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How Hard Should Your Attorney Work for You?

It’s a big shock to most people that there is no guarantee of competence when you hire a lawyer. Sure, all lawyers have passed a bar exam. But to be honest, one test given at the very beginning of a lawyer’s career isn’t all that significant. And if you complain to a bar association that your lawyer is incompetent, all you are likely to get in return is a shrug. Bar associations go after lawyers who steal or violate specific ethical rules, not lawyers who just aren’t very good.

At Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill, we take great pride in the expertise that we have in each of our practice areas. For example, Atty. Joseph Moro is certified as a Workers’ Compensation Specialist by the Ohio State Bar Association.

We have a proven track record in our areas of expertise. HMMM attorneys have successfully taken cases to the Common Pleas Court, Court of Appeals and the Ohio Supreme Court. Here’s some proof in the pudding:

  • Steven Maas brought a landmark workers’ compensation case to the Ohio Supreme Court and prevailed.
  • Richard “Pete” Magill took a case to the Ohio Supreme Court that decided whether the appellant’s injury arose “out of and in the course of her employment”, thus bringing the injury within the parameters of R.C. 4123.01(C), reversing all of the prior denials.
  • Joseph Moro had a case heard by the Court of Appeals of Ohio in Trumbull County that preserved case law with regards to the standard for aggravation of a pre-existing condition being challenged by the injured worker’s employer.

Our justice system prides itself in providing due process to all. For an Ohio workers’ compensation claim, due process begins at the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, which can be appealed to the Industrial Commission of Ohio twice.

The next level of due process is the county Common Pleas Court.  That court’s decision can be appealed to the District Court of Appeals.  Ultimately, the claim can be taken to the Ohio Supreme Court. Taking any claim part way or completely through the appeals process requires large amounts of time and resources.

HMMM will go all the way for you.

Here are some examples of the level of expertise and determination that HMMM attorneys have applied to see justice served for injured workers:

FISHER, APPELLANT, V. MAYFIELD ET AL., APPELLEES  NO. 88-1764 SUPREME COURT OF OHIO. Elliott, Heller & Maas, Richard L. Magill, Steven D. Maas, Stewart Jaffy & Associates Co., LPA and Stewart R. Jaffy for the appellant

Ms. Fisher was a teacher with the Newton Falls School System. She was in charge of the flower fund, so named because they sent flowers to school employees when a child was born or a parent passed away.

On the date in question, Ms. Fisher arrived at a school, which was not the school where she taught.  This incident decides Ms. Fisher’s arrival was 15 minutes prior to the time that she was supposed to report for the start of her workday.

While at the middle school (which is approximately 1.5 miles from the high school where she teaches), Ms. Fisher sustained an injury.  The Bureau of Workers’ Compensation and Industrial Commission both denied this claim, stating that she was not injured while in the course and scope of her employment.  The trial court agreed and denied the claim, as well.

Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill appealed this to the Court of Appeals where, once again, the Court of Appeals denied the claim, stating that the injury was not a compensable injury. We did not stop with this decision and further appealed it to the Ohio Supreme Court—the argument being that the employer knew of the flower fund, as it had been in existence for a considerable period of time and permitted it to continue.

The injury also occurred while on the employer’s premises even though not the specific job site that Ms. Fisher was assigned to.  The final argument was that there was a considerable benefit to the employer—both from a moral and a general goodwill from this type of action—as it did not pertain just to the teachers but also to management-level employees.

The Supreme Court agreed with the arguments and found that the injury was within the course and scope of her employment and granted her the right to receive Workers’ Compensation.

For more information on court cases tried by Atty. Magill, visit www.ohiodisabilitylaw.com.

Here is another case:

Village v. Gen. Motors Corp., G.M.A.D. – Atty. Steven D. Maas for the appellant Michael Village

From the 1930s to its 1984 decision, the Supreme Court of Ohio rejected the compensability of work injuries that develop gradually over time.  The only injuries compensable in Ohio were those that resulted from a sudden mishap at a particular time.

However, in Village v. Gen. Motors Corp., G.M.A.D. (1984), 15 Ohio St.3d 129, the Supreme Court explicitly overruled all other decisions limiting compensable injuries to those resulting from sudden mishaps. The court explained its reasoning by stating that prior decisions were based on the erroneous assumption that an injury, to be compensable, must not only be work-related, but also “accidental.”

It’s clear that under R.C., 4123.01(C), any injury received in the course of, and arising out of, the injured employee’s employment is compensable.Village greatly expanded the scope of compensable injuries under Ohio law and has benefited many injured workers in Ohio since 1984.

For more information on court cases tried by Atty. Maas, visit www.ohiodisabilitylaw.com.

And…. one more case:


The employer attempted to have the prior court’s decision overturned by claiming the trial court committed error prejudicial to appellant. The Court of Appeals refused to consider “errors” that should have been addressed at the prior trial court.

Appellant argued another error by the trial court in not informing the jury that the appellee must prove that the aggravation of appellee’s pre-existing condition was “substantial.”  The Court of Appeals cites all that is required to qualify for benefits under the workers’ compensation law for aggravation of a pre-existing injury in a work-related injury is that the claimant prove such aggravation by a preponderance of the evidence.

The trial court’s decision was affirmed.

For more information on court cases tried by Atty. Moro, visit www.ohiodisabilitylaw.com.