Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks, LLP is trusted by businesses and municipal governments large and small to provide effective and aggressive legal representation in all aspects of their New Jersey workers’ compensation claims. The firm has long enjoyed a reputation as a premier workers’ compensation litigation firm since 2003.
Our attorneys have experience representing a broad spectrum of clients, ranging from large restaurant chains to independent restaurants, from multi-state retail chains to construction contractors and suppliers, from large hospital systems to privately-held physicians’ offices, and from state-wide agencies to local governments.
We have developed and revised workers’ compensation policies for our clients, helped them audit their workers’ compensation practices, and advised them on how to conduct internal investigations. Our attorneys also regularly attend claims review meetings to make certain that each claim is getting the attention that it deserves.
We believe in providing our clients with solutions that are customized to fit their needs. We recognize that our clients are not looking for one-size-fits-all answers and often have specific question that pertain to their industry. Providing sound advice requires us first to engage in active listening with a focus on learning our clients’ unique situations. Sometimes that requires proceeding to trial. If so, the law firm of Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks, LLP has a first rate team of accomplished workers’ compensation trial attorneys to go to trial if necessary. More times than not, however, that involves negotiating a settlement to limit our clients’ exposure and move claims to a final disposition within a reasonable amount of time.
Our business and government clients call us because they need answers. They have important decisions to make, and they need a roadmap that lets them plan a way forward. They need the reassurance that comes with a coherent plan of attack that lets them overcome the paralysis of uncertainty and begin taking constructive steps toward a solution. They need to know that the attorneys giving them advice on their workers’ compensation matters are willing to defend that same advice in court if it comes under challenge.
Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks has enjoyed a tremendous amount of success defending New Jersey business and government in litigated workers’ compensation claims. Our results speak for themselves. The firm has two reported decisions that helped shape the law in New Jersey in favor of our business and government clients.
James G. Pietras successfully defended the City of Ventnor and the Atlantic County Municipal Joint Insurance Fund before the New Jersey Supreme Court in Jumpp v. City of City of Ventnor, 177 N.J. 470 (2003). The Jumpp case effectively limited claims involving off-premises injuries.
Christopher J. Saracino successfully defended United Airlines before the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division and New Jersey Supreme Court in the matter of Stroka v. United Airlines, 364 N.J. Super 333 (App. Div. 2003), cert. den. 179 N.J. 313 (2004). The Stroka case involved a claim for mental stress stemming from the tragic events of September 11, 2001 and effectively limited claims for mental stress even in the most tragic of circumstances.
The firm has countless other unreported decisions in the Division of Workers’ Compensation and Appellate Division including Chiumento v. Camden County, Docket No. A-0613-04T50613-04T5 (App. Div. July 31, 2006); Huntoon v. Borough of Clementon, Docket No. A-0956-09T3 (App. Div. July 28, 2010); and McGlinsey v. George H. Buchanan Co., Docket No. A-4653-08T3 (App. Div. September 30, 2010), cert. den. 205 N.J. 102 (2011).
In addition to defending clients in all types of workers’ compensation litigation, our attorneys also concentrate their practice on specialties within the field. Our attorneys regularly assist clients in obtaining contribution from the Second Injury Fund in claims involving total and permanent disability, claims involving the Uninsured Employers’ Fund, claims involving subrogation from third-parties pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 34:15-40, as well as assisting in claims where the employee is also the recipient of a public disability retirement pension.
In a business environment that has become increasingly complicated by state and federal legislation, particularly as a result of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Medicare Secondary Payer Statute, every action in a workers’ compensation case may also have a significant impact on an employer’s compliance with federal law. Our attorneys are not only trained to recognize the interrelationship of such issues, but also have considerable experience in assisting in the defense of discrimination actions arising out of the employment relationship as well as other issues in employment law.
Drawing upon our vast experience, we are able to offer clients the benefit of our prior work product. This translates into cost-effective representation, a goal shared by employers and insurance companies alike. We also work toward this end by evaluating workflow, staffing at the most effective level, and utilizing appropriate technology.
Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks, LLP also takes a leading role in educating the business and government communities on workers’ compensation law. This emphasis on education reflects our philosophy of serving clients, both inside and outside of the litigation setting, and the importance of enhancing the value of our client relationships.
We conduct numerous educational seminars throughout the year, ranging in scope from individual programs tailored to the needs of specific corporate and government clients, to continuing legal education programs presented to other attorneys on workers’ compensation law.
We compile, update and publish an account based spreadsheet to help employers review their claims and identify what needs to be done to either move a claim toward settlement or trial.
We publish our firm website, a Facebook page, and individual pages on LinkedIn to keep clients fully apprised as to new cases and developments in the Division of Workers’ Compensation that may impact their claims.
Our geographic scope covers the entire State of New Jersey. The firm has at least one regular list in every single District Office in the State of New Jersey.
For more than 15 years, Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks, LLP has proudly served the legal needs of employers throughout the State of New Jersey. Our lawyers have strong ties to the local community and are committed to helping companies and municipalities throughout the area grow and succeed. We pride ourselves on being a New Jersey-based firm and not a satellite office of a regional or national law firm. We recognize that your New Jersey workers’ compensation claims are different from those in other states and work tirelessly to provide you with the representation that your business or government deserves.
When choosing Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks, LLP to represent your business or government, you can be assured that your claims will not be assigned to an inexperienced attorney. Rather, every claim is handled by an experienced workers’ compensation trial attorney with no less than 10 years of experience.
Our attorneys are familiar not only with the intricacies of the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act, but also with local judicial procedures, successfully representing clients before the New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation, New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division, and the New Jersey Supreme Court.
Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks, LLP offers a team of first-rate attorneys who help employers, third-party administrators and insurance companies successfully resolve both their day-to-day workers’ compensation issues and their most complex legal challenges. Whether we are handling a claim where the goal is to move toward closure with the best possible outcome, or a complex trial involving issues of compensability under the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act, we are committed to delivering superior legal counsel in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible. Clients choose us because we offer the resources of a large law firm with the personalized care you would come to expect from a boutique practice.
We believe that a client should not have to choose between the highly-qualified legal representation you expect from a large law firm and the quick correspondence you look for in a smaller firm. That is why we strive to offer an experienced team who makes client communication a top priority. We provide personalized services and attention to each case with the knowledge and experience you expect to find in a larger law firm. We are dedicated to delivering first-class legal services at an affordable and cost-effective rate, giving our clients the best of both worlds.
Coronavirus COVID-19 UPDATE:
PLEASE READ »
Please be advised that in accordance with Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 107, which imposed strict limitations on the operations of "brick-and-mortar" businesses and required telecommuting to the greatest extent possible, all N.J. workers’ compensation courts will continue to be closed to the public and to non-essential court personnel until April 13, 2020.
In response to overwhelming requests from the Workers’ Compensation Bar to hold non-emergent matters electronically or by teleconference, as of April 6, 2020, the following Workers’ Compensation Judges shall be designated by the N.J. Department of Labor and Workforce Development and the N.J. Division of Workers’ Compensation as essential personnel and shall report to their home vicinages for the purpose of hearing as many Workers’ Compensation matters as possible by telephonic conferencing, including all emergent matters and the following non-emergent matters, pre-trial conferences, general motions for medical and temporary benefits, and settlements by affidavit:
Hon. Audrey Kernan, S.J., Atlantic City WC Courthouse
Hon. Arthur Marchand, A.S.J., Bridgeton WC Courthouse
Hon. Ingrid French, A.S.J., Camden WC Courthouse
Hon. Lionel Simon III, A.S.J., Freehold WC Courthouse
Hon. Diana Ferriero, S.J., Hackensack WC Courthouse
Hon. Jill Fader, S.J., Jersey City WC Courthouse
Hon. Glenn Kaplan, S.J., Lebanon WC Courthouse
Hon. Michael Luther, S.J., Mt. Arlington WC Courthouse
Hon. George Geist, S.J., Mt. Holly WC Courthouse
Hon. Ashley Hutchinson, A.S.J., New Brunswick WC Courthouse
Hon. Philip Tornetta, A.S.J., Newark WC Courthouse
Hon. William Roca, S.J., Paterson WC Courthouse
Hon. Maria Del Valle Koch, S.J., Plainfield WC Courthouse
Hon. Eugene Mulvaney, S.J., Toms River WC Courthouse
Hon. David Puma, S.J., Trenton WC Courthouse
The Division’s plan is to limit physical interactions in our workers’ compensation courts to the greatest extent possible and shift to the use of telephone conferencing, and if possible video conferencing for judges, attorneys, and litigants. There will be no in-person Workers’ Compensation Court proceedings (except for extremely limited emergent matters and certain ongoing motions for medical and temporary benefits and trials in which case social distancing will be enforced). Court offices will remain closed for in-person submissions. Filings will continue to be accepted electronically through COURTS On-line.
The N.J. Division of Workers’ Compensation’s number one goal is to limit the exposure and spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus to court personnel, attorneys and their staff, litigants, witnesses, and members of the public at large.
Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks, LLP also continues to closely monitor the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and its impact on our local community and the world at large. In accordance with Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 107, our office is closed and the members of the firm continue to work remotely. As such, the members of the firm may have limited access to information during this time. We continue to appreciate your understanding. We encourage our current clients, new clients, and fellow members of the bar to contact us via e-mail as that remains the best form of communication. All attorneys and paralegals have access to e-mail and case information. We have designated essential personnel to report to our office for the purpose of handling emergent matters only and to complete essential administrative tasks. Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks, LLP remains committed to complying with all health and governmental regulations. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with those most affected by this situation.