H George Kagan receives national 2019 Defense Attorney "Comp Laude Award®” at WorkCompCentral gala, Huntington Beach, Ca., 9/24/19:
WorkCompCentral gives out "The Comp Laude® Awards" at its annual gala in California, an industry tradition started by its late founder, David DePaolo and designed -- as current president and CEO Kristin Chavez put it -- to "shine a spotlight on what is good and right in our industry." (The award takes its name from the Latin term "cum laude," which in academia means "with honor.")
Each year a list of six finalists in 12 segments of the Workers’ Compensation industry -- which includes both individuals and companies -- is released ahead of the conference, with winners in each category announced at the gala. I find it especially moving this event places special emphasis on injured workers, and all six injured-worker finalists, who despite extreme hardship each serve as inspiration and reminder of the often-overlooked great good done by the system, share the annual award in that category.
I was deeply honored to have been nominated as one of the six national finalists for the annual defense category award in 2018 and then again, this year. This year I am humbled, honored (and a little bit shocked) to have won. I am so very grateful to those who proposed and furthered my nomination.
However, I was also selected to present a story during the popular "People's Choice” presentations at the gala. I shared the touching story of how a tragic workers' compensation case led to my becoming dear friends with former Supreme Allied Commander NATO North Atlantic Fleets; Commander of the recovery crew for Apollo 12, etc., retired rear Admiral Warren E. Aut (a story I reported on earlier, in my website, dealing with events of October 2018). I was blessed again to visit with the Admiral and his wife Darlene at their home in Laguna Beach right after the gala, where I am happy to say he heard and approved my "story!"
Allow me to add this: it pleases me greatly to have this extraordinary approval given the sometimes unique path I’ve walked in this industry, one which I am blessed, privileged and supported by cherished clients -- some long-established, some brand new -- to keep treading in this, my "second act." I now enjoy the ability to focus on my appeals and consultations more than at any time previously, and this recognition (together with my humble firm, H. George Kagan, P.A., having been included among the nine U.S. News & World Report’s Best (Defense) Firms in Florida for 2019, serve as ringing endorsements for me to keep at it!)
So I thank not only the wonderful folks at WorkCompCentral but all of you, certainly my employer and carrier clients (some continuously for 40 years) but also the many individual adjusters -- and judges at the trial and appellate levels; honorable opposing counsel; physicians; nurse case managers; injured workers (and yes sometimes even private investigators!). Each in his or her own way, albeit sometimes with setbacks dealt by one or more, has nevertheless allowed me to occupy this wonderful space at this exact moment. Thank you all!
My People's Choice Speech Video
P.S. Here is a video of my brief post-award interview, a link to an article covering my speech and WorkCompCentral's Press Release.
WorkCompCentral Press Release: https://www.workcompcentral.com/press-release/article/id/374