Representative Cases & Projects


Represented a film distribution company assessed extraordinary penalties by the NYS Workers’ Compensation Board and NYS Department of Labor for failure to have workers’ compensation insurance, disability insurance and unemployment insurance respectively, over $200,000. Succeeded in having the penalties rescinded by showing that the company was not an employer within the meaning of the law.

Represented a homeowner who hired a babysitter to assist with childcare part time, not exceeding 50 hours a week, and who employed the services of a payroll company to process taxes and payroll on a bi-weekly basis. Succeeded in showing Board that penalty was inappropriate to extent that putative employee was not an employee under the statute notwithstanding the payment of taxes.

Assisted decorative arts construction industry employer with multi-million dollar contracts in New York and London become fully compliant. Employer, characterizing all employees as independent contractors based on the specialized nature of their job, risked enormous exposure under the expanded definition of independent contractor.


Represented a carrier where the claimant had been characterized as an independent contractor up until the date of accident when he was injured working on the insured’s personal property. The claimant was placed on payroll for the first time the day after the accident notwithstanding the fact that he had been working for the insured for 10 years. Successfully controverted the claim, arguing that it was not a covered event within the meaning of the law, that the NYS WCB did not have jurisdiction in the matter, and that the insured’s homeowner’s carrier was liable.

Catastrophic Claims

Successfully contained potential catastrophic liability on head injury claim with psychiatric overlay and subsequent non-work related accident complicating recovery via an early and modest Section 32 settlement.

Errors & Omissions

Advised a workers’ compensation carrier on a particular defense strategy pursued by defense counsel and whether defense counsel had sufficiently advised carrier of significant conflict of interest readily apparent at the outset of their representation and whether such conflict ultimately affected the quality of the representation they provided and the extent to which it adversely impacted carrier’s resulting liability.


Conducted targeted claims analysis at carrier’s office to identify cases warranting settlement, settling 70% of cases identified under WCL Section 32 or WISC stipulations with a four-month turnaround from identification to settlement approval. Carrier shown how to identify files for expedited settlement based on a set of highly nuanced criteria exclusively developed by O’Connell Zavelo.