Emily Borg Defeats Six-Figure Comp Claim Alleging Repetitive Trauma from Distribution Facility Duties
Case Study

Emily Borg Defeats Six-Figure Comp Claim Alleging Repetitive Trauma from Distribution Facility Duties

November 17, 2020

Parachuting into a complex workers’ compensation trial, Goldberg Segalla’s Emily E. Borg swiftly defeated a distribution facility employee’s six-figure repetitive trauma claims.

In this matter, a leading national staffing company supplied employees, including the petitioner, to a large merchandise distribution facility in Illinois. The petitioner testified in detail that her job as a “binner” would require her to push a cart down aisles to fill orders. She would reach in bins below, at, or above waist level and grab items to place in a box to fill an “order.” The petitioner claimed this repetitive reaching and lifting for this job, manifesting on September 12, 2015, resulted in full-thickness bilateral rotator cuff tears and cervical radiculopathy. The petitioner underwent bilateral extensive shoulder surgeries and her medical provider prescribed cervical epidural injections.

Aggressive deposition turns tables on repetitive trauma claim

A Chicago-based workers’ compensation firm originally defended the claim. Frustrated with the lack of movement toward resolution, the staffing company tapped Emily, a partner in Goldberg Segalla’s Chicago office and leader of the firm’s Illinois Workers’ Compensation team, to take over the case. Emily mounted an aggressive defense—one of the hallmarks of Goldberg Segalla’s unique approach to workers’ compensation claims-handling—and immediately demanded a deposition of the treating surgeon. Emily thoroughly questioned the doctor. Confronted with a written ergonomic job analysis and the actual job duties, the doctor had to concede that he could not state to a reasonable degree of medical and surgical certainty that the petitioner’s bilateral shoulder and neck condition was related to repetitive job duties at work.

Arbitrator tosses six-figure claim

Then, only 10 months after receiving the file from the client’s prior counsel, Emily took the case to trial. The arbitrator found that the medical evidence failed to support a causal link between the petitioner’s job and her bilateral shoulder and cervical injuries. The deposition testimony of the treating surgeon and the arbitrator’s decision were so strong that the petitioner did not appeal the claim denial.

The first defense firm had recommended settlement of the claim at $25,000. Emily’s aggressive handling of this case—involving two shoulder surgeries and years of treatment, plus extensive lost time from work and alleged permanent disability—saved the client of over $200,000. The employer paid nothing on the case Emily’s success at trial and swift closure of the file.


 

MORE ON GOLDBERG SEGALLA’S WORKERS’ COMPENSATION PRACTICE AND PARTNER EMILY E. BORG:

Goldberg Segalla’s success in efficient file-handling, as well as long-range strategic risk-management, has earned us a national reputation for exceeding our clients’ expectations and driving positive change in the practice of workers’ compensation law. One of the first law firms ever to approach workers’ compensation in this manner and at this scale, we have been able to achieve extraordinary cost savings for leading employers in sectors ranging from construction to the gig economy.

Emily has dedicated her nearly 15-year legal career to workers’ compensation defense, providing proactive counsel to clients who rely on her to vigorously defend their claims while ensuring their overall business objectives are met. Highly knowledgeable in all facets of workers’ compensation claims, their litigation, and their management, she is a trusted counselor to clients in manufacturing, distribution, staffing, facility management, construction, financial services, and other industries. That experience—including extensive Illinois Appellate Court argument experience—has translated into a 90-percent success rate before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission and Illinois courts.