminster, Midway City, and a portion of Fountain Valley.

The Orange County Visitors Association’s purpose is to advocate for Orange County tourism related legislative initiatives, promote positive awareness and understanding of the Orange County brand through marketing efforts and serve as an information resource for government officials and travel industry professionals.

Joshua has been a Workers’ Compensation Attorney with GMK for 3 years in our Orange County Office specializing in all aspects of Workers’ Compensation defense. Joshua can be reached by email at jmauras@gmklaw.com or by telephone 714-256-5000.

Congratulations, Joshua on your appointment to the Orange County Visitors Association.

SAWW Increases for 2018

In 2018 the California State Average Weekly Wage (SAWW) will increase more than 3.6% for temporary total disability (TTD), permanent total disability (PTD) and other workers’ compensation benefits that are tied to SAWW increases. The SAWW is defined as the average weekly wage paid to employees covered by unemployment insurance as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor for California for the 12 months ending March 31 in the year preceding the injury.

Beginning with January 1, 2018 dates of injury and after, the new maximum weekly compensation rate will rise from $1,172.57 to $1,215.27 and the minimum weekly TTD/PTD rate will increase from $175.88 to $182.29.

The SAWW increases will also affect:

• TTD paid two years or more after the date of injury
• Life Pension and PTD payments for injuries on or after January 1, 2003
• Installment payments on death claims

What This Means for You:

GMK suggests that you diary your claims for January 1, 2018 or before that fit the criteria for the increase in benefits payments due to the rise in the SAWW. Discuss with your legal counsel the changes in benefit rates to insure correct adjustments in the payment of benefits to injured workers. Remember unpaid indemnity payments can result in penalties which only add to claim costs.

Paul J. Magdalin, Esq. - GMK Los Angeles Office

ORANGE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY INDICTS ATTORNEYS AND CAPPERS

On June 5, 2017 the Orange County District Attorney issued a press release advising that 10 applicant attorneys along with several members of an alleged capping operation were indicted for felony violations of the Business & Professions Code, the Labor Code, the Insurance Code and the Penal Code.

The following attorneys were indicted:

Jon Woods, Payman Zargari, John Jansen, Fari Rezai, Lionel Eduardo Giron, Dennis Ralph Fusi, Jorge Humberto Reyes, Rony M. Barsoum, Robert Irving Slater, and Robin Jacobs. These attorneys are well known to the workers’ compensation defense community.

According to the Orange County District Attorney the attorneys and six cappers were indicted for allegedly participating in a multi-million dollar workers’ compensation insurance referral scheme that exploited persons in predominantly Spanish-speaking communities. The press release also indicated that this was the “first phase of filing” pursuant to the District Attorney’s 3-year insurance fraud investigation.

The capping operation was tied to several providers of services including USA Photocopy, C&E Technology, Professional Document Management and Providence Scheduling. These providers were noted to be either owned or controlled by Carlos Arguello III and Edgar Gonzalez who were among the six non-attorneys indicted as alleged cappers.

Below is the link to the Press Release from the Orange County District Attorney’s office regarding the indictment of the attorneys and cappers.

http://orangecountyda.org/civica/press/display.asp?layout=2&Entry=5203

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU

It is unclear at this early stage how this will ultimately play out. We may see some admissions of guilt for the purpose of obtaining leniency. However it is likely that there will be an extended period of time while these fraud allegations are litigated. It should be noted that indictments are only allegations of criminal behavior and are not actual convictions. Accordingly it is not likely that the indicted attorneys will simply walk away from their cases and will probably continue to pursue them. It would not be surprising to also see a number of substitutions of attorneys. We don’t think it is likely that the individuals who filed these claims will simply dismiss them. All defendants should remain vigilant when defending cases that are pursued by these applicant’s attorneys. In that regard your attorneys should be questioning the applicants in depositions as to how they were referred to and ultimately retained these attorneys.

Larry Preece, Esq. - GMK Orange County Office
Paul Magdalin, Esq. - GMK Los Angeles Office

New Face at GMK Bay Area Office

GMK is proud to announce that Kimberley S. Gaskill has joined the firm in our Bay Area Office.

KIMBERLEY S. GASKILL, Esq.

Kimberley Gaskill attended Pace University in Pleasantville, NY where she earned her undergraduate degree in Political Science in 2000. She then continued her education at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego where she received her Juris Doctorate in 2003.

Ms. Gaskill became licensed to practice law in California in 2004, and has practiced in a number of areas during her career, including insurance coverage/bad faith, construction defect, medical malpractice, and general civil litigation. Before joining GMK, she worked as an Applicant’s Attorney in Workers’ Compensation in Southern California. Ms. Gaskill also spent 8 years as a Workers’ Compensation Defense Attorney in the Inland Empire before moving to the Bay Area. Ms. Gaskill specializes in Workers' Compensation Defense where she represents insurance carriers, TPA's, and self-insureds. She also defends Labor Code Section 132(a) and Serious & Willful Misconduct claims.

Ms. Gaskill can be contacted:

Bay Area Office
111 Anza Boulevard, Suite 308
Burlingame, CA 94010
(650) 401-6460
kgaskill@gmklaw.com

GMK welcomes Kimberley to the firm.

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