• ERISA & Managed Care
  • Federal Black Lung
  • Labor & Employment Law
  • Workers' Compensation
  • expectEXPERIENCE
    • ERISA & Managed Care
    • Federal Black Lung
    • Labor & Employment Law
    • OSHA & MSHA
    • Workers' Compensation
    • Overview
    • Professionals
    • Results
    • Resources

    The legal landscape for ERISA and managed care is complex and ever changing. Particular knowledge makes a critical difference in successfully defending or prosecuting ERISA and managed care matters.

    Attorneys in Spilman’s ERISA and Managed Care Practice Group represent businesses, employers, retirement and welfare plans, insurers, and health maintenance organizations in connection with claims of breach of fiduciary duty, claims for benefits, governmental investigations, disputes arising under ERISA, and general malpractice claims.

    Our specific experience includes the following:
    • Litigating claims involving breach of fiduciary duties and misappropriation of plan assets
    • Defending claims brought by participants and employees for retirement, severance, life, health and disability benefits under both insured plans and self-funded plans
    • Litigating claims involving unique and complex issues of preemption of state law
    The practice group also focuses on representing managed care organizations in a variety of matters, including complex reimbursement issues, administrative claims before insurance commissioners, and defending managed care entities in traditional malpractice claims that fall both within and outside the preemptive scope of ERISA.

    For more information about our ERISA & managed care practice, contact:

    Grant P.H. Shuman
    Samuel M. Brock III William T. Cullen Paula L. Durst Carl H. Hellerstedt Jr. Eric W. Iskra Eric E. Kinder Grant P. H. Shuman Global Chemical Co. & Health Care Benefits Co. Get Dismissal of All Claims Spilman Obtains Summary Judgment on ERISA Matter
    • Overview
    • Professionals
    • Results

    One of the most important challenges confronting any employer subject to the federal black lung program is staying abreast of the frequent legislative and court-imposed changes to the provisions that control benefit entitlements. Successful defense strategies depend on an accurate and updated understanding of the regulations and case law. Our work in this important area has allowed us to stay informed about and involved in changes to the federal black lung law.

    We frequently litigate these federal black lung issues:
    • Identification of proper responsible operators
    • Successor liability
    • Length of coal mine employment
    • Diagnosis of black lung
    • Assessment of respiratory disability
    • Ability to perform usual coal mine employment or comparable employment
    • Identification of noncompensable disabling conditions
    • Determinations of dependency
    • Material changes in medical condition
    Because federal black lung benefits are only paid when an individual is totally disabled or has died as a result of black lung, the potential financial impact of paying lifetime benefits to the miner or his widow can be significant.

    Accordingly, proper identification of relevant issues and a thorough development of evidence supporting the employer’s position on those issues is critical. This process can be quite labor intensive. Using attorney time to collect and organize extensive employment and medical records is not a good strategy.

    We take pride in our ability to provide cost effective service to our black lung clients. We rely heavily on our talented paralegal resources and limit attorney involvement to those tasks that truly require the unique skills of legal counsel.

    In addition to claims administration and litigation, Spilman provides these federal black lung services:
    • Presenting appellate briefs and arguments before the Benefits Review Board and federal circuit courts
    • Representing employers in negotiations involving purchases or sales whose terms include federal black lung liability
    • Drafting of contract language that establishes parameters for assuming or discharging black lung liability
    • Monitoring legislative and regulatory changes in the federal black lung law
    Our experience in serving the diverse needs of large and small employers has equipped us to respond immediately to client needs and provide solutions to every kind of federal black lung problem.

    For more information about our Federal Black Lung Practice Group, contact:

    Karin L. Weingart
    Kelly G. Pawlowski Karin L. Weingart Result in Federal Black Lung Case Saves Client $350,000
    • Overview
    • Professionals
    • Results
    • Resources

    The firm’s Labor and Employment Practice Group, which has been ranked nationally by U.S. News & World Report and received the highest recognition (Band 1) from Chambers USA, consists of more than 25 lawyers and an extraordinary support staff. Whether it is counseling on complex issues, partnering to manage union relations or defending employee claims and lawsuits, we have earned an exemplary reputation throughout the region.

    Our lawyers are well-versed in every specific federal, state and local employment law that affects the employment relationship.

    Your Employment Counselor

    Professionals in the group serve as business partners, counselors and zealous advocates for clients of all sizes, from Fortune 10 international companies with numerous offices and tens of thousands of employees to small, family-owned businesses. Through our SuperVision™ services, Spilman lawyers function as an extension of the client’s management team, working together to prevent problems before they occur by providing comprehensive human resources audits, conducting comprehensive employee training programs, drafting and modifying personnel policies and procedures, and helping clients navigate the sometimes choppy waters of employment decisions.

    Your Labor Management Partner

    We are strong in traditional (and not-so-traditional) labor law issues in virtually every industry. We regularly counsel and represent local, regional and national health care, natural resources, service industry, manufacturing and other clients in union organizing campaigns, collective bargaining negotiations, unfair labor practice charges, arbitrations, discharges, strikes, civil litigation, and complex mergers and acquisitions. We closely monitor union trends and initiatives and bring our knowledge and experience to bear upon the unique traditional labor issues facing our clients.

    Your Trial Lawyer

    Even with the best laid plans, litigation sometimes arises, and when it does, our lawyers try cases. We pride ourselves in jury advocacy and results. Our lawyers have developed effective substantive and thematic defenses in single-plaintiff litigation as well as class actions and administrative agency matters. We employ the Early Case Assessment (ECA) model in all of our litigation and trials to provide clients with a comprehensive risk analysis and budget early in every litigation matter. The client is able to make an informed choice very early in the process (before incurring significant legal fees): settle it or try it? This approach is part and parcel of the firm’s emphasis on serving as each client’s business partner and working tirelessly to achieve client-driven and client-defined results.


    For more information about our labor & employment law practice, contact:

    Eric W. Iskra

    Kevin L. Carr

    Samuel M. Brock III Kevin L. Carr J. Spencer Cook William T. Cullen Joseph A. (Jay) Ford Michael S. Garrison Heather M. Garrison Carrie M. Harris Carl H. Hellerstedt Jr. Eric W. Iskra Heather Heiskell Jones Eric E. Kinder Sarah E. Kowalkowski Jeffrey D. Patton Niall A. Paul Kelly G. Pawlowski Mitchell J. Rhein Peter R. Rich David L. Robertson Chelsea E. Thompson Ellen J. Vance James A. Walls Ashlee A. Webster Charles L. Woody Global Chemical Co. & Health Care Benefits Co. Get Dismissal of All Claims Summary Judgment of Class Action Claims for Multi-State Grocery Store Telecommunications Conglomerate Acheives Walk-Away Victory Wrongful Discharge Matter Dismissed with Prejudice Retaliation Claim Against Global Chemical Companies Dismissed with Prejudice Spilman Helps Client Avoid Unionization Spilman Helps Community Hospital Save $1M Annually Spilman Prevails on Enforcement of Arbitration Provision Spilman Secures Complete Dismissal Days Before Trial Spilman Secures Dismissal of Employment Discrimination Suit
    • Overview
    • Professionals
    • Resources

    Occupational Safety & Health

    Spilman attorneys have considerable OSHA experience, both in handling matters at the investigation stage and after citations have been issued. Our approach to handling OSHA matters is tailored to the nature of the issue and the needs and desires of the client.

    For years, Spilman has helped clients navigate the vast and ever growing OSHA requirements, including:
    • Consulting with clients regarding compliance with OSHA standards
    • Counseling clients on OSHA inspection procedures and assisting in the implementation of inspection response plans
    • Assisting clients regarding work-related fatalities and major injuries
    • Representing clients in challenging citations, negotiating settlements and administrative proceedings

    Our reputation, experience and knowledge in OSHA have prepared us to serve our clients in this ever-changing and complex area of law.

    Mine Safety and Health

    For many years, Spilman has provided counsel to the mining industry about federal and state mining regulations, including:
    • Interpretations of regulatory requirements
    • Challenges to significant citations and orders and civil penalty assessments
    • Discrimination and safety complaints
    • Petitions for Modification
    • Investigations of mine accidents and fatalities
    • Special investigations and criminal investigations and enforcement
    The firm’s attorneys are highly experienced and practice nationwide. Our work involves both federal and state court actions, as well as administrative cases before federal and state agencies. 

    For more information about our OSHA practice, contact:

    Samuel M. Brock III

    Mark E. Heath

    For more information about our MSHA practice, contact:

    Mark E. Heath

    Alexander Macia
    Angela L. Beblo Samuel M. Brock III Mark E. Heath Bruce M. Jacobs Alexander Macia Dennise R. Smith
    • Overview
    • Professionals
    • Results
    • Resources

    Sound business practice always includes evaluation of the costs of doing business, including the cost of workers’ compensation: the expense of administering claims and providing benefits along with the legal fees associated with litigating contested issues and assuring regulatory compliance. Over the past 30 years, Spilman has developed an efficient and balanced approach to handling the workers’ compensation challenges faced by our clients.

    Spilman works with our clients to provide a managed approach to workers’ compensation — one which limits benefit payments through a controlled use of litigation.

    We accomplish this goal in three ways:
    1. By assisting clients and their claims administrators in carefully evaluating claims before deciding to litigate;
    2. By recognizing that, in many cases, limiting benefits can be a more practical strategy than eliminating benefits;
    3. By notifying clients when it is apparent that success is unlikely and incurring additional legal expense deserves reconsideration.

    Spilman has used these strategies successfully on behalf of many of West Virginia’s largest employers. We take pride in our ability to provide cost-effective service to our workers’ compensation clients. This is accomplished by relying heavily on our comprehensive, self-designed database that allows us to process claims information in large part without handling paper files. We can facilitate client access to this database.

    We also depend on our experienced, talented paralegal resources and limit attorney involvement to those tasks that truly require the specialized skills of legal counsel.

    In addition to claims administration and litigation, Spilman:
    • Presents appellate briefs and argument before the Workers’ Compensation Board of Review and the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals
    • Represents employers in settlement and mediation proceedings
    • Assists insurance companies and self-insured employers with government relations and regulatory compliance
    • Represents employers in administrative hearings concerning rate assessments
    • Drafts and monitors legislation before the West Virginia Legislature
    Our experience in serving the diverse needs of large and small employers, insurance companies and third-party administrators has equipped us to respond immediately to client inquiries and provide solutions to every kind of workers’ compensation problem.

    West Virginia Member of the National Workers' Compensation Defense Network – a nationwide network of law firms dedicated to protecting employers in workers' compensation claims –

    For more information about our workers' compensation practice, contact:

    H. Dill Battle III
    H. Dill Battle III Kevin B. Cartledge Charity K. Lawrence Kelly G. Pawlowski Peter R. Rich Karin L. Weingart Spilman Negotiates Settlement of Complex Deliberate Intent & Workers' Comp Matters