WorkCompCentral Recognizes Individuals, Organizations with Comp Laude Awards

An injured worker who lost both legs in separate workplace accidents, an applicants' attorney who filed some of the first appeals of independent medical-review decisions and a claims administrator who was praised by an applicant for his compassion and kindness were among the winners of WorkCompCentral's Comp Laude awards.

WorkCompCentral selected Dwight Johnson as a Comp Laude recipient in the injured worker category. The awards, which recognize honesty and integrity in the California workers' compensation system, were distributed Saturday during the company's Gala in Los Angeles.

Johnson, who once specialized in designing and installing glass in high-rise buildings, coincidentally was the keynote speaker at the company's Comp Laude Gala. He lost one leg after he contracted a rare staph infection while on assignment in Hong Kong. He lost his other leg when he was struck by a car while on assignment in New York City.

Johnson said during his presentation on Saturday that he had to cope with depression and hopelessness after losing his second leg, but eventually overcame his sense of loss and now has learned to walk again using prosthetics. He now earns a living as a motivational speaker and has launched a designer shoe company.

Nicholas Santilli, employed by Sedgwick Claims Management in Pasadena, was awarded a Comp Laude award in the claims administration category. According to his nomination, an applicant wrote Santilli shortly before her 50th birthday, after she had pledged to thank people who had made a difference in her life. Although the applicant had never met Santilli, she said his assignment to her file was her "luckiest day ever" because he approved the additional physical therapy she needed to learn to walk normally again and showed sincere compassion while handling her claim.

WorkCompCentral awarded its Comp Laude award in the applicants' attorney category to Alan Z. Gurvey, with Rowen, Gurvey & Win in Sherman Oaks. According to several nominations, Gurvey refuses to represent applicants who exaggerate or fabricate their injuries and fights fiercely for the rights of the applicants he does represent. Gurvey filed some of the earliest appeals to California's independent medical-review process, leading to landmark Workers' Compensation Appeals Board decisions.

The other winners were:

§  Defense attorney: Nicholas Roxborough of Roxborough, Pomerance and Nye in Woodland Hills.

§  Judicial officer: David L. Pollak, a WCAB administrative law judge.

§  Physician: Dr. Sean Leoni, an internal medicine and pain management specialist with offices in Encino and Oxnard.

§  Support services: Kids Chance of California, a nonprofit organization that provides scholarships to the children of injured workers.

§  Employer: Marz Farms in Camarillo.

§  Seminar presenter: Sean Hermanson, Sweet, Simington and Patrico in San Diego.


WorkCompCentral also gave an additional three awards of distinction: A Comp Laude award with honor to Kids Chance of California, a Magna Comp Laude award with great honor to Marz Farms and a Summa Comp Laude award with highest honor to Mark Walls, vice president of communications and strategic analysis for Safety National.