Work for Allstate? Watch out!

Allstate employees, please use this forum to offer suggestions about issues you feel might help the company in dealing with claims, or that might help us as insureds to deal with Allstate.

Re: Work for Allstate? Watch out!

Unread postby RatPak11 » Fri Aug 02, 2013 4:23 pm

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases ... 28961.html

Suit Alleges Allstate Skirted State Statutes in Agent's Dismissal

GULFPORT, Miss., July 17, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --
The National Association of Professional Allstate Agents, Inc. (NAPAA) has been working closely with a former Allstate insurance agent and his attorney to determine if the company willfully violated state statues in its attempts to terminate him and other Allstate agents in the state of Minnesota.

Last week, Jerry Deleski of Roseville, Minnesota – a former Allstate agent of 39 years – filed suit against Allstate Insurance Company, alleging it violated a Minnesota statute when it wrongfully and illegally "expelled" him for failing to meet company life insurance quotas. Minnesota prohibits such actions by insurers.

Last year, the Minnesota Department of Commerce investigated Allstate's conduct over Deleski's dismissal and charged that Allstate had violated the statute as well as a second statute requiring the company to inform Deleski of his right to a hearing before a board of review, which it failed to do. Allstate agreed to pay a $5,000 civil penalty in lieu of facing formal proceedings on the charges.

Nationally, the number of Allstate agents has declined by nearly 30% since 2007 – from 13,200 to approximately 9,300, according to the company's SEC filings.

"While we know nearly 4,000 agents have parted ways with Allstate – many of them involuntarily – the company has been replacing them with new, but often less experienced, individuals," said Jim Fish, NAPAA's executive director. "We believe the firings were not only ill-advised, but have accelerated the company's fall from second to third place among top auto insurers."

In 2006, the company imposed a new quota system that required agents to meet specific sales goals. Agents were told that failure to attain their quotas could result in the loss of their contracts. When the economic downturn struck and businesses in nearly every industry were struggling, the company continued to demand that agents produce sales at pre-recession levels.

As a result, agent terminations quickly gathered speed and a large portion of those in jeopardy of losing their livelihoods were forced out as a result of outright terminations or because they were under constant threat of termination.

Should Deleski prevail – which NAPAA believes he will – this precedent-setting case will likely set the stage for other former Minnesota insurance agents to recover damages for the unlawful termination of their contracts.

NAPAA estimates the number of agents in the state of Minnesota was approximately 158 in 2007, and has declined to about 84 exclusive agents under contract today.

ABOUT NAPAA/OPEIU Guild 17

Based in Gulfport, Mississippi, The National Association of Professional Allstate Agents, (NAPAA) is a non-profit organization whose members are predominantly insurance agents under contract with Allstate. NAPAA is affiliated as a guild with The Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU). To contact NAPAA, please visit its Website at http://www.napaausa.org or call (877) 627-2248.

ABOUT OPEIU

The Office and Professional Employees International Union represents more than 108,000 employees and independent contractors in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada in banking, insurance, higher education, shipping, hospitals, medical clinics, utilities, transportation, hotels, administrative offices and more.


SOURCE National Association of Professional Allstate Agents, Inc.; Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.propertycasualty360.com/2013 ... urer-for-a

Former Allstate Minnesota Agent Sues Insurer for Alleged Unjust Dismissal
BY CHAD HEMENWAY, PROPERTYCASUALTY360.COM
July 18, 2013

A former Allstate agent in Minnesota has filed a lawsuit against the insurer, alleging it violated state law when it terminated him for failing to meet life insurance quotas.

The National Association of Professional Allstate Agents (NAPAA), affiliated as a guild with the Office and Professional Employees International Union, says it has been working closely with Jerry Deleski, a former Allstate of 39 years.

NAPAA says the insurer was investigated by the Minnesota Department of Commerce was charged with violating two state statutes while dismissing Deleski. Allstate agreed to pay a $5,000 penalty in lieu of facing formal proceedings on the charges, NAPAA says.

Allstate spokesman Justin Herndon says, "Allstate cooperated fully with the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s investigation of Mr. Deleski’s claims, which the company resolved amicably with the department. [Allstate] believes Mr. Deleski’s lawsuit is meritless and the company intends to defend against it vigorously."

NAPAA alleges the problem is bigger than Deleski. The association says the number of Allstate agents has declined nearly 30 percent since 2007, and in 2006 the insurer imposed a new quota system requiring agents to meet specifc sales goals. Failure to meet the goals would results in the loss of the agents' contracts, says NAPAA.

“While we know nearly 4,000 agents have parted ways with Allstate – many of them involuntarily – the company has been replacing them with new, but often less experienced, individuals,” says Jim Fish, NAPAA’s executive director, in a statement. “We believe the firings were not only ill-advised, but have accelerated the company’s fall from second to third place among top auto insurers.”

NAPAA estimates the number of agents in the state of Minnesota was about 158 in 2007. The count todays stands at 84 exclusive agents under contract.

NAPAA says Deleski's case, if it were to succeed, would set a precedent for other former Minnesota insurance agents to recover damages for the unlawful termination of their contracts.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
http://ihateallstate.wordpress.com/tag/jerry-deleski/

Allstate Under Investigation in Minnesota

July 26, 2013: A former agent under contract to Allstate Insurance Co. has initiated a lawsuit against the insurer alleging it violated a Minnesota statute when the company terminated him for failing to meet life insurance quotas.

Jerry Deleski, an Allstate agent for 39 years, and his attorney, Chris Daniels of Daniels & Kibort PLLC, are working with the National Association of Professional Allstate Agents Inc. (NAPAA), a nonprofit organization representing former and current agents under contract with Allstate, to determine whether Allstate violated state laws when the company terminated Deleski and other Allstate agents in Minnesota.

A spokeswoman for the Minnesota Department of Commerce confirmed that it investigated Allstate’s dismissal of Deleski and charged the company with violating the statute as well as second that required Allstate to inform Deleski of his right to a hearing before a review board. The Minnesota Department of Commerce also confirmed that in November 2012, Allstate agreed to pay a $5,000 civil penalty to the state in lieu of facing formal proceedings on the charges.

“Allstate cooperated fully with the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s investigation of Deleski’s claims, which the company resolved amicably with the department,” said an Allstate spokesman. “The company believes Deleski’s lawsuit is meritless, and the company intends to defend against it vigorously. Allstate continues to position agency owners to best serve our customers and grow the business. We are committed to helping prepare and protect our customers for all of life’s uncertainties.”

Allstate instituted a quota system in 2006 that required agents to meet specific sales goals, NAPAA said, and agents were instructed that failure to attain their quotas could result in the loss of their contracts.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

http://www.lexisnexis.com/legalnewsroom ... surer.aspx

01-02-2014 | 12:00 AM Author: Mealeys
Judge: Agents Sufficiently Pleaded Breach Of Contract Claim Against Insurer

MINNEAPOLIS - Insurance agents adequately pleaded claims for breach of contract and breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing against an insurer regarding the termination of an agency agreement, a Minnesota federal judge ruled Dec. 30, denying dismissal of the claims (Deleski Insurance Agency Inc. and Jerry Deleski v. Allstate Insurance Co. and David Hewitt, No. 13-1780, D. Minn.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 181265).
Last edited by RatPak11 on Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:21 pm, edited 3 times in total.
RatPak11
Done That
Done That
 
Posts: 3082
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 3:25 pm

Re: Work for Allstate? Watch out!

Unread postby RatPak11 » Fri Aug 02, 2013 4:24 pm

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013 ... -annuities

Allstate raises sales quotas for exclusive agents
July 26, 2013|By Becky Yerak |
Tribune reporter

Allstate Corp. exclusive agents are being asked to sell more financial products, including life insurance and annuities, as part of a new variable compensation structure that takes effect in 2014.

According to a July 18 memo obtained by the Tribune, the agents' variable compensation includes a minimum goal of certain Allstate

Allstate headquarters in Northbrook.Allstate Corp. exclusive agents are being asked to sell more financial products, including life insurance and annuities, as part of a new variable compensation structure that takes effect in 2014.

According to a July 18 memo obtained by the Tribune, the agents' variable compensation includes a minimum goal of certain Allstate Financial products.

The products that agents are being asked to sell more aggressively include: whole, term, universal and variable universal life insurance; indexed, equity indexed and variable annuities; and disability income and long-term care insurance.

The quota announcement closely coincides with the announcement by Allstate the previous day that it planned to sell its Lincoln Benefit Life Co. for $600 million.

Currently, agencies with fewer than 3,000 policies on their books are supposed to sell 12 policies a year. Bigger agencies’ target is 18.

In 2015, five agency tiers will be established with goals starting at 15 and stepping up by increments to 35.
RatPak11
Done That
Done That
 
Posts: 3082
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 3:25 pm

Re: Work for Allstate? Watch out!

Unread postby RatPak11 » Fri Aug 02, 2013 4:27 pm

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013 ... s-jim-fish

Reporter's Notebook: Allstate tries to put new agents in good hands
Northbrook-based insurer stands by business model despite online competition
June 28, 2013|
By Becky Yerak, Chicago Tribune reporter

Allstate Corp.'s exclusive agencies accounted for more than 90 percent of the Northbrook-based company's home and auto insurance premiums in 2012.

Although a critical sales channel, the ranks devoted to Allstate-brand coverage have shrunk by about a quarter in recent years as the publicly traded insurer has ceded market share to maintain profit margins.

The company generally has been raising premiums and curbing exposure to catastrophe-prone areas. Allstate also has been pushing for agencies to consolidate and merge. The company said that while it has fewer agencies, it believes those on its current roster are "more sustainable."

Many experts believe Allstate's business model will become extinct as more insurance is sold online.

"I don't believe that, and we are not acting that way," Allstate Chief Executive Tom Wilson said last month at the Sanford Bernstein conference in New York. "There will always be some segment of the market where consumers want help in insurance."

Allstate has two initiatives underway that it hopes will help new agents get on more solid footing.

Allstate has opened what it calls a new agency development center at its headquarters. It has space for 22 agents and is meant to serve as a launching pad for them as they learn sales and agency processes. It also plans to open a center in Woodridge.

New agents coming into the center aren't seeded with policies. But in contrast to Allstate's traditional startup agency, they don't come onboard with any staff either, and their operating costs are significantly less for the nine months they're at the center.

"This allows them to more fully master the sales process, since it is their main focus," spokeswoman Kate Nack said. "When the agent transitions into their permanent location and begins to incur the full costs of running their own business, they are equipped to hire and train staff" to help them build sales.

Allstate is hoping that a new multiagent location on West Madison Street in the West Loop serves as a model.

It allows three to five new agents to start up and grow their business in the same facility — sharing expenses, including staffing — for up to two years.

Agents in multiagency centers are seeded with policies to help offset initial startup costs, and they're also given marketing funds for the first year, Nack said.

After that, the agents will open individual offices with an established book of business.

The West Loop multiagent location recently opened with four agents and space for one more. It features artwork from local and student artists.

"By the time they transition to their permanent location, the goal is that they will have built enough premiums to cover a substantial portion of their overhead," Nack said.

It's recommended that all new agents have a minimum of $50,000 liquid capital to launch their agency.

Of the two agent programs, the multiagent location has the greatest potential for success because it more closely resembles the everyday realities faced by Allstate agents, said Jim Fish, executive director of the National Association of Professional Allstate Agents.

"Giving these new agents an assigned block of customers provides them with a glimpse of what they can expect after they establish their own books of business," Fish said.

But competitive rates would be most helpful to Allstate agents, he said.

"Time and again, newly appointed agents have plowed large portions of their life savings into marketing Allstate products before realizing they were consistently overpriced," he said. "Maybe things will be different this time, as the company is becoming more competitive in certain markets."

The number of Allstate-brand policies on the company's books was 16.9 million in 2012, down from 17.5 million in 2010, the company's annual report shows.

Last but not least: Martin Nesbitt, co-chief executive of Vistria, told a private equity gathering in Chicago on Wednesday that his new Chicago-based firm is in the early stages of fundraising with "friends and family."

Early this fall, Vistria will likely begin seeking financial commitments from institutions to invest in health care, education and financial services firms, he told an event sponsored by Thomson Reuters' Buyouts publication.

Nesbitt said working with him at Vistria are Kip Kirkpatrick, a former veteran of Water Street Healthcare Partners, a Chicago-based private equity firm, and Phil Alphonse, who spent a decade at Chicago-based buyouts firm Sterling Partners.

Vistria plans to raise about $500 million for its first fund.

Nesbitt is close friends with President Barack Obama. He also spent more than a decade as CEO of the Parking Spot, an airport parking company he co-founded in 1998 with Penny Pritzker, the new commerce secretary.

byerak@tribune.com
RatPak11
Done That
Done That
 
Posts: 3082
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 3:25 pm

Re: Work for Allstate? Watch out!

Unread postby RatPak11 » Sat Nov 30, 2013 2:35 pm

*Some people may find it hard to believe that a large company such as Allstate Insurance, would harass and retaliate against an individual for simply wanting to promote within the company. Yet, here is the proof.
When in trouble, a common practice of Allstate management is to ‘circle the wagons.’ ‘Circle the wagons’ is a term that is used by Allstate management when they want to close ranks in order to protect management staff when they’ve unintentionally or, even intentionally, done something unethical or illegal. This phrase means they will do anything and everything they can to protect the guilty management and will talk to no one outside of that circle while they are conspiring to protect themselves. One of the many things they will do is bully and demean the harassed employee by writing false or fraudulent reviews on the employee’s work product. In their minds, this will protect them against any lawsuits and make the employee appear to be a less than desirable employee even though that individual had been doing a great job prior to the harassment and retaliation. It should not come as a great surprise that the immoral Allstate management staff will lie while testifying under oath.




Margaret Weddell v. Allstate Insurance

http://www.juryverdictreview.com/verdic ... x?id=29865



$________ VERDICT - including $________
PUNITIVEAWARD - WRONGFUL TERMINATION - INTENTIONAL INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS - ALLEGED AGE DISCRIMINATION.
Originally published in The National Jury Verdict Review and Analysis (29865)
Multnomah County, Oregon

This was an action brought by the 39-year-old female plaintiff former employee of the defendant Allstate Insurance company, alleging that she was constructively discharged from the company after 12 years of service and was intentionally caused to suffer severe emotional distress because she vocalized her perception that the company was treating her unfairly by refusing her advancement into management based upon the fact that she did not comport with the company’s image of "young and cute." The plaintiff’s cause of action was grounded in theories of wrongful termination, intentional infliction of emotional distress and age discrimination.

The evidence adduced at trial indicated that the plaintiff had been employed with the defendant company for over ten years when she was transferred to the Portland, Oregon office. She had worked in the Seattle, Wa. and Midland, Tx. offices, during which she received good reviews and advanced to a senior staff position. The plaintiff’s problems with the company began shortly after her transfer to the Portland office, when she sought advancement to management level. The plaintiff contended that she was denied promotion because she did not fit the defendant company’s image of "young and cute." The evidence revealed that the plaintiff acted as spokesperson for her unit during an employee opinion survey meeting, a yearly meeting held by management to hear and discuss employee opinion of certain topics. The plaintiff was asked by her co-workers to speak about employee concerns regarding discrimination by the company against older employees. The plaintiff and others testified that the plaintiff was verbally attacked at the meeting by management and was literally screamed at, becoming so upset by the mistreatment that she passed out at the meeting, requiring that an ambulance be called.

The plaintiff contended that following this employee opinion survey meeting, she was continually harassed by management, was repeatedly told that she was going to be discharged, and was given unfair substandard evaluations in an effort to force her out of the company. The plaintiff contended that eventually, the emotional strain became so severe that she was force to leave the company in November of ________.

The plaintiff called several co-employees, some of whom were current employees of Allstate and some of whom were former Allstate employees, to corroborate the plaintiff’s claims of harassment, discrimination and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The testimony from these witnesses further supported the plaintiff’s claims that the company sought to fill management spots with people who fit the "young and cute" prototype. The plaintiff’s proofs additionally included the defendant company’s own documentation in the nature of employee opinion surveys from various units within the Portland office, allegedly indicating a pervasive view among employees that the company sought to fill management positions with employees who 9 3 fit the "young and cute" image.

The defendant denied discriminating against the plaintiff on the basis of her age or physical appearance and maintained that the only reason for the company’s refusal to advance the plaintiff into a management position was that her work was substandard, making her undeserving of such advancement. The defendant presented performance evaluations from the date the plaintiff commenced working at the Portland office until she left the company in support of their position that the plaintiff’s performance was not up to par. The plaintiff countered that the defendant gave her unfair reviews in retaliation for her attempts to fight management for her right to advance within the company.

The defendant denied the plaintiff’s claim that she was intentionally caused to suffer emotional distress while working for the defendant company and maintained that she suffered from numerous sources of stress in her personal life which not only caused her emotional strain, but contributed to her poor performance and alleged lack of focus upon her work.

Specifically, the defendant elicited testimony that the plaintiff’s husband was out of work for a time during the relevant time period and the plaintiff’s daughter suffered from medical problems. The defendant further maintained that the plaintiff was overly sensitive to constructive criticism.

The plaintiff claimed damages for emotional distress and economic loss directly resulting from the defendant’s wrongful actions.

The plaintiff testified that she experienced insomnia and anxiety attacks for a prolonged period during and after leaving the company, for which she sought treatment with her family practitioner. Although the plaintiff obtained work immediately following the termination, the plaintiff claimed past and future lost income based upon the difference in salary between what she was earning at the time she left Allstate and what the plaintiff was paid in her new position. The evidence indicated that the plaintiff was earning approximately $________ at the time she left Allstate and accepted a job paying $________ after leaving Allstate. Lost income in the approximate amount of $________ was claimed.

The plaintiff additionally asserted a claim of punitive damages and introduced evidence that Allstate’s net worth exceeded $8 billion. The plaintiff’s initial demand was $________ raised to $________ and then to $________ at trial. The defendant made no offer of settlement. The jury found for the defendant on the age discrimination claim and found for the plaintiff on the intentional infliction of emotional distress and wrongful termination claims. The jury returned a verdict of $________ including $________ in lost income, $________ emotional distress and $________ in punitive damages. The defendant’s post-trial motions have been denied. Margaret Weddell vs. Allstate Insurance Company. Case no. A9111-________; Judge Garry L. Kahn, 11- 10-92. Attorney for plaintiff: Larry N. Sokol of Jolles, Sokol & Bernstein in Portland, Ore.; Attorneys for defendant: Craig D.

Bachman and Richard Van Cleave of Lane, Powell, Spears & Lubersky in Portland, Ore., and Nick Popastaticos of Allstate Insurance Company in Chicago, Ill.


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Workers just say no to age discrimination; sacked older workers ...MARGARET WEDDELL, a former employee of Allstate Insurance Co., probably knew the meeting wouldn't be easy or pleasant. Harassed for more than a year with ...

http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-14171255.html

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


http://www.cottusinfo.com/Profile/1059052554

Margaret Weddell
Workers' Compensation Board Member
State of Oregon

Experience
Claim Representative
Allstate Insurance
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/dir/Margaret/Weddell
Margaret Weddell

Title
Workers' Compensation Board Member at State of Oregon
Demographic info
Portland, Oregon Area | Judiciary

Current:Workers' Compensation Board Member at State of Oregon Past:Board of Directors at Community Cycling Center, Claim Representative at Allstate Insurance

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

*Allstate Management Retaliated Against A Very Intelligent And Talented Woman For Standing Up For Her Rights. Allstate’s Harassment And Threats Were So Egregious That It Culminated In Allstate Forcing Margaret Weddell To Leave Her Long-Time Employer.
Knowing What They Did To Her Was Wrong, She Sued This Loathsome Company. The Court Was Able To See Through Allnake's Lies And She Won Her Case!!
A Very Strong And Determined Woman, She Proved ‘There Is Life After Allsnake’.



http://www.osbar.org/publications/bulle ... files.html

Margaret Weddell Sees Opportunities to Make a Difference at Work, on the Road
Oregon State Bar Bulletin — MAY 2008
By Melody Finnemore

Margaret Weddell was an "earnest, nerdy child" who, in the early ’60s, learned that she could make a difference in the community. Her drive to work for social change hasn’t wavered in the decades since then, whether it’s through her work as a workers’ compensation attorney or as a volunteer striving to make the world a better place one bicycle at a time.

Born in 1951, Weddell grew up in Chicago and enjoyed a full cultural life that included going to museums every Sunday after Mass with her parents. When Weddell took part in an early learning enrichment program for young children as part of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, she realized her experience wasn’t shared by everyone.

"This early learning enrichment program was so great for these kids who just didn’t have some of the cultural opportunities we had, and they were making tremendous differences because they were going to be able to start school on a more level playing field," she recalls. "I came away being very grateful for the kind of cultural benefits I had, and I saw gifts that I didn’t realize I could give to other people."

Weddell considered becoming a nun.

"I think it’s fair to say I was always an intensely spiritual kid," she says. "Probably the biggest influence was working with President Johnson’s War on Poverty, and I got to meet these nuns who were incredibly strong, spiritual women working for social change. That was very inspiring."

Weddell chose a different path, however, and studied journalism at the University of Kansas. She then married and transferred to the University of Missouri, where she became interested in that school’s rehabilitation program. The five-year program focused on teaching independent living skills to people with disabilities, and included a range of topics from nursing to nutrition to sewing clothes specifically for disabled people.

"It was a degree that had a lot of implications for daily life as well as a career, and I really enjoyed that," says Weddell, the first college graduate in her family.
Weddell and her former husband moved to Oregon in 1977 and she joined the state Children’s Services Division (CSD) through the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA). "I was really lucky… I got to work with a lot of families who were able to stay together, but they needed some help in developing some basic life skills and finding social resources that could help them," she says.

After about a year at CSD, CETA funding ran out for Weddell’s position. She opted for a career change that would provide more income for her and her two children, Stephenie Sullivan, now 32 and a Portland firefighter, and Jacob Sullivan, a 35-year-old engineer. Weddell went to work for an insurance company, where for 12 years she handled claims.

"That’s where I became very interested in workplace health," she says.

During that time, she earned her Property-Casualty Claims Law Certification from the Insurance Institute of America. The three-year program involved a series of courses on legal principles that impact claim management, such as insurance law, subrogation issues, and various types of policies and coverage litigation.
This legal perspective intrigued Weddell and, at 38, she began taking evening law courses at Lewis & Clark College while working full time during the day. Weddell received her law degree in 1993 and built her experience at Portland firms Pozzi Wilson and Susak, Dean & Powell before working as a sole practitioner and of counsel for Larry Sokol of Sokol & Anuta.

At the time, there were six women in Portland specializing in workers’ compensation law. The group, which called itself Women in Comp, met frequently to discuss noteworthy cases or the problems they encountered developing their own cases. "None of the women who were part of that group are practicing workers’ comp now. Today there are fewer claimants’ lawyers, but there are actually more women," she says.
In 1998, Weddell joined Swanson Thomas & Coon, which recruited her for her expertise in representing claimants. Weddell appreciated the chance to work with Doug Swanson, who was killed in October 2004.

"Doug called me and asked me to join the firm. He was a wonderful person to work with and I felt very fortunate to have been asked to work there," she says.
The state also recruited Weddell, first under former Gov. John Kitzhaber. Politics drove the withdrawal of her appointment to the Worker’s Compensation Board then, and when she was asked for a second time last year she jumped at the opportunity. Weddell was sworn in on Feb. 29.
"I think I was interested because it does kind of round out my career. I’ve seen it from the side of the insurers, I’ve represented workers in the system, I’ve been a fact finder for administrative judges and now I’m a board member overseeing the health of this public agency," she says. "It’s very interesting to look at this from a larger view."

Through her various roles she has seen the dramatic changes that have occurred within workers’ comp law. Weddell attributes much of it to the state Legislature’s frequent tinkering with the law:
"I don’t think the Legislature has met since 1989 or ’90 where they haven’t made (sometimes) very significant changes, so it has been an intellectual challenge to keep up with that. Not only have they changed compensability standards, making it more difficult for a claimant to prove their case, but they’ve made changes regarding what the board expects out of the litigants.

The complexity involved in practicing workers’ comp law may explain why there are fewer attorneys specializing in it today, Weddell notes.
There is a lot of work that needs to be done for injured workers, but there’s no way for a claimant’s attorney to receive a fee. People need help but you can’t take a fee, even if they want to pay you, because there’s no assessed fee. A lot of those things have come together, I think, to discourage people from practicing workers’ comp law," she says.

The Workers’ Compensation Board will examine the issue of attorney fees, and Weddell says she hopes it will help strengthen the practice. "A healthy claimants’ bar is important for the entire state of Oregon. Everybody benefits when injured workers are well represented,"
she says.

Along with striving for change through her work, Weddell looks for ways to help by volunteering her time and expertise in a range of areas. She has chaired the executive committee of the OSB Workers’ Compensation Section and served as chair of the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association’s Education Committee.
She also chairs the Community Cycling Center’s board and has been a volunteer for the Bicycle Transportation Alliance since 2002. "They have different purposes…but the volunteers and staff at both organizations remind me that I want to make the world a better place," Weddell says.

An avid cyclist herself, Weddell has participated in Cycle Oregon several times and enjoys multi-day rides that often span 500 miles or more. Her favorites include rides with friends from Portland to Eugene and Portland to Astoria that were followed by train trips back home.

A longtime proponent of cycling to work, Weddell has carried that enthusiasm to her job in Salem, encouraging many of her co-workers not only to bike to work but also join her in longer excursions. She hopes this summer to ride from her Southeast Portland home to work and back again — with an overnight stay in Salem — at least once a month.

While the bike excursions dominate Weddell’s spare time, she ran 13 marathons in three years before focusing on cycling. The most beautiful marathon of them all stretched along the Yakima River Canyon.

"It takes a lot of time to stay in shape for marathons and I just became more interested in these longer, multi-day bike rides. For me they are incredibly rejuvenating," she says, noting she once rode 600 miles over five days. "I come back physically exhausted but completely mentally rejuvenated, and I think that’s very important for legal professionals to do that."

The rigors of the road help maintain her stamina in the legal world and provide perspective about why she’s there in the first place. "Right now I’m just trying to do a good enough job to get reappointed in four years," Weddell says. "I’ve been really lucky — I’ve always enjoyed my work."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Melody Finnemore is a Portland-area freelance writer and a frequent contributor to the Bulletin.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.zoominfo.com/p/Margaret-Weddell/46175663

Background
Employment History
Attorney
Swanson , Thomas & Coon
• Bicycle Advocate, Educator and Attorney
Bicycle Transportation Alliance
• Bicycle Lawyer
Bicycle Transportation Alliance
Board Memberships and Affiliations
• Advisory Board Member
Community Cycling Center
• Member
Workers' Compensation Board
• Board of Governors Member
Oregon State Bar
• Chair of the Education Committee
Oregon Trial Lawyers Association

Education
University of Kansas at Lawrence
degree, Rehabilitation
University of Missouri at Columbia
RatPak11
Done That
Done That
 
Posts: 3082
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 3:25 pm

Previous

Return to Employee Suggestions

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron