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Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC)

Educational conference 2013

Presenters

Kenneth Allen is a graduate of California State University at Fullerton with a degree in Mathematics. He has been with the Department of Insurance since 1989 and was promoted to Supervising Insurance Rate Analyst (Bureau Chief) in 2008. Ken has CPCU (Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters) and AIE (Insurance Regulatory Examiners) designations.
David Bellusci graduated from San Francisco State University with a BA and MA degrees. He began with Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau in 1989 where he is a Senior Vice-President and Chief Actuary. He is a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society and a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries.
W. Lynne Brown graduated from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1991. Ms. Brown has been an associate with Ozurovich & Schwartz in Torrence since 1992 and has been a certified specialist in workers’ compensation since 1999. She is a past president of the Harbor Area Applicant’s Attorneys’ Association and currently is vice-president. Ms. Brown is also a member of the Workers’ Compensation Section Executive Committee for the State Bar of California.
Ronnie Caplane graduated with Honors from the University of Wisconsin and received her JD from Hastings College of Law. Besides her law career, she has taught, is a published journalist and columnist, and is former President of the Piedmont USD Board of Education. Originally appointed a Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board Commissioner in 2003, Ronnie was re-appointed in December 2009. In 2011 she was appointed WCAB Chairperson.
Joe Carranza graduated from Cal State Stanislaus with a BS. He began his state career with SCIF in 1987. He joined the Disability Evaluation Unit in 1997 as a Disability Evaluator and was promoted to Area Supervisor in 2011.
Colleen Casey has a BA degree from the University California Berkeley and JD from Golden Gate University. Her career in workers’ compensation began in 1995 as a Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board Commissioner. In 2002 she entered private practice and returned to the state in 2004 as a Workers’ Compensation Judge in San Francisco. She was named Barrister of the year in 1989 by the San Francisco Bar Association.
Thomas Clarke was appointed as a Workers’ Compensation Judge in 1997. He was promoted to Salinas Presiding Judge in 1999. Since 2008 has been Acting Regional Manager for Northern California.
Mike Cole received his BA and JD degrees from the University of Washington. Since graduating he has worked in private practice in both Washington State and California, followed by ten years with State Fund, and since 2004 he has been a Workers Compensation Judge in Van Nuys.
Raymond F. Correio is a senior associate with the defense firm of Pearlman, Borska & Was specializing in all aspects of workers’ compensation litigation. He retired as a judge from the Marina Del Rey office in 2009 after serving 12 years on the bench. Ray had his own law firm prior before he was appointed as a judge. A graduate of McGeorge School of Law, he is a much sought after speaker and authored a widely used apportionment case law summary.
Rupali Das, MD is the executive medical director for DWC. Prior to this appointment she was a Chief at the California Department of Public Health where she has worked since 1998 specializing in exposure assessment and air pollution issues. Dr. Das attended medical school at the University of Illinois, Chicago and has a master’s degree in public health from UC Berkeley. She is board certified in both internal and occupational medicine.
Jacqueline C. Duncan is the Presiding Workers’ Compensation Judge of the San Francisco WCAB. Prior to her assignment as PJ, she was a Workers’ Compensation Judge in that office for 15 years. She has extensive workers’ compensation legal experience beginning in 1981. Jacqueline is a 1974 graduate of Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio and a 1980 graduate of New College of California School of Law, San Francisco.
Keith Epstein has practiced law for 30 years, the past 17 with Hanna & Brophy (Oakland). He is a certified specialist in workers’ compensation and does extensive public speaking on workers’ compensation and discrimination law. Keith graduated from UC Berkeley and University of Santa Clara Law School. He is an avid windsurfer and for the past 4 years has bicycled to work (rain or shine) a 16-mile round trip commute.
Annalisa J. Faina has been with the State of California, Division of Workers’ Compensation for over 31 years. She has been a Permanent Disability evaluator with the Disability Evaluation Unit since 1988 and was appointed to the position of Northern California Area Supervisor in 2004.
Steven Feinberg, MD is owner of the Feinberg Medical Group in Palo Alto and a past president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine and a member of the board of directors and former president of the California Society of Industrial Medicine and Surgery.
James Fisher has a BA degree from George Washington University and JD from Golden Gate University School of Law. His workers’ compensation career began in 1984 as a staff counsel for the Department of Industrial Relations. He was a private practice attorney from 1996 to 2000 when he returned to DIR.
Ellen Flynn was born and raised in Cleveland Ohio. She received her B.A. from UCLA and J.D. from the University Of San Diego School Of Law. Her workers’ compensation career began with State Fund’s offices in Long Beach, Cerritos, and San Diego. In 1985 she was appointed as a Workers Compensation Judge at the Santa Ana office of the WCAB. In 1991 she was promoted to Presiding Workers Compensation Judge in charge of the newly created Anaheim office. In 2012 she was promoted to Associate Chief Judge for the southern region.
Pamela Foust graduated from UCLA and earned her law degree from the University Of West Los Angeles School Of Law where she graduated cum laude. Judge Foust is the author of California Lien Claims in Workers’ Compensation Cases, 4th Edition. Pam retired from DWC in December 2009 and returned to private practice as Vice-President Claims Legal for Zenith Insurance Company.
Mark Fudem is an Associate Chief Judge working to improve EAMS. He received his BA from UC Berkeley and JD from McGeorge School of Law. Mark worked 23 years as an attorney in the private sector, and then was appointed a Workers’ Compensation Judge in Santa Rosa in 2004, Presiding Judge in Oakland in 2009 and his current position in 2011.
Scott Hague is the president of CAL Insurance Associates, Inc. in San Francisco, California. He is the Founder of Small Business California. He is a past and present member of many insurance related groups including Agents and Brokers of the West and 2004 Lifetime Achievement Award issued by the San Francisco Small Business Network.
Mark Kahn graduated from Cal State Northridge (BA) and Southwestern Law School (JD). He began his workers’ compensation career as a State Fund attorney in 1978. He has been a DWC Workers’ Compensation Judge (1981), Presiding Judge (1988), Assistant Chief (1992-1995), and Associate Chief Judge. Mark retired from the bench in 2012 and now works for Altman, Lunche & Blitstein.
Christine King is the Audit Unit Manager. A graduate of University of Santa Clara, her state career began in 1966 as a State Fund adjuster. She was a private sector claims adjuster from 1984 to 1990. She has worked with the Audit Unit since its inception. Christine was awarded a DWC Outstanding Employee plaque at the 1998 Educational Conference.
Darcy Kosta received a BS from San Jose State University in 1993. She graduated from Southwestern Law School in 2001. While working as an attorney she was a partner at Frank, Skaggs & Kosta. She has been a Workers Compensation Judge since 2007.
Gene Lam is the Presiding Judge of the Oakland WCAB. Prior to that, he was a Workers’ Compensation Judge in San Francisco and San Jose and a staff attorney for the WCAB. In between his San Jose and San Francisco judge positions, he was in private practice for 17 years with a firm where he was a partner. Gene is a graduate of UC Berkeley (B.A.) and Boalt School of Law.
Cora Lee graduated from Cal Poly with a BA. She has 25 years of workers compensation experience. Cora has worked for the Audit Unit since its inception and was appointed Area Supervisor in 1996. In the fall of 2012, became the manager of the UEBTF/SIBTF. Cora was awarded a DWC Outstanding Employee plaque at the 1996 Educational Conference.
Gary Lee is a partner with the law offices of Boxer & Gerson, LLP in Oakland, CA. He received his BA degree from Pomona College and JD degree from the University of San Francisco. Gary is certified specialist in workers’ compensation law and is a member of the Workers’ Compensation Executive Committee for the State Bar of California. He is also a member of the Bench and Bar Committee for the Oakland District Office and serves as the EAMS administrator for his firm.
Paige Levy is the Presiding Judge at the Marina Del Rey District office. She has been a Workers’ Compensation Judge for nearly eight years. Prior to taking the bench she was the managing partner of Levy & Associates representing employers and insurance carriers. She is the Vice Chair of the State Bar Workers’ Compensation Section Executive Committee. She is on the Board of Directors for the California Conference of Workers’ Compensation Judges and is currently the secretary for the Conference. Paige obtained her JD degree in 1994 and was admitted to the California bar the same year.
Eduardo Y. Low graduated from Far Eastern University in Manila, Philippines with a BA degree in Psychology. He started his State career in 1988 with State Compensation Insurance Fund. Later worked as a Workers’ Compensation Consultant with Uninsured Benefit Trust Fund and received an award for UEF employee of the year in 1998. He joined the DWC Audit Unit in October 1999 and currently is the Northern California Supervising Workers’ Compensation Compliance Officer.
George W. Mason received his JD from UC Berkeley (Boalt Hall). He was appointed as a Workers’ Compensation Judge in 1982, was the Chief Deputy for DWC from 2001-03, and retired as Presiding Judge of the Oakland Appeals Board in 2004. In 1993, Judge Mason was honored by the Defense and Applicants’ Attorneys Association as Northern California Workers’ Compensation Judge of the Year. Judge Mason started a mediation and arbitration business after retiring.
W. Kearse McGill graduated from the University of Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1991. For ten years, Judge McGill worked as both applicant counsel and defense counsel before becoming a workers’ compensation judge at the WCAB Stockton District Office on May 2, 2005. In addition to his work as a judge, Judge McGill is also an adjunct professor of law at Humphrey’s College, Laurence Drivon School of Law. He is also an advisor to the Workers’ Compensation Section Executive Committee for the State Bar of California.
Monserrat R. Morita is the acting Southern California Supervisor for the Audit Unit. A graduate of California State Polytechnic University-Pomona, her state career began in 2001 as a State Fund Adjuster. She transferred to the Audit Unit in June 2006.
Richard Newman was appointed Chief Judge of the Division of Workers’ Compensation in September 2011. Prior to this appointment he served as the Presiding Judge in San Francisco (2009), Workers' Compensation Judge (1995-2009), and counsel for DWC (1991-1995). Prior to his tenure with the DWC, he was a partner with Jewel and Leary in Oakland and worked as trial counsel for the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Solicitor. Richard received his BS degree from Antioch College in 1974 and his JD from Hastings College of Law in 1981.
Destie Overpeck was named the Acting Administrative Director of Division of Workers’ Compensation in October 2012. She served in the same Acting AD capacity twice before from March 2009 to September 2009 and again from February 2011 to July 2011. She began her state career as an attorney for DWC in April 2000 and was named Chief Counsel in 2005. Prior to working at DWC, Destie was a partner in a civil practice law firm in San Francisco. Destie graduated from UCLA cum laude in 1980 and from Hastings College of Law in 1983.
Kathy Patterson began her state career in 1982, became a Disability Evaluator in Sacramento in 1994, was promoted to DEU Area Supervisor in 2008, and was promoted to Medical Unit Manager in March 2012. She has extensive knowledge of EAMS and was the lead position at the EAMS Command Center.
Barry S. Pearlman began his sole practitioner firm in 1984 with a loan from his parents and that practice grew to become Pearlman, Borska & Wax. He is a manager-partner but maintains a full case load including management of the firm’s “sports teams” unit defending NFL, NHL, and other teams for claims made in California. Barry is recipient of the Warren Hanna Life Time Achievement Award and the Most Influential People in California Workers’ Compensation Award. He received his B.A. from UCLA and J.D. for Southwestern School of Law.
Lilla J. Rados received her BA and JD from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Her legal career started in 1990 as a State Fund staff counsel and includes work in the workers’ compensation private practice. She became a judge in the Oakland district office in 2005. Lilla is currently the vice president of the California Workers’ Compensation Conference of Judges.
Thomas Richard graduated from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1992. Mr. Richard is the senior partner at Richard, Thorson, Graves & Royer, LLP in Oakland and has been a certified specialist in workers’ compensation since 1999. He has served as an expert witness, pro tem judge, and an instructor with the Insurance Educational Association. Mr. Richard is member of the Workers’ Compensation Advisory Commission for the State Bar of California and is currently the Vice-Chair of the commission.
James Robbins received his BA degree from UC Santa Barbara, MPA from Golden Gate University and JD from the University of Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. His DIR career began in 1984 as an attorney in the Office of the Director’s Office. He transferred to DWC’s Legal Unit in 1990.

Glenn Shor is currently Policy Advisor to the Director, Department of Industrial Relations. From 2010 to 2012, he was Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, US Department of Labor, in Washington DC. He has served in several managerial/executive positions with DWC including Project Manager, Chief of Policy and Legislation, and acting Research Manager. He is an affiliated with U.C. Berkeley School of Public Health, where he teaches a course on injury prevention and control. Glenn has a Ph.D. and M.A. in Public Policy (MPP) from the Graduate School of Public Policy at U.C. Berkeley, and a B.A. from University of Pennsylvania.

Jamie Spitzer is the Presiding Judge of the Anaheim Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. She was a judge at this office from 2005 to 2012. Jaime’s law career began in 1992 where she was an attorney and later partner with Ufkes, Bright & Spitzer. A graduate of Cal State Fullerton, she earned her law degree at Whittier College.
Alex Swedlow is the Executive Vice President of Research at the California Workers’ Compensation Institute and is the author of many articles on workers’ compensation.
Andrew Valdivia is the president of White Sutton & Company Insurance Services in Santa Monica where he has spent his entire 25 year career. He has the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters (CPCU) professional designation as well as the Associate in risk Management (ARM) designation. He has been past president of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America and is currently an officer of the Insurance Brokers & Agents of the West where he previously served as past president.
Ken Van Laar is State Compensation’s Insurance Fund’s Chief Risk Manager where he oversees underwriting, actuary and risk management functions. His workers’ compensation career began in 1983 and he has extensive experience as an insurance actuary and executive. A fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) and a member of the American Academy of Actuaries, Ken have played valuable roles in several regulatory and research groups in the California market including committee positions with the WCIRB and CWCI. He is a graduate of UC Berkeley.
Jon Wroten is the Chief of the Office of Self-Insurance Plans responsible for the regulation and oversight of California’s self-insured workers’ compensation market place. He is an adjunct professor with Sierra College where he teaches business, risk management, and insurance ethics. Jon has a B.S. degree in management and an M.B.A. He was twice honored as an INC.500 CEO.
Katherine Zalewski is the Chief Counsel for the Department of Industrial Relations. Prior to this appointment, Ms. Zalewski was a Special Advisor for the DWC Administrative Director. She was a defense attorney for over 20 years and a Workers’ Compensation Judge at the San Francisco WCAB. Ms. Zalewski received her B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1983 and her J.D. from Hastings College of the Law in 1986.

February 2013