The Lombardi Law Firm is predominantly a personal injury firm. We consider personal injury law to include workers’ compensation claims along with the major work we do in PI cases that includes truck, motorcycle, ATV, property and car accident cases. If personal injury is involved then we handle that type of case. Of course personal injury means injury and includes the death of someone. And so if the victim has either received medical treatment or is dead you can call us to see what we suggest you do. We are lawyers and with over 35 years of experience, and so when it comes to personal injury or wrongful death cases we have more knowledge than any layperson, any of your friends or relatives or even your county-seat family lawyer.

For us this is about people and how to help them. And so when someone is significantly injured or killed there is a family crisis to deal with and that loss of income is the immediate crisis. Many lawyers aren’t interested “in the little stuff”, meaning the ‘stuff’ that doesn’t make them a lot of money. But we aren’t your run-of-the-mill law firm. We care deeply about our clients and their families. And yes we have to make money or else I would not still be here after 35 years. When this firm does well it means we can do more for the many clients we choose to represent. And we do a lot for our clients and provide them and their families with a lot of value. Which leads me to what I consider to be an area of the law long ignored.

Attorney Phillip has been hammering away at unemployment cases. And her record is exceptional. Here is the score card over the last few months. I have left out the client name to protect their privacy.

UNEMPLOYMENT CASES

SUCCESSFUL CHALLENGES

1. Our Client v. JL Houston Co. Inc.

  1. Claim: voluntary quit
  2. ALJ decision: eligible for benefits
    1. No voluntary quit because told by the employer not to return to work until he had obtained a medical waiver for diabetes for his CDL, that claimant was told was required to continue his truck-driving job.
    2. Wrote a brief regarding client's right to continued unemployment benefits based on his valid renewed CDL and the fact that he delivered propane tanks, a petroleum product, which exempted CDL drivers from following certain requirements under the Iowa Code and federal regulations, including the need to obtain a medical waiver for diabetes. 4/10/2014
  1. Our Client v. Meskwaki Bingo Casino
    1. Claim: Misconduct
    2. ALJ decision: eligible for benefits
      1. Successfully appealed the denial of unemployment benefits; denial based on "misconduct" for inconsistencies in cash drawer at casino, but employer failed to establish intentional wrongdoing and admitted they only alleged "negligence" does not qualify as misconduct to deny benefits. 6/1/2014
  2. Our Client v. US Cellular
    1. Claim: Misconduct
    2. ALJ decision: eligible for benefits
      1. Successfully appealed the denial of unemployment benefits at U.S. Cellular; denial based on "misconduct" for failing to fill out a workbook with every customer; was told when fired the company was "going in a different direction"; the employer did not appear at the telephone fact-finding interview with the employee, then later called in and the hearing officer allowed the employer's late phone call to be admitted and denied employee benefits; employer failed to appear for the appeal hearing before the ALJ; failed to show evidence of misconduct, benefits are allowed. 10/10/2014
  3. Our Client v. Eaton
    1. Claim: Misconduct
    2. ALJ decision: eligible for benefits
      1. Successfully argued Claimant was eligible for benefits.  "Excessive absenteeism" due solely to personal health emergency of her daughter (post-partum depression and employee was the only available caretaker for new grandson while daughter adjusted to meds) was not "misconduct" esp. where she reported each absence to the employer. 5/12/15
  4. Our Client v. Magellan Midstream Partners
    1. Claim: Misconduct
    2. ALJ decision: not eligible for benefits
    3. Claimant appealed
    4. EAB decision: eligible for benefits
      1. Successfully argued Claimant was eligible for benefits.  Was denied benefits in the appeal hearing; successfully appealed to Employment Appeal Board, arguing that failing to tighten a bolt on a railcar and failing to completely fill out checklists was not "misconduct" because it was not intentional and he performed to the best of his abilities. 1/30/15
  5. Our Client v. Humana Cares
    1. Claim: Misconduct
    2. ALJ decision: eligible for benefits
    3. Successfully argued Claimant was eligible for benefits.  Inadvertently failing to renew nursing license was not "misconduct".  1/27/15
  6. Our Client v. Madison County Health
    1. Claim: Misconduct
    2. ALJ decision: eligible for benefits
      1. Successfully argued Claimant was eligible for benefits against opposing attorney argument that Claimant violated HIPAA by accessing personnel staff emails.  Claimant's job description clearly stated he would at times access emails in order to set up spam filters and ensure the safety of the hospital's computer system. 6/30/15
  7. Our Client v. Kay Jewelers
    1. Claim: misconduct
    2. ALJ decision: affirmed FF interview decision that claimant was eligible for benefits due to employer’s failure to comply with subpoena after several attempts; sanction was to dismiss the employer’s appeal.
    3. Employer appealed
    4. EAB decision: remanded back to ALJ to determine whether eligible for benefits based on the merits in the record – never happened! Which means, we win!
  8. Our Client v. Clarion Health and Wellness
    1. Claim: Misconduct
    2. ALJ decision: eligible for benefits
      1. Successfully argued that claimant did not engage in misconduct when she failed to realize her nursing license had expired.  She was terminated for this and for improper filling out patient forms, but had recently received positive feedback on filling out forms just prior to termination, and had PTSD memory problems that affected her ability to remember to renew her license.  Failure to renew license was an honest mistake; not intentional and not mean to harm employer. 3/31/16
  9. Our Client v. AE Dairy
    1. Claim: Misconduct
    2. ALJ decision: eligible for benefits
      1. successfully argued that leaving the drug testing facility to get a phone charger from his car is not misconduct because the company policy did not specify this as improper action to put Claimant on notice that his action would lead to termination or denial of benefits; company did not follow DOT mandates with regard to specifying in company policy what constitutes a refusal to test and other DOT regulations that would put the employee on notice of why he must stay within the facility site during testing.  Went through extensive discovery and a 4-hour long expert deposition. In-person hearing with two employer reps and attorney from a large and prestigious law firm. 3/24/16

UNSUCCESSFUL CHALLENGES

  1. Our Client v. Swedish Match of North America
    1. Claim: Voluntary quit/resignation
    2. ALJ decision: not eligible for benefits
      1. Claimant voluntarily issued his resignation because he thought he could not improve his performance to the satisfaction of his supervisor and was frustrated with the unreasonable expectations; he was not told to quit and continued work was available for him if he had stayed.
  2. Our Client v Nursing Home
    1. Claim: voluntary quit without good cause
    2. ALJ decision: not eligible for benefits
      1. Claimant mistakenly assumed she was fired after a conversation with supervisor about not getting enough hours to work and did not return to work equals a voluntary quit; employer would have allowed her to continue working there had claimant stayed and continued to work
  3. Our Client v Retail Jeweler
    1. Claim: misconduct
    2. ALJ decision: eligible for benefits
    3. Employer appealed
    4. EAB: not eligible for benefits
      1. Due to misconduct/excessive unexcused absenteeism for failing to appear for required training sessions.  Claimant asserted she properly notified her supervisor of her absences; employer argued she did not
  4. Our Client v Iowa Premium Beef
    1. Claim: misconduct
    2. ALJ decision: not eligible for benefits
    3. Claimant appealed
    4. EAB: affirmed not eligible for benefits
      1. Due to misconduct/excessive unexcused absenteeism; claimant asserted she properly called in and reported absences due to medical excuse not to work after broken wrist; employer asserted she did not properly notify per company policy.

Attorney Lombardi’s advice about unemployment benefits and what leads up to fighting over eligibility: Of course I would rather none of these workers needed to hire the Lombardi Law Firm to get their unemployment benefits, but when you do we are there to fight for you. So let me give you a little advice about how to avoid having to hire us. Although Attorney Katrina Phillip is good at what she has been doing in this area, we would rather you won without seeing us or never have to quit your job or be fired from it.

Is this a setup to get rid of me? As an employee you are injured at work and are off of work, the employer tells you to go home and they will call you when they are ready for you, but there is a policy that employees must call in every three days or else it is considered a voluntary quit. Know the work rules about being absent from work and then follow them instead of listening to the lies of some supervisor. The supervisor cares more about saving the company money than he does your ability pay the rent or mortgage.

Do two wrongs ever make a right? The retail store you work for allows the salesperson discretion in when and how much a customer discount should be during various times of the year. Word spreads around amongst the sale staff that giving the maximum discount is a good and an accepted way to boost your sales figures. Your supervisor knows of this and although it sort of might bend the official rules she’s fine with it because the more you sell the more she makes! Great! But what you need to know is that when they want to get reduce the sale’s force they first get rid of your supervisor, and then they go through the sale’s figures to isolate who has been doing what you did, (it’s an industry wide practice) and when they put the numbers together you’re next and you’re fired. So the answer to the question is “no”.

What will likely happened to my job after a merger between two large companies? Is my job safe? Read above, “do two wrongs ever make a right?” There lies your answer. You should hear the sound of a clock ticking. And if it is a hedge fund who bought out your employer that is the kiss of death.

Learn to recognize job burnout and act proactively. We see many employees who get stale in their jobs, begin to develop a lousy attitude about the job, the supervisor and the place of employment. After which they do whatever they can to put themselves in place to eventually get fired. At this point you aren’t bored any longer, because now you worry daily about how to pay the mortgage or the rent and where money will be found to buy groceries. We all know when we are getting burned out. Learn to recognize the signs and then make an appointment to speak with your supervisor to ask about another position. Or get a life outside of work, join a bowling league, get psychotherapy or exercise. But don’t do nothing. Doing nothing is not the answer.

Working in a professional job normally means having a professional license. Forgetting to renew it will lead to lapse, expiration and a loss of licensing privileges. The key word is privilege, it’s not a right. So how about using that calendar on your iPhone or Samsung product to set an alarm for when your professional license and continued education annual fees must be paid. And while you’re at it do the same with your driver’s license. Which leads us to the next unemployment benefits case.

No matter what you want to think, professional drivers need a professional license to keep their jobs. Over-the-road drivers and employees requiring a CDL actually need a CDL to remain employed. And so if you let yours lapse you can’t work in your job, no matter how long you have worked there.

Are nursing homes really about caring? Working in a nursing home is a high risk occupation. Lifting and moving patients is an everyday occurrence. Lifting exposes the employees to back, shoulder and neck injuries. And when you complain to your supervisor about those aches and pains from lifting Mr. and Mrs. Nursing Home patient there is a little red flag that goes off in their mind and will later be discussed at the meeting of the supervisors and owners. It’s not a good one for you because it leads to plotting about how to get rid of you.  And so when you’re getting written up for minor problems it should be a sign of a three-step procedure of creating the impression you are a bad employee, should be fired and denied unemployment benefits. So when it comes to their employees, take heed, because nursing homes are not about caring.

Should I think this is such a little thing that the employer will not resist my getting unemployment benefits? Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Never think this. I estimated in a recent case that the employer spent over $40,000.00 fighting over 26-weeks of unemployment benefits. I had to wonder if the employer just wanted free discovery for the union grievance hearing that will come after the unemployment hearing. If you are one of the old union guard the employers will spend lavishly to figure out how to permanently get rid of you. "Never ASSUME, because when you ASSUME, you make an ASS of U and ME.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svkgOsr7pUc

Attorney Phillip has an exceptionally sharp legal mind. But that’s not her greatest asset as a lawyer. She is passionate about the law and doesn’t like to lose. Hating to lose is the greatest quality a trial lawyer can possess. And it is entirely different than loving to win. She wins and moves on to the next client’s case which if you are her next client you will appreciate her not standing there waiting to get the accolades on her win. Instead she is right back at her desk working on the next client’s problems because she hates to lose. You do not want a lawyer who loves to win; you hire the one who hates to lose. Because it is not about the win or the money that goes with winning. It is about not-losing and from your standpoint those are all the right reasons to hire her.

If you have a personal injury case, workers’ compensation, motorcycle accident, property injury accident, ATV, moped or other serious injury claim call the Lombardi Law Firm. Call today! Call now! 

Steve Lombardi
Iowa personal injury, workers' compensation, motorcycle, quadriplegic, paraplegic, brain injury, death
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