Specializing in Workers Compensation Insurance Defense

 

PRACTICE

AREAS

We serve the following WCAB venues :
Anaheim
Long Beach
Los Angeles
Marina Del Rey
San Bernardino
San Diego
Santa Ana
Pomona
Oxnard
Riverside
Van Nuys
LITIGATION

 

We specialize in aggressive litigation defense of workers compensation matters while taking advantage of opportunities for early case resolution which generate costs savings for our clients.

BUSINESS

 

Our clients come from all business sectors including Fortune 500 companies, national retailers, insurance companies, healthcare, manufacturing, food services and small to mid-level companies.  

CALIFORNIA WORKERS COMPENSATION AND EMPLOYMENT LAW

 

Our firm diligently ligitates MPN issues, post termination and good faith personnel action defenses, AOE/COE disputes, and medical  treatment disputes.

 

Our attorneys are also well versed in the defense of California Labor Code 132a and Serious and Willful Misconduct issues. 

FRAUD

 

We zealously litigate cases in which fraud is suspected or when injury is clearly not industrial in nature.  We work hand in hand with SIU to prepare fraudulent cases for submission to the appropriate county District Attorney.

OUR VISION

Misa Stefen Koller Ward, LLP, was founded by four attorneys with over 40 years of combined California workers compensation experience.  We are passionate about and dedicated to our clients, which shows in the handling of our clients' cases.  We know that our clients deserve the highest level of customer service and responsiveness.   As a smaller firm, we believe smaller caseloads allow our attorneys to be proactive rather than reactive: resulting in cases moving to closure faster, which yields cost savings for our clients. 

We created a law firm that is more than just a business. It is a long term commitment and relationship with our clients and their business partners.  We are a law firm of attorneys who practice with honesty, integrity and transparency.  We have the highest expectations for ourselves and want to give our clients the same level of service we expect to receive.  
 

At Misa Stefen Koller Ward, LLP, we are a family and we treat our staff and attorneys as family.  Our employees deserve the same respect, appreciation and responsiveness we provide our clients.   

 

"The level of our success is only limited by our imagination and no act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted." - Aesop

 

OUR ATTORNEYS

Michael Misa
FOUNDING PARTNER

Tel: 714-406-7489

mmisa@mskwlaw.com

MARTIN W. STEFEN
FOUNDING PARTNER

Tel: 714-400-1261

mwstefen@mskwlaw.com

TERESA WARD
FOUNDING PARTNER

Hello, I am a very proud founding partner of MSKW, LLP. I received my bachelor's degree from the University of California, San Diego in the area of Religious Studies and my Juris Doctorate from California Western School of Law. I have been a member of the California State Bar since December 2005. I began practicing Worker’s Compensation Defense in 2008. Since then, dedicated my practice exclusively to the field of Workers' Compensation and, throughout my career, have gained vast experience in defending -- from inception to appeal up to even the California Supreme Court -- all aspects of Workers' Compensation, including 132a and Serious and Willful Misconduct Actions. I believe I have a uniquely aggressive and enthusiastic approach in defending my cases, but my vision is never overshadowed by the objective of bringing closure to cases to my clients' highest satisfaction. Over time I have become specialized in representation of matters involving affirmative defenses of psychiatric claims and perfecting a Rolda defense, asserting the Going and Coming rule and overcoming the exceptions, Post Termination Cumulative Traumas and much more. I am also particularly passionate about providing training and continuing education.

 

Outside of work my family is my rock.  My husband, Cris, and I have two daughters, Emma and August. They keep me balanced and full of joy and challenge me to learn every day. The time not spent at work is spent running, hiking, hanging out at Camp Snoopy at Knott’s Berry farm, BBQing with friends and stealing dates with Cris. I have climbed Mt Whitney, backpacked through California, skied and rock climbed Utah, Pontooned and Cliff dove through Arizona and zealously devoured everything in the entire Bravo TV collection with the occasional dive into ABC’s the Bachleor to round out my questionable taste in television.

 

I appreciate the opportunity to work with you.

 

Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.” ~Rumi

 

Tel: 714-406-7488

tward@mskwlaw.com

 

   OUR ATTORNEYS   

Michael Misa
FOUNDING PARTNER

Tel: 714-406-7489

mmisa@mskwlaw.com

I am so proud to be a founding partner of Misa Stefen Koller and Ward, LLP.   At MSKW, we share a common goal: to achieve impeccable results for our clients, while simultaneously creating a family work environment for those who join our firm. 

 

I take great pride in seeing the accelerated growth of our senior associates and making every effort to enhance the skill sets of our senior associates, while simultaneously learning from them.  One of my favorite words is COLLABORATION.  Collaborating with your peers and clients expedites any process and, in my experience, produces the best results for our clients.

 

Prior to founding MSKW, I was a co-managing partner at a national workers compensation law firm. I provide an aggressive defense for my clients and believe in working quickly to move files to conclusion.  I have filed Writs with the California Court of Appeals and tried numerous cases to conclusion with excellent results.

 

During my free time, I enjoy spending time with friends and family, eating delicious food, watching/playing sports, traveling the world, and most importantly, spending quality time with the love of my life...my amazing, beautiful wife, Julie. 

Martin W. Stefen
FOUNDING PARTNER

Tel: 714-400-1261

mwstefen@mskwlaw.com

I am a Workers Compensation Defense Attorney with over 17 years of California workers compensation experience between the practice of law and claims administration.  I am proud to be a founding partner of MSKW. Prior to becoming an attorney, I was a senior workers compensation claims examiner for over 6 years. Based on my experience level and litigation results, I have been chosen as a panel attorney for multiple Fortune 500 companies. Large corporations have substantial reserves allocated for their California workers compensation claims.  As a defense attorney, I focus on mitigating claims exposure by moving the cases to finalization as quickly as possible. This is done by effective file management, collaboration with the claims team and employer, and aggressive pursuit of case closure through litigation and/or preemptive resolution. 

 

Outside of work, my passion is my family.  I am married to my amazing wife, Theary, and have two incredible children, Maia and Joshua.  Over the last 10 years, I have become a master Lego builder, Play Doh sculptor, and enjoy spending Saturdays watching them play soccer and basketball.

Matt Koller
FOUNDING PARTNER

Tel: 714-406-7491

mkoller@mskwlaw.com

Family is extremely important here and just like our culture at MSKW, we welcome our clients into our growing family. Throughout practice, I have developed a well-rounded litigation style that will produce the best results for our client from prompt settlements and file closures to litigation of issues that need aggressive defending. I pride myself on being quick to respond to all clients and providing prompt updates.

 

My undergraduate work was completed at The University of San Diego where I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Business. I had the amazing opportunity to play college football under the great quarterback and coach Jim Harbaugh, where we took home 2 conference championships. I truly enjoyed channeling my competitive nature on field, in the class room and today, in the court room for my clients. I was honored to graduate as valedictorian at Western State College of Law in Fullerton California. I have been practicing in the area of worker’s compensation defense since graduating in 2011.

 

Outside of work, I love spending time with my wife, Jill, our endlessly energetic sons, Nolan, Brycen, our newborn, Hadley, and our ridiculously cute dog, Lexi (yeah it’s a Full House over here!). I am a borderline fitness fanatic and with a little help from caffeine, get to the gym daily before the sun rises. My wife tells me this doesn’t help my caffeine addiction and I agree, but I know my discipline helps me be able to spend more time with my family and helps justify my peanut butter obsession.

 

In practice and in life I believe that Arthur Ashe said it best: “Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome”

Teresa Ward
FOUNDING PARTNER

Tel: 714-406-7488

tward@mskwlaw.com

Hello, I am a very proud founding partner of MSKW, LLP. I received my bachelor's degree from the University of California, San Diego, in the area of Religious Studies and my Juris Doctorate from California Western School of Law. I have been a member of the California State Bar since December 2005. I began practicing Worker’s Compensation Defense in 2008. Since then, I have dedicated my practice exclusively to the field of Workers' Compensation and, throughout my career, have gained vast experience in defending -- from inception to appeal up to even the California Supreme Court -- all aspects of Workers' Compensation, including 132a and Serious and Willful Misconduct Actions. I believe I have a uniquely aggressive and enthusiastic approach in defending my cases, but my vision is never overshadowed by the objective of bringing closure to cases to my clients' highest satisfaction. Over time I have become specialized in representation of matters involving affirmative defenses of psychiatric claims and perfecting a Rolda defense, asserting the Going and Coming rule and overcoming the exceptions, Post Termination Cumulative Traumas and much more. I am also particularly passionate about providing training and continuing education.

 

Outside of work my family is my rock.  My husband, Cris, and I have two daughters, Emma and August. They keep me balanced and full of joy and challenge me to learn every day. The time not spent at work is spent running, hiking, hanging out at Camp Snoopy at Knott’s Berry farm, BBQing with friends and stealing dates with Cris. I have climbed Mt Whitney, backpacked through California, skied and rock climbed Utah, Pontooned and Cliff dove through Arizona and zealously devoured everything in the entire Bravo TV collection with the occasional dive into ABC’s the Bachleor to round out my questionable taste in television.

 

I appreciate the opportunity to work with you.

 

Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.” ~Rumi

Adam Lee

SENIOR ATTORNEY

Tel: 714-818-2383

I joined the MSKW family in January of 2017, bringing with me over six years of experience as a workers’ compensation defense attorney.  I’ve represented insurance carriers, self-insureds, and CIGA in all aspects of Workers’ Compensation.  I pride myself on prompt and productive communication with clients, which I believe is the cornerstone of my tenacious and effective representation.  

 

I earned my Bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Colorado and my Juris Doctorate from Southewestern University School of Law.  While at Southwestern, I was a Lead Article Editor of the Southwestern Journal of International Law and I interned as a Certified Law Student conducting dozens of preliminary hearings with the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.

 

When not in the office, I enjoy watching sports, playing basketball, barbecuing with family and friends, and backpacking into the wilderness with my wife, Alexey.  The best night’s sleep one can have is in a tent in the middle of the woods. Just make sure you have a reliable sleeping pad.

     Kristen Shapiro

      SENIOR ATTORNEY

       Tel: 714-580-3144

 kshapiro@mskwlaw.com

Kristen Shapiro is a Senior Attorney with several years of Workers’ Compensation litigation experience. Ms. Shapiro has experience working at both a large national Workers’ Compensation litigation firm and at a Southern California boutique law firm, prior to coming on board with MSKW, LLP. With a background in criminal law as a prosecutor for both Orange County and Ventura County, Ms. Shapiro is no stranger to the court room and has a strong background in pre-trial litigation and trial work. Ms. Shapiro received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Irvine in Political Science with an emphasis on pre-law and her Juris Doctorate from the University of California, Davis. Kristen has experience handling a wide variety of Worker’s Compensation claims including death claims, life pension claims, post-termination claims, AOE/COE cases, contribution issues and liens. Her experience as a prosecutor gave her a keen eye for fraudulent claims that are unfortunately part of the Workers’ Compensation system. Ms. Shapiro's experience as a panel attorney for large national employers and retailers sharpened her understanding of the needs and expectations of her clients. She’s had tremendous success in obtaining orders dismissing cases, as well as dismissal of her clients as party defendants. She prides herself in regularly bringing files to resolution on an expedited basis, all while limiting exposure and litigation costs for her clients.

 

Kristen, a newly wed, enjoys spending time with her husband Alex and their rescue cat “W”. Both are avid travelers, having traveled to China, Spain, the Caribbean, Mexico, Fiji and a number of domestic destinations. Aside from her love for travel and animals, Kristen is also an avid reader, averaging about fifty books a year. Kristen is very family oriented after being brought up within a large extended family, with over a dozen aunts, uncles and cousins. As a classically trained singer and song writer, she understands the need for collaboration so a group can hit the perfect note. Kristen could not be more excited to lend her voice to MSKW, LLP on this amazing new journey and contribute to their passion for achieving justice, aggressive defense, fast file closures and a family minded work environment.

Pegah Taghdiri

      SENIOR ATTORNEY

       Tel: 714-818-3611

 ptaghdiri@mskwlaw.com

I join the MSKW team with extensive workers compensation experience, defending insurance carriers, third party administrators, and self-insureds. I believe in effective communication, strong analytic skills, and resolving cases expeditiously, while limiting exposure and litigation costs for my clients. I went to UCLA where I obtained my Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, and received my Juris Doctorate from Chapman University School of Law. During law school, I interned at the City Attorney’s Office and participated in the Domestic Violence Clinic, where I learned how to apply the law in practice and advocacy.

Outside the office, I love to spend time in nature, whether hiking mountains, going to the beach, or having unplanned adventures with my amazing husband and our two rescue puppies, Benji and Satie. One of my favorite things to do is experience new places, cultures and countries, and I have recently traveled to Australia, Croatia, New Zealand, Aruba, and Italy. I am passionate about fitness, meditation, and overall wellness and aim to achieve balance in my everyday life. This could mean spending quality time at home or with family and friends, going to music concerts, trying new local restaurants, or sometimes sky diving, bungee jumping, and cliff diving (sorry mom).

I am excited to continue this adventure with the MSKW team and to provide an aggressive, efficient, and tailored defense for all my clients.

Zain B. Khan

      SENIOR ATTORNEY

       Tel: 714-831-9915

   zkhan@mskwlaw.com

Zain Khan is very excited to join the MSKW team.  Mr. Khan is dedicated to providing zealous representation and delivering the highest level of service.

 

Mr. Khan began his legal career at a prominent Applicant Attorney firm representing workers’ compensation applicants and medical providers.  Shortly after, Mr. Khan worked as an Associate Attorney at one of the largest workers compensation defense firms in the country.  Mr. Khan has been practicing workers compensation defense for over 7 years and has achieved remarkable success in all phases of Workers Compensation litigation.  Mr. Khan’s knowledge in case law and the Labor Code led to great success in numerous Trials, including, 2 complete take nothings, on case-in-chief cases, and several complete take nothings in Lien Trials.

 

Before becoming an attorney, Mr. Khan had aspirations of working in law enforcement.  Mr. Khan worked as a cadet for the police department while studying Criminology at UC Irvine.  After graduating from undergrad, Mr. Khan began working for the US Investigation Services and became one of the youngest Special Investigators.  Mr. Khan was also granted one of the highest Top Secret clearance levels for almost 3 years.  While working at US Investigations, Mr. Khan took the LSATs and was offered a scholarship to attend Loyola Law School.  Although leaving investigations was a difficult decision, Mr. Khan is glad he made the decision and absolutely loves being an attorney.  Mr. Khan ultimately graduated from Loyola Law School in 2008 and began working in workers’ compensation shortly after graduating.

 

Outside of work, Mr. Khan enjoys spending time with his beautiful and supportive wife and their three children.  He loves eating out and discovering new places to eat.  Mr. Khan is also an avid boxing fan and has been ever since he saw Mike Tyson fight Michael Spinks when he was 8 years old.  He feels every other sport absolutely pales in comparison (especially MMA). 

Robert Mummert

      SENIOR ATTORNEY

Prior to joining MSKW, LLP, Robert had over six years of workers’ compensation defense experience.  He has extensive trial experience and has obtained numerous favorable decisions for clients.  However, he believes the best claim defense starts before one is filed.  He works closely with employers on instituting “best practices” to position future claims for the strongest defense achievable and educates on pitfalls in the California Labor Code.

Robert graduated valedictorian of his class at Western State College of Law in Fullerton, California.  During law school he served as a judicial clerk for the Honorable Nancy Wieben-Stock and was published by Law Review.  He received his bachelor’s degree from University of California, Riverside in Political Science/Administrative Studies. 

When not working, Robert enjoys spending time with his family—his beautiful wife, Megan, and their mischievous cat, Nightwish.  Robert’s hobbies include learning to cook, hiking, and lawn maintenance (AKA golf). 

       Tel: 714-414-7583

  rmummert@mskwlaw.com

Ryan Kayrell

      SENIOR ATTORNEY

       Tel: 714-951-5879

  rkayrell@mskwlaw.com

Mr. Ryan Kayrell is a Senior Associate Attorney at MSKW.

Ryan graduated from the University of Southern California in 2005 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a minor in Communications, Law, and Media Policy. While at USC, Ryan was an active member of the University of Southern California Trojan Marching Band. He then attended Whittier Law School, graduating cum laude in 2008. At Whittier, Ryan was a member of the Trial Advocacy Honors Board, where he began to develop the litigation skills which are the foundation of his practice.

Since becoming an attorney in 2008, Mr. Kayrell's practice has focused almost exclusively on workers' compensation defense. With this experience, he has developed trusting relationships with his clients. The cornerstone of these relationships is excellent communication which ultimately leads to better results. .

Mr. Kayrell is a member of the Orange County Bar Association, and is admitted to practice in all California jurisdictions. He is married with two wonderful children.   

Rommel J. Rosales

      SENIOR ATTORNEY

       Tel: 714-951-2158

  rrosales@mskwlaw.com

Rommel brings with him several years of workers’ compensation defense experience to the MSKW family.  Since 2014, Rommel has been aggressively handling the defense of workers’ compensation claims on behalf of insurance companies, third-party administrators, self-insureds, and employers.  Rommel has been successful in all stages of the defense of workers’ compensation claims.  One of Rommel’s proudest achievements was obtaining a take nothing at an AOE/COE Trial, saving his client from paying any expenses for continued discovery and litigation.  Rommel prides himself on providing effective, thorough, and timely communications, information, legal advice, and analysis to his clients.

 

Rommel obtained his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Irvine in Political Science and graduated with honors.  Also, Rommel received his Juris Doctorate from Chapman University School of Law with an emphasis in Advocacy and Dispute Resolution.  While at Chapman, Rommel was a member of the Appellate Moot Court Honor Board and competed in the UCLA Cybercrime Competition in 2013.  Also, Rommel was heavily involved in the law school’s Mediation Clinic, where he mediated various matters, including civil harassment restraining order cases, insurance and creditor-debtor claims, personal injury cases, unlawful detainers, contract disputes, and trial de novo cases.

 

When he’s not working, Rommel devotes his time to his amazing wife, Adi, and their newborn daughter, Amelia.  Rommel also enjoys watching basketball and football, playing the guitar and piano, working out, and traveling.  Some of Rommel’s guilty pleasures include hanging out at Disneyland with his family, binge watching Friends and How I Met Your Mother, and indulging in donuts and pies.

Alan Sagherian

      SENIOR ATTORNEY

       Tel: 657-400-6285

  asagherian@mskwlaw.com

We all have ups and downs, but I think that a fresh perspective can really minimize the downs and maximize the ups, and I try to bring that positivity to the workplace.  Just because we call it “work” does not mean that it must be work. 

 

I was born and raised in Los Angeles, where I graduated from UCLA with a degree in History for my undergraduate education before graduating from Loyola Law School.

I have been defending Workers’ Compensation claims since 2011, and I instantly felt that the industry was a good fit for my personality and willingness to work with others.  Frequently the most effective defense of a claim will rely on relationships between attorneys, Judges, secretaries, really everyone involved in a case, and I have used my irresistible charm to effectuate results for my clients, from quick closures to aggressive litigation, where warranted. 

 

I have spent a significant amount of time defending complicated continuous trauma claims with multiple employers and carriers, which has resulted in keen analytical skills for those types of claims, and increased scrutiny for more straightforward claims. 

 

I believe that balance and perspective are critical aspects for a successful existence, both inside and outside the office.  To that end, I spend a lot of my free time playing guitar, trying to live out my dreams of being a heavy metal superstar (albeit in a part-time capacity).  Other than that, I take advantage of the amazing Southern California climate by getting to the beach as often as possible in the summer, and going snowboarding as often as possible in the winter.  

Katie Rooney

      SENIOR ATTORNEY

Katie’s been a fixture on the work comp scene since 2004 providing defenses to various clients including professional sports teams, TPAs and school districts. After managing an Orange County office for three years,  she will be heading back to her home board in San Diego.

In her spare time, she enjoys daily beach walks with her yellow lab Carmine, and staying local to the Encinitas beach community with her boyfriend and their three dogs.

She’s been known to dabble in the occasional endurance event, competing in numerous marathons, half marathons, and triathlons including Ironman.

When not beaching, exercising or hanging out with the dogs, you’ll usually catch Katie with a book in hand and an ever-growing Amazon book list.

       Tel: 619-990-1618

  krooney@mskwlaw.com

Felicia Flahive

Senior Attorney

     Tel: 714-230-5386

  fflahive@mskwlaw.com

Felicia L. Flahive is a senior attorney at MSKW. Prior to exclusively practicing in the field of workers’ compensation, she practiced civil litigation defense. Her legal experience has made her well versed in all stages of litigation and case management. She now handles all aspects of workers’ compensation defense litigation, representing insurance carriers, third-party administrators, and self-insured employers. Felicia prides herself on punctual and efficient communication with clients in order to resolve cases expeditiously.

 

Felicia graduated from California State University of Fullerton with a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice. She earned her Juris Doctor degree from New England School of Law where she graduated at the top of her class and served as an executive editor of the New England Law Review. 

 

Outside of work, Felicia enjoys playing tennis, listening to music, and traveling with her husband, Ryan. She is passionate about exploring new countries and immersing herself in the various cultures.

Jessica Cha

      SENIOR ATTORNEY

     Tel: 714-890-2045

  jcha@mskwlaw.com

I join the MSKW team with extensive workers’ compensation and civil litigation experience.  I received my Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in Cognitive Psychology from the University of California, Irvine, and my Juris Doctorate from Western State College of Law.  I have interned at both the Los Angeles and Riverside City Attorneys’ Offices, and have litigated civil lawsuits in business, real estate, and employment. 

 

I have spent much of my practice in workers’ compensation defense, working with insurance carriers, third party administrators, and self-insured employers. I have represented both large national employers and small businesses, and have worked closely with them to develop and institute policies and procedures on how to prevent claims and the measures to take when one is filed.  I believe that effective communication and sharp analytic skills can resolve most issues, and attempt to resolve cases expeditiously, while limiting exposure and litigation costs for my clients.

 

Outside the office, I love being active, traveling, and cooking.  Whether it’s chasing the next PR, or scouring the internet for the next adventure, I embrace the challenge and the process to getting to the goal.  I look forward to this adventure with the MSKW team and am excited for the opportunity to work with you.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

01

MSKW Quarterly Newsletter

How to Defend Against the Psyche Catastrophic Injury Exception

How to Combat Increased Impairment per the Kite Case

10 Negotiation and Litigation Strategies

02

MSKW Case Results

69% firm wide case closure rate since 04/04/2016 to present

MSKW TRIAL "W's"

 
 

CONTACT

MSKW, LLP

OUR ADDRESS

13950 Milton Avenue, Suite 200A

Westminster, CA 92683​

Email: info@mskwlaw.com

Tel:  714-625-8566

Fax: 714-855-1241

For any general inquiries, please fill in the following contact form:

© 2020 by MSKW, LLP. 

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