By Julie Hooten

On behalf of the Workers’ Compensation Section Council, I’d like to welcome you to the new Bar year and our new blog format! The Workers’ Compensation Section has transitioned from the Course & Scope newsletter to this new format. Our editors, Mark Atkinson and Heather Baker, have worked hard to make this transition as seamless as possible. The Course and Scope provided great articles for our Section members but we believe the new blog format will enable us to publish relevant material more quickly and in a format that is more accessible. Mark, Heather and I strongly encourage all Section members to submit articles and posts for our new blog. After all, our blog is only as meaningful as the content we provide.

Recent Quarterly Meeting     

Thank you to all of our council members who attended our quarterly meeting on Nov. 3, 2017 at the Bar Center in Cary.  Commissioner Christopher Loutit provided a thorough update of recent Industrial Commission news. Please contact Andi Bradford or Julie Hooten for a copy of his report. Our next meeting is scheduled during the spring CLE on Friday, Feb. 9, 2018 at 12:30 p.m. at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro.

Successful Fall CLE

We had another successful CLE this October! I’d like to thank Matt Harbin and Jason Shoemaker for their effort in planning the CLE as well as all of the speakers and attendees who made it another great program. In all, we had 36 live and 27remote attendees. We hope to continue to offer this CLE each year for attorneys who are newer to the workers’ compensation practice and as a precursor to our more advanced program each spring.

Annual Meeting On Feb.9

I am also very excited about our annual meeting and spring CLE:  The Times They Are a Changin’: Workers’ Compensation in the Brave New World of 2018Section Members Angela Craddock and Trey Collier have worked hard to put together an incredible two-day program that will surely spark much interest and discussion among attendees. Please join us for this extensive, in depth program at the Grandover Hotel in Greensboro on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 9 and 10, 2018. The CLE will include updates from the Industrial Commission with Executive Secretary Meredith Henderson and Chairmen Charlton Allen; Practical Tips for Appeals to the Full Commission from Commissioner Christopher Loutit; a panel discussion on the Wilkes v. City of Greenville case with Justice Robin Hudson, Duane Jones and Stewart Poisson; an analysis of Coordination of Benefits from Annemarie Pantazis; and an Opioid panel which will explore the newest wave of responses to the opioid epidemic from lawmakers and regulators. Joseph Baznik and Casey S. Francis will discuss the impact of the current administration’s immigration policies on workers’ compensation claims. There will also be an Ethics in Mediation presentation from Dolph Sumner, an update on Medical Marijuana in North Carolina and the annual case law update from Bruce Hamilton and Heather Baker.  This CLE qualifies for the North Carolina State Bar Workers’ Compensation Law Specialization credit. Please make plans to attend on Feb. 9 and 10, and also to hang around Friday evening for a networking reception sponsored by Commonwealth Community Trust and a Kids’ Chance fundraiser.

This Bar year has started off on a strong and enthusiastic note!  We have lots of talented section members who have generously provided their time and energy into making this section great.  It has been a real pleasure working with you all.  I look forward to a wonderful year!