Pollart Miller Annual Workers' Compensation Seminar Presenter Biographies

Seminar Bios 2018-02-21T23:31:59+00:00

Erin Brockovich
Keynote Speaker

Say the name Erin Brockovich and you think, strong, tough, stubborn and sexy.  Erin is all that and definitely more.  She is a modern-day “David” who loves a good brawl with today’s “Goliaths.”  She thrives on being the voice for those who don’t know how to yell. She is a rebel. She is a fighter.  She is a mother.  She is a woman.  She is you and me.

It’s been 12 years since Julia Roberts starred in the Oscar-winning tour de force “Erin Brockovich”.  The film turned an unknown legal researcher into a 20th century icon by showcasing how her dogged persistence was the impelling force behind the largest medical settlement lawsuit in history.  Since then, Erin hasn’t been resting on her laurels… she continues to fight hard and win big!  This gutsy broad doesn’t apologize for who she is.  She has always loved going head to head with the big boys and was never intimated by their bravado.  She learned how to come out on top from her tight-knit mid-western family in Lawrence, Kansas.  Erin was the youngest child of an industrial engineer father and journalist mother.  Her parents always believed that she could do anything she set her mind to if she learned to focus her amazing energy.

After a few years roaming around at various colleges, Erin decided that she wanted to be a California girl. She first landed a job as a management trainee for K-Mart but when that didn’t make her swagger, she decided to study electrical engineering.  But that wasn’t enough for the Kansas beauty… on a fluke, she entered the Miss Pacific Coast beauty pageant… and, not surprising, won the title.  When she realized that beauty pageants weren’t her thing, Erin, her husband and two children settled in Reno, Nevada.  After divorcing, the single mother became a secretary at a brokerage firm where she met and married her second husband.  But that marriage was short lived and the now mother of three was solo again.  Up until this point, Erin was the average divorced single mother trying to make a living… until she crossed paths with lawyer, Ed Masry, and changed the course of both their lives.  After being seriously injured in a traffic accident in Reno, Erin moved back to California’s San Fernando Valley, and hired Masry & Vititoe to represent her.   They won a small settlement but she still needed work so she got a job at their law firm as a file clerk, it was while organizing papers on a pro bono real estate case that Erin first found medical records that would explode into the largest direct action lawsuit in US history.  “Erin’s exhaustive investigation uncovered that Pacific Gas & Electric had been poisoning the small town of Hinkley’s Water for over 30 years.  It was because of Erin’s unwavering tenacity that PG & E had been exposed for leaking toxic Chromium 6 into the groundwater.  This poison affected the health of the population of Hinkley.  In 1996, as a result of the largest direct action lawsuit of its kind, spear-headed by Erin and Ed Masry, the utility giant was forced to pay out the largest toxic tort injury settlement in US history: $333 million in damages to more than 600 Hinkley residents.”  The story and eventual film helped make the “Erin Brockovich” a household name.  Over time, Erin realized that she could use her notoriety to spread positive messages of personal empowerment and to encourage others to stand up and make a difference.

Then, for three seasons, Erin hosted the Lifetime series, “Final Justice With Erin Brockovich”.  The show celebrated everyday women who triumphed when faced with overwhelming adversity.  Erin Brockovich has conquered all forms of media…  Her first TV project was ABC’s 2001 special “Challenge America With Erin Brockovich” where she helped motivate and organize the rebuilding of a dilapidated park in downtown Manhattan.  This show is best described as “Extreme Make-Over Home Edition” on steroids.  Erin then dominated the world of publishing with her New York Times Business best-seller, “Take It From Me. Life’s A Struggle, But You Can Win”.  Because of her fighting spirit, Erin has become the champion of countless women and men.  She is this generation’s, “Dear Abby” and, in fact, receives thousands of “Dear Erin” letters and emails each year from people who are begging for help and support in their own personal struggles.  Erin proudly answers every one of them.  As President of Brockovich Research & Consulting, she is currently involved in numerous environmental projects worldwide.  Erin is one of the most requested speakers on the international lecture circuit and travels the world for personal appearances.  Erin Brockovich is a true American hero who’s icon status and “stick-to-it-iveness” only fuels her determination to expose injustice and lend her voice to those who do not have one.  She has requests for her help in ground water contamination complaints in every state of the US, Australia and other international hot spots.  She is currently working on cases in California, Texas, Florida, Michigan, Illinois and Missouri.  Erin lives in Southern California with her husband, three children and 5 Pomeranians and admits to one guilty pleasure… shopping!  “When KMBC broke the story about a cluster of brain tumors in Cameron, it drew national attention.  One of those taking notice was well-known environmental activist Erin Brockovich.”

Paul Tauriello, Director
Colorado Division of Workers’ Compensation

Paul Tauriello has been director of the Division of Workers’ Compensation for the past seven years.  He was Deputy Director and Associate Director for about ten years prior.  While working at the Division for the past twenty years, he has overseen all of its programs including claims management, coverage enforcement, medical policy, and cost containment.  His areas of focus have included risk management, insurance, and employer programs.  Before joining the division, Paul was an executive for an airline with regional operations across North America.

Jathan Janove

Jathan Janove is an internationally published author, including Managing To Stay Out Of Court: How To Avoid The 8 Deadly Sins Of Mismanagement, which Dr. Stephen R. Covey described as “Marvelous! Every manager will benefit immensely,” and which Richard Drezen of the Washington Post described as “an extraordinarily useful book for managers and workers.”  He is also the author of The Star Profile: A Management Tool To Unleash Employee Potential, Gold Medal winner, Business & Career, at Book Expo America 2009.  His latest book is Hard-Won Wisdom: True Stories From The Management Trenches.  NYT bestselling author and world-renowned executive coach Marshall Goldsmith states, “Read this insightful book. It contains compelling stories with specific, actionable advice that will help anyone’s career.” NYT bestselling author Daniel H. Pink states, “By sharing many of his best stories and experiences, Jathan Janove creates a short-cut for us to the knowledge needed to become an empathetic, effective leader in the workplace.”

Jathan writes the “Are Your Employees Engaged?” blog column for Business Management Daily, and blogs on his website.  A frequent contributor to HR Magazine and the American Management Association, Jathan has been quoted in publications including the New York Times and Forbes.
Additional information about Jathan:

• President of the Organization Development Network of Oregon.
• Listed in The Top 100 Leadership Speakers for 2018, Inc. Magazine.
• Served as President/Board Chair of two other non-profit organizations, and as Chief Administrative Officer of one.
• Founded and managed a law firm, and served as an Office Managing Shareholder and Director of Employee Engagement Solutions of a large international law firm.
• Over 25 years’ experience representing employers with employee relations challenges.
• Certified executive coach (team and individual): Marshall Goldsmith’s Stakeholder Centered Coaching, and trained on DiSC personality styles.
• Citizen Lawyer of the Year 2006, J. Reuben Clark Law Society, Salt Lake Chapter, and Utah State Bar Labor & Employment Lawyer of the Year, 2005

Henry J. Roth, MD
Internal Medicine
UC Health

Henry J. Roth, MD practices Occupational Medicine in Greenwood Village, CO. He completed a residency at University of Colorado Health.  Dr. Roth also specializes in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.  Dr. Roth is board certified in Internal Medicine. Dr. Roth also practices at Integrated Health Management in Greenwood Village, CO.

Eric J. Pollart, Partner
Pollart Miller LLC

As a founding member of Pollart Miller, Eric draws on over 20 years as a practicing attorney to represent clients in Colorado, Utah and Nebraska.  As litigation counsel and advisor, he supports and advocates for the interest and rights of his clients in their insurance and employment-related issues with an emphasis on defending workers’ compensation matters.

Whether large national corporations or those with regional focus, Eric provides counsel to assist clients with risk assessment and litigation analysis. Eric’s trial experience means his clients have the security of a seasoned trial advocate when necessary, but at the same time a counselor who helps them find solutions to reduce claim exposure and the costs before litigation.

Brad J. Miller, Partner
Pollart Miller LLC

Mr. Miller is a founding member of Pollart Miller with 23 years of litigation experience in the states of Colorado, Utah and Minnesota.  Mr. Miller has defended Fortune 500 as well as small companies in a wide variety of litigation matters including liability insurance claims, complex commercial claims, labor and employment disputes, workers’ compensation claims, and an extensive diversification of civil claims.  Mr. Miller defends employers and insurance companies before federal and state courts, and also before administrative agencies in Colorado and Utah.

Mr. Miller’s background includes joining a large defense oriented law firm in Minneapolis, Minnesota immediately after law school.  Mr. Miller also worked for a large defense firm for nearly 7 years where he received extensive experience handling complex and large litigation matters. After he moved to Colorado in 2000, he was a founding member of Pollart Miller.  Mr. Miller continues to specialize in all types of insurance defense, workers’ compensation, employment law as well as a variety of other civil matters.

Mr. Miller’s history of defending complex commercial, employment, civil and labor law claims has given him the type of experience necessary to provide well-rounded advice and proper guidance to employers and insurance carriers.

Christin Bechmann, Partner
Pollart Miller LLC

Ms. Bechmann has 15 years of experience and is a partner to the firm.  She represents a wide range of clients in workers’ compensation defense, civil litigation, insurance defense, subrogation, employment law and administrative proceedings in both Colorado and Utah.  She has extensive experience successfully representing self-insured employers, uninsured employers, and insurance carriers in all aspects of workers’ compensation claims including, but not limited to, full contest claims, penalty issues, medical benefit claims, death claims, dependent benefits, permanent total disability, subrogation matters and insurance defense of first- and third- party claims.

Ms. Bechmann partners with employers, insurance carriers and third-party administrators and communicates effectively with all parties to ensure that the interests of her clients are zealously represented.  To that end, Ms. Bechmann is mindful of her clients’ needs and tailors her approach to meet those needs, whether it is litigating a case to conclusion or obtaining leverage for early resolution.  Ms. Bechmann also frequently leads presentations and seminars to educate adjusters and employers regarding changing case law and legal developments in both Colorado and Utah.

Prior to joining Pollart Miller, Ms. Bechmann’s career focused on personal injury, workers’ compensation and general insurance defense with three well-known Denver law firms.  In addition, Ms. Bechmann has litigated complex Colorado Court of Appeals matters.

Ms. Bechmann also has extensive knowledge regarding Energy Finance and Oil & Gas law, including mineral rights, royalties, land disputes, and contract drafting and negotiation.  Ms. Bechmann holds Certifications from University of Denver Daniels College of Business in Energy Land Management with an emphasis in Energy Finance Management, and Leases, Titles and Contracts.  Ms. Bechmann is able to use her expertise in and Energy Finance to advise clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to individuals in civil, administrative and legislative matters.

Ms. Bechmann graduated from Concordia College with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Philosophy – receiving departmental honors in Philosophy. She received her juris doctorate from Denver University College of Law in Colorado.

Ms. Bechmann is fluent in German.  She was born in Germany and immigrated to Australia at the age of three. She moved to the United States over 20 years ago and now calls Colorado home.

Ian Ray Mitchell, Partner
Pollart Miller LLC

Mr. Mitchell, a Colorado native, joined Pollart Miller LLC in 2007.  Mr. Mitchell specializes in litigation.  His practice focus includes torts, contract disputes, insurance contract litigation and insurance coverage issues.

He began his career at White and Steele in 2003 where his practice primarily focused on medical malpractice and nursing homes.  Mr. Mitchell moved to Godfrey and Lapuyade, P.C. in 2004, where he worked with one of the largest insurance carriers in the country, handling litigation in complex trucking accidents, auto accidents, medical malpractice, and UM/UIM bad faith litigation.  Due to the severity of injuries associated with these type of claims, Mr. Mitchell has litigated death cases, traumatic brain injury cases, burn cases and amputation losses. Mr. Mitchell has continued to expand his practice to include product liability, construction defect and warranty claims.

Mr. Mitchell represents large national corporations, insurance carriers and corporate insureds in federal and state courts and administrative agencies.  Mr. Mitchell has successfully argued both contractual and tort related litigation before the Colorado Court of Appeals.

Mr. Mitchell’s practice includes premises liability, indemnification and third-party litigation, personal injury, trucking claims, professional malpractice, products liability, and bad faith disputes.  Mr. Mitchell has also worked to enforce the rights of his clients in subrogation recovery for Workers’ Compensation insurers and employers in addition to more traditional property damage subrogation.

He represents his clients’ interests in all phases of litigation from discovery through jury trials, court trials and mediation.  As a result of Mr. Mitchell’s knowledge and experience with liability issues involving corporations and small business employers, he also provides guidance and legal representation for employment law claims, assisting employers with termination disputes, wage claims and employee and safety handbook drafting.

Ilene H. Feldmeier, Partner
Pollart Miller LLC

Ilene Feldmeier’s practice primarily focuses on representing employers and insurance clients in workers’ compensation claims in Colorado and Idaho.  She has litigated hundreds of workers’ compensation cases and prevailed on many appellate cases.  Ilene represents employers and insurance carriers in all aspects of workers’ compensation claims including defending full contests, medical benefit claims, safety rule violations, termination for cause, death benefits involving determination of common law spouse, penalty claims, recouping overpayments, withdrawing admissions, fraud, mental impairment, permanent total disability, apportionment, and many other issues.  Ilene also assists clients with employment law issues including resignations, termination, release of claims, and ADA considerations.

Ilene joined Pollart Miller LLC as a Law Clerk in 2007 while finishing law school. In May 2008, after passing the Colorado Bar, Ilene became an Associate with the Firm. In 2016, Ilene became a Partner with the Firm.  Prior to graduating from law school, Ilene completed a judicial internship for the Colorado Office of Administrative Courts, gaining valuable experience in workers’ compensation and general services administrative law.  Since joining Pollart Miller LLC, Ilene has worked continuously in litigation involving Colorado workers’ compensation claims. In 2017, at the specific request of a client that valued Ilene’s work in Colorado, Ilene began practicing workers’ compensation law in Idaho and has handled claims involving compensability, medical benefits, and subsequent injuries.

Ilene is a St. Louis native and she graduated from Missouri State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Entertainment Management in 2002.  Following, this Ilene worked in restaurant management for 3 years and gained valuable experience with customer service, personnel management and other various employment issues that helps her comprehend and relate to the concerns of her clients. Ilene graduated from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law in December 2007 and passed the Colorado Bar in February 2008. In her spare time, Ilene enjoys spending time with her children, running half marathons, and volunteering.  Ilene has completed eight half marathons, including the Leadville Heavy Half Marathon and Disney Glass Slipper Challenge, and regularly volunteers for various organizations throughout the community.

Jake Johnson, Partner
Pollart Miller LLC

Mr. Johnson joined Pollart Miller LLC in 2011. He practices civil litigation including workers’ compensation.  He also defends select clients who have been charged criminally in Colorado.

After graduating from law school in 2007, Mr. Johnson worked as an Assistant Public Defender in Wichita, Kansas.  While at the Public Defender’s Office, Mr. Johnson defended clients charged with felonies ranging from driving under the influence to homicide.  Mr. Johnson tried over 10 jury trials as lead counsel and successfully obtained a number of acquittals for his clients.

In 2008, Mr. Johnson joined the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office in Wichita, Kansas.  He spent two years with the District Attorney’s Office prosecuting businesses that were engaged in deceptive and unconscionable business practices.  Mr. Johnson later transferred into the “drug” unit where he prosecuted individuals charged with felonies ranging from driving under the influence to drug distribution and other drug related crimes.  While at the District Attorney’s Office, Mr. Johnson took part in another 15 jury trials, taking the role of lead counsel in 10 of them. He left the District Attorney’s Office in October of 2010 to move to Colorado.

Mr. Johnson joined Pollart Miller LLC in January of 2011 and began using his prior years of trial and litigation experience to represent our clients. He has successfully represented our clients in trials at the administrative level and also represents them at the appellate level.

Jessica L. Grimes, Associate
Pollart Miller LLC

Ms. Grimes joined Pollart Miller as an associate in 2012. After graduating from law school, she was selected as part of the Attorney General Honors’ Program in the U.S. Department of Justice.  She spent two years with the Executive Office of Immigration Review as an Attorney Advisor, where she gained extensive experience with immigration, criminal, and procedural matters before a federal administrative body.

Since joining Pollart Miller, Ms. Grimes has focused her practice on civil litigation, employment law, and workers’ compensation defense.  She represents insureds, employers, and insurance carriers before state courts and administrative agencies, both at the trial court and appellate levels.  Ms. Grimes has represented clients in all phases of litigation and mediation through appeal; she has argued before the Colorado Court of Appeals and has briefed cases to the Colorado Court of Appeals and Supreme Court.

Gail L. Benson, Associate
Pollart Miller LLC

Ms. Benson joined Pollart Miller in 2012 and focuses her practice on insurance defense litigation, including representing companies and insurance carriers in workers’ compensation and liability matters, and criminal defense.

During law school Ms. Benson served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Barry Law Review where she was responsible for the publication of two law review journals, as well as hosting a live symposium.  Ms. Benson also interned with a Fortune 500 company, served as a research assistant, and became a Certified Legal Intern in Barry University’s Children and Families Clinic where she represented juveniles charged with criminal offenses.

Upon graduating from law school, Ms. Benson gained significant trial experience by serving as a prosecutor in Volusia County, Florida.  During her time with the State Attorney’s Office, Ms. Benson sat first and second chair on numerous jury trials, bench trials, and violation of probation hearings, as well as successfully argued countless motions and other pre-trial matters.

Ms. Benson left the State Attorney’s Office in 2010 to focus her practice solely on civil litigation.  Ms. Benson practiced with a personal injury law firm in Orlando, Florida where she represented injured clients in medical malpractice, premises liability, nursing home neglect, auto accidents and other personal injury actions.  Ms. Benson’s experience in representing plaintiffs provided a unique perspective into both the motives and drivers of her clients.  Utilizing this knowledge, Ms. Benson then joined an insurance defense law firm in Central Florida and represented insurance carriers and their insureds in the defense of civil liability claims.  In 2012, Ms. Benson relocated to Colorado where she continues to focus her practice on defending insurance carriers and their insureds in civil litigation and workers’ compensation matters.

Amanda J. Branson, Associate
Pollart Miller LLC

Ms. Branson joined Pollart Miller LLC in 2013.  She represents employers and insurance carriers before state courts and administrative agencies.

After graduating from law school, Ms. Branson began a judicial clerkship in the 18th Judicial District.  While clerking, Ms. Branson drafted numerous orders and participated in over fifty jury trials.  Following her clerkship, Ms. Branson joined Lasater & Martin, where she defended insurance carriers in complex construction defect cases.  At Pollart Miller LLC, Ms. Branson’s practice focuses on workers’ compensation and subrogation.