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2019 HCC Seminar: Using Social Media To Defend Workers’ Compensation Claims

Higgins Cavanagh & Cooney is sponsoring a seminar entitled, “Applying the Latest Social Media Techniques in Defending Workers’ Compensation Claims,” which will be held at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick, R.I. on Thursday, September 26th from 8:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m.

The keynote speaker is Michele Stuart, who consults and trains federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, the military intelligence communities, the insurance industry as well as numerous Fortune 500 companies and professional sports organizations in open source, social media and cellular security. She has been an instructor at Quantico (FBI Academy) and an adjunct professor at the University of Virginia. Her areas of expertise include open-source intelligence (OSINT), counter intelligence, insurance fraud investigations, and financial investigations. For this presentation, she will focus primarily on the use of social media and publicly available sources in investigations.

James T. Hornstein, Managing Partner of the Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney Workers’ Compensation Department, and Thomas R. Bender, former Associate Counsel at Brown University and now Of Counsel to the firm, will present a brief overview of relevant court decisions.

This seminar is designed to address new and emerging issues in social media unique to workers’ compensation practice. This complimentary program is specially planned for interested insurance professionals and in-house counsel.

A copy of the program brochure is available here.

2019-10-29T15:49:46-04:00August 27th, 2019|

James Ruggieri and Gerald DeMaria Ranked Among the Best Lawyers in America

Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney, LLP, is pleased to announce that James A. Ruggieri and Gerald C. DeMaria were recently recognized in the 2020 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Their areas of expertise include product liability litigation defense and personal injury litigation defense. James Ruggieri also maintains an active employment law practice.

The Best Lawyers of America is considered one the foremost peer-reviewed resources for selecting the best legal talent worldwide. For the current edition, only five percent of lawyers in private practice were selected as Best Lawyers.

In addition to these designations, Gerald DeMaria was also named a “Lawyer of the Year” recipient for his work in the area of personal injury litigation defense. This honor is based upon the extremely high evaluations that he received among his peers within the State of Rhode Island.

The overall process begins when lawyers are nominated for consideration. Those who receive high peer reviews undergo an additional validation process. Only then can these attorneys be recognized by Best Lawyers.

2019-08-15T14:54:32-04:00August 15th, 2019|

Former Brown University Associate Counsel Becomes Of Counsel at HCC

Thomas R. Bender is now Of Counsel to Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney after previously serving as Associate Counsel in the Office of Vice President and General Counsel at Brown University. He also once served as the managing partner at a regional, insurance-defense law firm.

A fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and recognized by “Best Lawyers” and “Super Lawyers,” he has appeared before the R.I. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

During a distinguished career of more than 25 years, his clients have included major corporations engaged in mass tort litigation, hospitals and physicians, as well as leading universities and individual veterans and students. He also has familiarity with Title IX litigation within a broad portfolio of legal experience.

“We are delighted that Tom is joining Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney. He is an outstanding attorney whose expertise in both trial and appellate practice as well as his successful tenure as in-house counsel at a great Ivy League university further enhance the range of services that we can offer our clients,” said Managing Partner James A. Ruggieri.

A graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, Thomas Bender received his law degree from Washington and Lee University.

2019-07-22T06:35:27-04:00July 20th, 2019|

HCC Opens Hartford Office

The law firm of Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney LLP has recently announced the opening of an office suite in Hartford, Connecticut. The space is located on the 14th floor of 100 Pearl Street in the heart of the city’s rejuvenated central business district. The move took effect June 1.

Managing Partner James A. Ruggieri explained. “Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney has been serving the needs of corporate clients in neighboring Connecticut since the inception of our law firm almost 70 years ago. Now, we have a base of operation in the heart of the state’s capital to better serve our growing and existing Connecticut clientele.”

Ruggieri added that the move to Hartford marked the result of a three year strategic plan. “First, in 2016 we relocated our Providence headquarters to much larger, more efficient, and more modern office space on Dorrance Street in Providence. Shortly thereafter, Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney opened a convenient Boston office at 400 Atlantic Avenue, at Independence Wharf, near the historic South Station transportation hub. Presently, we have expanded our footprint in Connecticut as well,” he said, adding: “as a result of all of these measures, we are especially well-positioned to serve the needs of our clients throughout Southern Connecticut.

With 18 lawyers, Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney ranks among the top ten law firms in Rhode Island, according to the 2019 Book of Lists which is published by the Providence Business News.

The firm represents primarily large and small corporations as well as numerous leading insurance companies within the areas of litigation, insurance law, employment, transportation, and workers’ compensation defense.

Peter E. Garvey is the partner-in-charge of the firm’s Connecticut practice.

2019-06-12T11:39:13-04:00June 12th, 2019|

Attorney Sarah E. Wheeler Joins HCC

Sarah E. Wheeler has joined HCC as an Associate in the Workers’ Compensation Department. She is licensed to practice before the state courts of Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut. She is also admitted before the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island.

Sarah began her legal practice in 2006, defending employers and insurers before the Rhode Island Workers’ Compensation Court. She then sharpened her litigation skills by representing, at jury trials, plaintiffs and defendants involved in negligence cases in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. During this time, she also represented employees in workers’ compensation matters.

She eventually resumed her representation of employers and insurers exclusively before the Rhode Island Workers’ Compensation Court, where she is now especially well versed in every aspect of workers’ compensation defense.

Sarah graduated cum laude from the University of Miami Law School in Coral Gables, Florida and is a graduate of Boston University.

2019-04-24T07:31:27-04:00April 23rd, 2019|

HCC Administrator Honored by Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly

Gerald M. Miele, HCC administrator and financial officer, was recently honored by Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly with the publication’s inaugural Excellence in the Law Award.

The program was conducted at the Downtown Providence Marriott on April 9th before a crowded audience of the state’s bench and bar. Governor Gina Raimondo served as the keynote speaker and heralded the achievements of all of the award recipients.

Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly honored a diverse group of individuals representing a wide range of accomplishments within the legal community. Categories included up and coming lawyers, in-house counsel, leading practitioners, pro bono honorees as well as administrative personnel.

Gerald Miele was recognized for a career that has spanned more than two decades of service to the legal profession as well as his most recent contributions as the administrator and financial officer at HCC which he joined in 2017. Susan A. Bocamazo, the publisher of Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly noted several specific accomplishments.

On any given day, she said, Gerald Miele manages the firm’s finances, interacts with building contractors, negotiates with vendors, and oversees human resources and personnel matters. He is also responsible for upgrading the firm’s cybersecurity procedures and software systems and has developed new data recovery systems.

In addition, he has taken a leadership role in improving the firm’s social media presence on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, Ms. Bocamazo added.

Finally, he was also recognized for his civic engagement as chair of the Rules Committee for US Figure Skating and as a board member and coach for Smithfield Youth Soccer.

HCC was a proud sponsor of this event.

(Gerald Miele, at top left, is seen accepting the Rhode Island Excellence in the Law Award from Barry Bridges of Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly. He is also seen seated next to several of his HCC colleagues. At his right are J. David Freel and Paul S. Callaghan. Stephen B. Lang is seated at the far left.)

2019-04-26T06:44:40-04:00April 15th, 2019|

HCC Conducts Successful Blood Drive

Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney, LLP proudly sponsored a successful blood drive at the law firm’s Providence offices on March 5th in memory of the late Gianna Cirella of Warwick who faced a challenge too great to fight.

The blood drive was held in conjunction with the Rhode Island Blood Center. The firm’s lawyers, staff and even community members participated. Conference rooms throughout the law firm were transformed into temporary medical facilities.

Thirty-one donors rolled up their sleeves that day in honor of Gianna’s memory. Eleven persons donated for the very first time. Thanks to one and all for participating.

On November 1, 2017, Gianna passed away peacefully surrounded by her family. “Not every story has a happy ending,” said her mother, Tara Cirella, adding “but everyone deserves the fighting chance that blood donors give them.”

Tara Cirella, Gianna’s mother, is a longstanding and highly regarded HCC staff member. She is the firm’s billing and accounts receivable coordinator.

Within days of developing a sore throat, Gianna developed pneumonia and sepsis, a life-threatening infection in her blood. During the 16-day fight for her life, she needed 174 blood, platelet and plasma transfusions, which came from Rhode Island Blood Center donors.

“Gianna would not have survived one day without blood. I hope she brings awareness and action. I hope she makes people not afraid to donate. I hope she shows how very important it is to give blood,” Tara Cirella said.

For more information about the Gina Cirella Memorial Fund, visit www.gistrong.org.

(HCC attorney Brian W. Haynes, pictured above, participates in the firm’s blood drive.)

2019-08-27T13:18:04-04:00March 7th, 2019|

Susan Pepin Fay, HCC Colleague for More Than 20 Years, Becomes a Judge

Governor Gina Raimondo recently announced the appointment of Susan Pepin Fay to serve as a judge on the Rhode Island Workers’ Compensation Court. The Rhode Island State Senate subsequently confirmed her nomination, and Judge Fay assumed her position on the court on February 11.

In announcing Susan Pepin Fay’s appointment, along with several others at a State House ceremony, the Governor emphasized the importance of a diverse judiciary.

“Obviously, I am pleased and privileged by this appointment,” Judge Fay said at the time, adding, “I will do all that I can possibly do to best serve the interests of the people of Rhode Island as a member of the judiciary.”

Judge Fay has had a long and distinguished career at HCC, joining the law firm in 1997. She has represented employers and insurers before the Rhode Island Workers’ Compensation Court, the Massachusetts Board of Industrial Accidents, and the U.S. Department of Labor. She has also successfully argued precedent-setting cases before the Rhode Island Supreme Court.

Judge Fay earned her law degree, cum laude, from Suffolk University Law School and received her B.A. from Boston College. She served on the board of editors of Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly and is a former member of the Rhode Island Supreme Court Task Force on Alternative Dispute Resolution.

She has also been honored for her service on the board of directors of Young Voices and has been actively involved with the Meeting Street School and the Autism Project of Rhode Island.

“This is a bittersweet occasion as we say goodbye to Susan Pepin Fay. She has been an outstanding colleague and friend to all of us here at Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney for two decades. Without question, she is an excellent choice to serve the people of Rhode Island,” said HCC managing partner James A. Ruggieri.

“We are indeed proud that one of our former partners has assumed the Workers’ Compensation Court bench. She brings invaluable experience to the court as an exceptional litigator. We wish her well,” said James T. Hornstein, managing partner of the HCC Workers’ Compensation Department.

2019-02-14T07:39:22-05:00February 11th, 2019|

HCC Names Three New Partners

Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney is pleased to announce that Courtney L. Manchester, J. David Freel and Kristina I. Hultman have become partners of the firm.

Courtney L. Manchester defends insurance companies, leading employers throughout the state, and international corporations on workers’ compensation cases. She appears regularly on behalf of clients in matters involving domestic relations before the R.I. Family Court. Additionally, she has expertise interpreting long-term disability contracts. She received her B.A with honors in English from Wesleyan University and her J.D. from Boston University School of Law. She is admitted to practice in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. She joined the firm in 2012 after five years of active practice.

J. David Freel represents corporate clients in all phases of litigation within the areas of insurance defense, insurance coverage, premises liability, product liability, and employment law. He earned his B.A., with highest distinction, from the Pennsylvania State University and graduated magna cum laude from Roger Williams University School of Law, where he served as the executive articles editor of the law review. He is admitted to practice in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Jersey. He joined HCC in 2011.

Kristina I. Hultman focuses her practice on product liability, premises liability, insurance defense, and professional liability. She has had extensive trial experience on behalf of major corporations. She also holds leadership positions in the Defense Counsel of Rhode Island and the Defense Research Institute. She graduated from the College of the Holy Cross and received her J.D., magna cum laude, from Roger Williams University School of Law, where she was an editor of the law review. She is admitted to practice in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. She joined the firm in 2010.

2019-01-22T13:44:35-05:00January 2nd, 2019|

Attorney Adrianna Hughes Joins HCC

ADRIANNA HUGHES has joined HCC as an Associate in the Litigation Department. She is admitted to practice before the state courts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts as well as the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. She previously was employed as an attorney with a regional, Boston-based law firm where she gained valuable litigation experience.

Adrianna is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of Scranton and a graduate of Boston College Law School. She began her legal education at Suffolk University Law School during which time she received the Best Oral Advocate Award – Legal Practice Skills, Best Brief Award – Legal Practice Skills, and Jurisprudence Award – Property II.

During law school, Adrianna served as a law clerk to the Honorable Richard T. Tucker of the Massachusetts Superior Court. Before law school, she was employed as a paralegal at law firms in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.

She is a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association, Rhode Island Bar Association and Massachusetts Defense Lawyers Association.

2018-11-08T10:08:29-05:00November 8th, 2018|