Baseball, Beer, and Brats

By Reid McGraw

Join your friends of the Workers’ Compensation Section for a baseball blast on April 23, 2020 in Greensboro.

Baseball, beer, and brats. Or, barbecue if you prefer a different alliteration. Nothing speaks the rite of passage into spring or summer quite like those delicious items. When combined with the company of good friends from the Workers’ Compensation Section of the Bar, the recipe is perfect; or at least it was last spring when we gathered for fellowship at BB&T baseball field in Charlotte for a Knights game. My crew arrived early, as I enjoy the pregame rituals of baseball. And we wanted to make sure to sample the wares of bar and buffet early and often. The beer was cold (and there were several craft offerings), and the food tasty. In addition to the traditional barbecue and brats, there were wings and a taco bar. Literally, something for everyone. And did I mention the beer was cold and good?

The home team won, yet that was not the point. None of my girls caught a foul ball, although a couple of them did scurry away from a few. My family had a delightful time, and by all appearances, so did the others who joined us for the evening. Some of our colleagues even offered the outing as a little recreational time for their staff. A good time for all.

Read more

NCIC Quarterly Update

Hello WC Section Members! We hope 2020 is treating you well and you have made it through whatever January challenge you have undertaken (Whole30, Dry January, etc.). The CLE at the Grandover will give you the opportunity to throw all those good intentions by the wayside.

We have received the NCIC Quarterly Update and are sending it out for your enjoyment.

NCIC Quarterly Update

We look forward to seeing everyone in Greensboro.


your Communication Chairs

Upcoming Pro Bono Opportunity


Mallory Lidaka

Samantha Aktug

By Mallory Lidaka and Samantha Aktug

Hello Section Members!  We are looking forward to seeing everyone at the upcoming NCBA Conference at the Grandover in a couple of weeks! On behalf of the Pro Bono Committee of the Workers’ Compensation Section, we are excited to announce that we plan to kick off 2020 with a Pro Bono opportunity for our Section Members to accompany our fundraising efforts with Kids’ Chance at the Conference. We are encouraging our Members to participate in the NC Free Legal Answers Pro Bono Program in partnership with the North Carolina Bar Foundation. This Pro Bono Program allows Bar Association members to provide answers to civil legal questions from financially eligible citizens through a website – not by phone. Attorneys may choose from 25 available legal categories and anonymously respond to a question that fits their legal interests. It is a great way to get your Pro Bono time in without leaving your seat at the Conference or even your hotel room!

We are asking our Members to register for Free Legal Answers prior to or at the Conference.  Registration takes just a few minutes:

  1. Go to
  2. Click on “Volunteer Attorney Registration” at the top of the site.
  3. Read and agree to Attorney Agreement.
  4. Fill out registration information.
  5. Click on the activation link sent to your email (check spam folder).
  6. Await email confirming administrative approval of your account!

A representative from the NC Bar Foundation will also have a booth set up in the reception space outside the Conference rooms to assist any Member with registration at the Conference.  We are then asking our Members to log on and answer at least one question during their time at the Conference to jump start our Section’s Pro Bono efforts for the year.  We hope you will help us start the year off right!  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our Pro Bono Subcommittee Chair Mallory Lidaka.  See you at the Conference!

Upcoming Continuing Legal Education Opportunities

By Eleasa Allen

Our section just wrapped up its first CLE of the Bar Year on December 4, 2019.  That CLE program provided an overview of the Workers’ Compensation Act, directed at those attorneys who are new to the practice.  The program covered the fundamentals of working within Chapter 97 and covered numerous topics, including: relevant definitions, defenses, settlement, litigation, and navigating the Act’s governing body, the Industrial Commission.  Special thanks to Jeanette Byrum and Sherman Criner for planning this program and to the following speakers:  Elias Admassu, Emily Baucom, Angela Craddock, Casey Day, Meredith Henderson, Tracey Jones, Dawn Lane, Elizabeth Ligon and Paul McCoy.   If you missed this program, a video replay has been scheduled for March 10, 2020 at the Bar Center in Cary.

The Workers’ Compensation Section’s Annual Meeting and spring CLE program will be held February 6-7, 2020 at the Grandover Resort and Conference Center in Greensboro. Co-planners Sarah Blair and Cameron Simmons have designed this program as a one-stop shop that will cover case law updates, foreshadowing of the upcoming extended benefits cases, and the overlap between employment law and the Workers’ Compensation Act, among other topics.  The program has been approved for 9 Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) and Certified Paralegal Education (CPE) hours and includes 3 hours of Ethics/Professional Responsibility, 1 hour of Substance Abuse/Mental Health, 2 hours of Certified Mediator Education and 1 hour of Technology Training.  The program also qualifies for NC State Bar Workers’ Compensation Law Specialization credit.

See the North Carolina Bar Association website for further details concerning the video replay of the December 4, 2019 program and/or the upcoming Annual Meeting and CLE on February 6-7, 2020.  We look forward to seeing everyone in February!

“Murder on Birchleaf Drive: Trial Strategy for True Crime Lovers”

, ,

When Meredith Fisher discovered her sister Michelle’s brutally beaten and lifeless body on the floor of the master bedroom she shared with her husband Jason, a quest for justice began—one that would ultimately last 12 years and end in the murder conviction of Jason Lynn Young in a Wake County courtroom.

The compelling story is told in Murder on Birchleaf Drive by Poyner Spruill lawyer and NCBA member Steven B. Epstein.

The Jason Young murder case is also now the focus of a 3-hour CLE program Epstein will present on January 10 at the N.C. Bar Center titled “Murder on Birchleaf Drive: Trial Strategy for True Crime Lovers.

Click here to access brochure.  Click here to register.

Read more

NCIC Quarterly Update

Hello Everybody,

The North Carolina Industrial Commission has issued a quarterly update.  A copy of the quarterly update can be accessed here.

What’s New With Your Workers’ Compensation Section?

By Eleasa Allen

Dear Members of the Workers’ Compensation Section:

It is my honor to serve as the chair of the Workers’ Compensation Section Council for the 2019-2020 bar year.  My goals for our Section include building upon and continuing to develop the social/networking opportunities for the members and identifying a pro bono project for the members to support. Our Section has an outstanding group acting on your behalf as officers, Council members, and committee chairs. A full listing of the Council members and committee chairs can be found on the NCBA’s Workers’ Compensation Section webpage.  Please feel free to reach out to any of the Council members, officers and/or me with any suggestions, questions, or concerns.

The Section Council held its first quarterly meeting on Friday, August 16th at the NC Bar Center in Cary. We have a lot of plans for the upcoming year, and I want to highlight some of those here.

Read more

Happy New (Bar) Year!

By Eleasa Allen

July 1 welcomed a new year at the Bar Association.  With this new year, we say “goodbye” and “thank you” to our past council members and leadership.  I am grateful to Immediate Past Chair Holland Ferguson for leadership during the 2018-2019 bar year.  Also, many thanks to the council members who have now completed their three-year terms.

As the new year begins, I look forward to serving as the chair, along with the other officers and council members, of this large and diverse section.  As you may know, the Section leadership includes the following:

Vice Chair Barry Jennings

Immediate Past Chair Holland Ferguson

Secretary Mark Leach

Treasurer Heather Baker

Read more

Industrial Commission Rule Changes Effective Dec. 1, 2018

By Holland Ferguson

The North Carolina Industrial Commission enacted rule changes effective Dec. 1, 2018.  The Commission issued a one-page overview of these changes.  In this one-page overview, the Commission highlighted the changes for filing medical motions and the requirement for insurance carriers, third-party administrators, and self-insured employers to have a primary contact person designated for all workers’ compensation matters.  That person’s contact information must be submitted to the Commission annually on July 1.  A copy of the annotated rule changes can be found here.

Appeal Dismissed for Procedural Errors

By Tara Muller

When appealing a workers’ compensation case, beware of hidden procedural traps. Workers’ compensation rules and appellate rules are two very different animals, according to the North Carolina Court of Appeals in Bradley v. Cumberland County (Zachary, J., November 20, 2018). Although the workers’ compensation rules of the Industrial Commission allow service by email when filing a document via its electronic data filing portal (EDFP), not so once the case is elevated to the appellate level. In Bradley, plaintiff filed his Notice of Appeal through the EDFP we all know and love. Understandably, (since nearly all workers’ compensation filings may be served electronically now), the plaintiff then served opposing counsel with the Notice of Appeal via email. However, according to the Court of Appeals, because the appellate rules – not the workers’ compensation rules – apply to appeals, service of the Notice of Appeal by email, and without a proper certificate of service or proof of receipt, was fatal. Appeal dismissed.

Read more