Murphy Law Firm represents injured workers in all aspects of their injury and will pursue all claims possible. Our firm specializes in creating multiple avenues of recovery to ensure our clients are “made whole,” by maximizing the value of every claim. We regularly recover for clients using multiple claims tailored uniquely for each client’s situation.
Seminal Case Results
Murphy Law Firm has represented thousands of Montana workers with their workers’ compensation claims. We have successfully fought and prevailed in overturning dozens of unconstitutional laws, promulgated by insurance companies, that deprived injured workers from full legal redress.
Mellin v. Kijakazi (Case No. CV-22-08-GF-JTJ) filed in Montana District Court
The claimant filed her application for disability benefits in March 2011. Murphy Law Firm represented the claimant through three Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearings, numerous appeals, and two federal court actions, spanning twelve years. On March 21, 2023, the federal court reversed the prior Social Security denials for an immediate award of benefits from August 2010. Due to Murphy Law Firm’s steadfast representation, the claimant received over twelve years of past-due benefits.
Candida Krezelak v. Indemnity Insurance Company of North America, 2021 MTWCCC 16
Murphy Law Firm prevailed at trial in the Montana Workers’ Compensation Court recent decision Candida Krezelak v. Indemnity Ins. Co. of North America, 2021 MTWCCC 16. In this case, Matt and Tommy Murphy successfully litigated a week-long trial regarding Mrs. Krezelak’s entitlement to benefits for her serious and surgical lower back injuries. The insurer denied Mrs. Krezelak’s lower back injuries based on a large gap of time between her injury and treatment. The insurer hired a formidable and biased defense medical examiner to conclude that Mrs. Krezelak’s injuries were not related to her work injury. Murphy Law Firm was able to expose the flaws in the insurance doctor’s opinions, present the truth of Mrs. Krezelak’s injuries to the Court, and successfully obtained significant benefits for Mrs. Krezelak and her family. This decision positively impacts all injured Montana workers who are denied benefits by an insurer relying on a biased medical examiner. Here is a link to the decision on the Workers’ Compensation Court’s website: https://wcc.dli.mt.gov/k/Krezelak_2021MTWCC16.pdf.
Schieber v. Liberty Northwest Ins. Corp., 2019 MTWCC 14
Murphy Law Firm successfully argued that Schieber was permanently totally disabled, resulting in payment for full workers’ compensation benefits for 8 years.
Daniel Ward v. Victory Insurance Company, 2019 MTWCCC 11
Murphy Law Firm prevailed at trial in the most recent Montana Workers’ Compensation Court decision regarding Daniel Ward v. Victory Insurance Company, 2019 MTWCCC 11. In this case, we successfully litigated the claimant’s entitlement to benefits for his complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) which was an issue of first impression for the court. This decision positively impacts all injured Montana workers suffering from CRPS. we also successful revealed the biases of insurance defense medical examiners. View details PDF.
Hensley v. Montana State Fund, 2019 MTWCCC 12
In August 2019, the Montana Workers’ Compensation Court denied our motion for summary judgment in Hensley v. Montana State Fund, 2019 MTWCCC 12. As such, permanently impaired workers without wage loss will not receive payment of their impairment benefit. While this is a temporary setback, we filed an appeal with the Montana Supreme Court in September 2019.
Neisinger v. New Hampshire Ins. Co., 2019 MTWCC 13
In September 2019, the Montana Workers’ Compensation Court agreed with Murphy Law Firm that when a claimant is forced to submit to a psychological evaluation by an insurer, the psychologist/psychiatrist must disclose and produce all raw data generated as a result of the examination, including copyrighted testing materials, simultaneously with their final report. Previously, insurers often refused to produce this information, depriving injured workers of their constitutional right to a full and fair cross examination.
Ross v. Victory Ins. Co. Inc., 2017 MTWCC 14
Murphy Law Firm successfully prevented Ross from being forced to treat with the insurance company’s biased medical doctor. The Court found that the Claimant was entitled to see the doctor chosen by her treating physician, and the insurer company could not choose who she saw. This ensured that Ross got the necessary medical treatment, and led to a sizeable recovery.
Davis v. Liberty Ins. Co., 2017 MTWCC 21
In Davis, Murphy Law Firm argued that Petitioner was permanently totally disabled despite being released to work 20 hours per week. Murphy Law Firm also challenged Montana’s five year medical closure law. Fighting for ongoing medical benefits for injured workers’ and their families. Ultimately, the Court found at trial that Davis was unable to return to any substantial gainful employment, Davis was awarded life time medical benefits.
MacGillivray v. Montana State Fund, 2016 MTWCC 13
In MacGillivray, Murphy Law Firm successfully argued that the Montana State Fund was not entitled to multiple defense medical examinations. The Montana State Fund tried to force Mrs. MacGillivray to attend multiple very stressful examinations with their favorite doctors. These appointments amount to invasions of Mrs. MacGillivray constitutional right to privacy. Ultimately, the Court agreed that insurers are not allowed unfettered access to their company doctors and upheld injured workers’ rights to privacy and full legal redress.
Stavenjord v. Montana State Fund, 2003 MT 67, 314 Mont. 466, 67 P.3d 229
Murphy Law Firm challenged the constitutionality of the Occupational Disease Act, which discriminated against diseased as opposed to injured workers. The Montana Supreme agreed with Murphy Law Firm, and it held that the Occupational Disease Act violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Montana Constitution. The Supreme Court held that workers who suffer from “occupational disease” are no different than workers who suffer from an injury at work; therefore, as a result of Murphy Law Firm’s challenge, occupationally diseased workers receive the same benefits as workers who are covered by the Workers’ Compensation Act. Attorney Thomas Murphy did this groundbreaking work without receiving common fund attorney fees despite saving thousands of injured Montanans otherwise denied benefits resulting in millions of dollars in benefits to those workers.
Reesor v. Montana State Fund, 2004 MT 370, 325 Mont. 1, 103 P.3d 1019
Murphy Law Firm challenged the constitutionality of denying full workers’ compensation benefits to injured workers over the age of sixty-five. The Montana Supreme Court reversed the workers compensation court decision and found that an arbitrary age limit on permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Montana Constitution. The Court agreed with Murphy Law Firm that insurers paying more wage loss benefits to younger persons, but limiting payments to elderly workers, violates the Equal Protection Clause. Murphy Law Firm successfully changed decades of law wherein workers compensation insurers unconstitutionally denied equal benefits to elderly workers because of their age.
Satterlee v. Lumberman’s Mut. Cas. Co., 2009 MT 368, 353 Mont. 265, 222 P.3d 566
Murphy Law Firm challenged the constitutionality of the termination of permanent total disability benefits at the age of sixty-five. Murphy Law Firm argued that these injured workers would have continued working but for their career ending injury, which is very common with Montana’s hard work ethic. Murphy Law Firm championed this fight alleging age discrimination, but sadly, in a financial decision, the Montana Supreme Court upheld the law to the detriment of thousands of elderly Montana claimants. Murphy Law Firm fought against the deprivation of millions of dollars of rightful benefits to injured workers across Montana.
Parker v. Glacier Park, Inc., 249 Mont. 225, 815 P.2d 583 (1991)
Murphy Law Firm successfully argued that an injured worker was in the “course and scope” of his employment despite the fact that he had been drinking and was in a single motor vehicle accident afterwards. Murphy Law Firm proved that the injured worker had been in the course of employment, and that the worker was totally disabled as a result of his injuries. Due to the thorough investigation conducted, this case resulted in a sizeable third party claim in addition to the workers’ compensation claim.
Hensley v. Montana State Fund, WCC No. 2013-3235
Murphy Law Firm is currently arguing the constitutionality of Insurer denial of class I, permanent whole person impairments when not accompanied with wage loss. This action is currently being decided by the Montana Workers Compensation Court. If successful, this decision will result in millions of dollars of benefits to the poorest of injured workers in Montana.
Neisinger v. New Hampshire Ins. Co., 2018 MTWCC 9
Murphy Law Firm successfully argued that an insurer is not entitled to a defense medical examination with a “hired gun” doctor – a common practice in workers’ compensation claims. The WCC held that before the insurer could get a psychological DME, it must authorize an evaluation by a psychiatrist or psychologist who owes the claimant a duty of care, and who would provide treatment, if necessary.
Seminal Social Security Results
We have represented claimants at several hundred administrative law judge (ALJ) hearings, with a high percentage success rate. If the ALJ denies the claim, we routinely appeal the claim to the Appeals Council. If the case warrants, we will appeal to federal district court. See the following federal court victories.
Calder v. Saul (Case No. CV-20-56-H-SEH) filed in Montana District Court on 4/8/21
Murphy Law Firm, through attorney Charla Tadlock, appealed the final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration denying the claimant’s application for disability benefits to the federal district court. After briefing, the federal district court reversed the Social Security Administration’s decision and remanded the case for further proceedings.
Korst v. Colvin (Case No. 4:13-cv-0069-DLC-RKS) filed in Montana District Court on 8/12/13
We appealed to federal district court and obtained a remand for additional administrative proceedings. Ultimately, the case was won with an on the record favorable decision five years after the claim began. Due to our efforts, the claimant received over six years of past-due benefits.
Maynard v. Astrue (Case No. cv-12-97-GF-RKS) filed in Montana District Court on 12/4/12
We appealed the case to federal district court and argued that the ALJ decision contained legal error. The Court agreed and found that the ALJ erred in evaluating a medical opinion and remanded the case.
Cerovski v. Astrue (Case No. cv-11-39-GF-SEH) filed in Montana District Court on 5/26/11
We appealed to federal district court. Judge Haddon granted the claimant’s Motion for Summary Judgement and remanded the case for an immediate award of benefits. Ultimately, we obtained over five years of past-due benefits for the claimant.
McCrea v. Astrue (Case No. CV-08-34-GF-SHE-RKS) filed in Montana District Court on 5/14/08
We appealed to federal district court. Prior to briefing, the Social Security Administration agreed to remand the case for a new hearing. After the second hearing, the claimant received over three years of past-due benefits.
Smerker v. Barnhart (Case No. cv-05-67-GF-CSO) filed in Montana District Court on 7/12/05
We appealed the case to federal district court. We successfully argued that the ALJ erred in evaluating the claimant’s credibility and the opinions from her treating physician. The Court granted the claimant’s Motion for Summary Judgment and remanded the case for another ALJ hearing. After two ALJ hearings on the same claim, the claimant finally received her disability benefits.