Sprouse v. Turner Trucking Company

Michael Bertics

Lennon, Camak, & Bertics PLLC

Mr. Bertics is a Board Certified Workers’ Compensation specialist. He has practiced exclusively in the areas of Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability Law for his entire career. He is passionate about leveling the playing field between victims and insurance companies, and works tirelessly to ensure his clients receive fair treatment from employers.

Mr. Bertics is a recognized expert in workers’ compensation law. He is the past Chair of the N.C. Bar Workers’ Compensation Specialization Committee which is responsible for certifying attorneys in North Carolina as specialists in workers’ compensation law. He also chaired the Workers’ Compensation committee for three years and served on the committee for six. He is a frequent lecturer at workers compensation and Social Security legal education conferences and has given over 40 presentations on a wide range of subjects in workers’ compensation and Social Security law. He has substantial workers’ compensation litigation experience, trying workers’ compensation cases at all levels, from the initial hearing all the way through the North Carolina Supreme Court.  He is frequently associated as lead counsel in complex workers compensation claims by attorneys around the state.

Mr. Bertics is also a fierce advocate for the rights of the disabled with the Social Security Administration and in Federal Court. He helps disabled individuals through the frustrating process of seeking disability benefits from Social Security. He also frequently takes over cases that have been lost by other attorneys and helps disabled individuals appeal their wrongful denials to the Appeals Council and to Federal District Court.

Mr. Bertics is a native of Wake County. He lives in Raleigh, NC with his wife, Carrie, and four children. Mr. Bertics is a past-Chair of North Carolina Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service Committee tasked with helping members of the general public find attorneys who can help with all types of legal matters.

Jay A. Gervasi Jr.

Jay Gervasi, P.A.

Jay Gervasi has more than 30 years of legal experience and is a board-certified specialist in workers’ compensation through the North Carolina State Bar Board of Legal Specialization.

Gervasi graduated cum laude from Duke University in 1980, with a bachelor of science degree in zoology. After working as a medical research technician at the Duke Medical Center for a few years, he attended Vanderbilt University Law School, where he graduated in 1986 in the top 15 percent of his class. After four years of practice for business-oriented firms, in which he represented defendants and insurance companies in workers’ compensation and other personal injury claims, along with a variety of other types of matters, Gervasi “jumped the fence” in 1990 and joined a plaintiffs’ personal injury law firm in Greensboro, where he headed up the workers’ compensation practice area and worked on other personal injury cases. After 10 years at that firm, in 2000, Jay opened his own law practice, Jay Gervasi, P.A., where he remains today.

Opinion Filed June 16, 2023
Attorney for the Case Scott W. Roberts
Amicus Brief Writers Michael Bertics Jay A. Gervasi Jr.
Court NC Supreme Court
Docket No. 51A22

Plaintiff and her husband were both alleged injury injured in an accident while working for Defendant employer. Plaintiff promptly gave notice of the accident itself and of her husband’s injury, but not of her own injury. The issues in the case involved whether Plaintiff had a reasonable excuse for failing to provide notice, whether Defendant was prejudiced thereby, whether Plaintiff’s injuries were caused by the incident in question, and whether she was temporarily totally disabled for a certain timeframe as a result. The Industrial Commission found in Plaintiff’s favor, but a divided panel of the Court of Appeals reversed. The dissent contended that the majority applied an improper standard of review and reweighed the evidence rather than giving proper deference to the Industrial Commission.

NCAJ filed an amicus brief arguing that the Court of Appeals’ decision ignored the standards set forth in both the statute and the applicable case law, which firmly establish that the Industrial Commission is the sole judge of the credibility of the witnesses, and that the proper inquiry on appeal is whether the Commission’s findings are supported by competent evidence. To the contrary, the brief argues, the Court of Appeals applied de novo review. 

The Supreme Court unanimously agreed with NCAJ’s amicus brief and reversed the Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court’s opinion holds that the Industrial Commission is the proper finder of fact in worker’s compensation matters, and that its decisions are to be accorded significant deference. Because there was competent evidence to support the Commission’s findings of fact, and because these findings supported its conclusions of law, its decision should not be disturbed.