TERESA WARD, MATT KOLLER, MARTIN STEFEN & MICHAEL MISA
MICHAEL MISA Partner MSKW LAW
MATT KOLLER Partner MSKW LAW
On April 4, 2016, a team of four close-knit attorneys embarked on a new venture, one which combined three decades of California workers compensation experience, expertise, and skills under one roof.
Together, they opened Misa Stefen Koller Ward, LLP, specializing in aggressive litigation defense of workers compensation matters, representing employers and insurance companies.
Michael Misa and Matt Koller, two of the four founders, bring to the table their distinct, but complementary backgrounds, who both pride themselves on taking advantage of opportunities for early case resolution, that generate costs savings for clients.
With ten years of experience in worker’s compensation Litigation, Misa was previously a co-managing partner at a national workers compensation law firm.
He has collaborated with Fortune 500 companies, sports teams, national retail chains, small businesses and professional employer organizations in formulating strategies to eliminate risk of prospective injury and litigation. He provides an aggressive defense for his clients while simultaneously, providing creative options for expedited resolution.
He has filed Writs with the California Court of Appeals, and tried numerous cases to conclusion with excellent results. He was selected by Super Lawyers as a Southern California rising star in 2015.
Koller, from his end, brings a Bachelor’s of Business, and eight years of workers compensation litigation experience.
He has developed a well-rounded litigation style, that produces the best results for the client, from prompt settlements and file closures, to litigation of issues that need aggressive defending.
Their highly experienced partners, Martin Stefen and Teresa Ward, provide unfettered experience, knowledge and diversification to the firm.
Stefen’s experience, previously a senior workers compensation claims examiner for over 6 years, provides the firm with a wealth of knowledge from the viewpoint of litigating claims from an insurance carrier’s perspective.
He has a one of a kind litigation style that combines aggressive and creative resolutions coupled with amazing client care.
Ward specializes 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, and post termination cumulative trauma claims. Ward, along with Misa, are also particularly passionate about providing training and continuing education.
She has the perfect balance assertive claims handling with an eye for her clients bottom line.
“All four of us are very similar in personality type. We all come from different areas and backgrounds and skills. But it’s also the drive and desire to create something of our own – our own vision,” Koller explains of Misa Stefen Koller Ward.
It is so rare to find three other people who are as like-minded as myself.
MSKW has created their own unique culture, separating their firm from other traditional workers compensation defense firms. The firm overall positions itself uniquely in many ways.
“We want to develop a culture where we create a high level of customer service and responsiveness to our clients,” Koller says. One way that is achieved is through smaller caseloads, where he explains that attorneys are better able to delve into files, to litigate each issue, and comb through all of the details.
“When you have too many files, it’s hard to do that because you are bogged down in going file after file,” he notes. “We limit the file counts for our attorneys, so that we are proactive in that sense.”
Additionally, highly experienced support staff were hired for their impressive background in worker’s compensation.
“We always believed in a strong foundation, and creating that strength from within. The brand is very important to us. They have to have the right personality to fit in with us, and they have to be very experienced with a high-level skill set to adapt. It is very important to us,” Koller says. I could not have imagined a better three individuals to be on this journey with, Koller says of Misa, Stefen and Ward.
Typically, clients are any insurance carrier or any third party administrator that, in essence, writes policies for worker’s compensation for any size, any type of employer.
When those policies get implicated through a work injury or something of that nature, they retain counsel. The firm also handles self-insured clients – employers that don’t have policies, but pay out of pocket for worker’s compensation claims.
The firm litigates MPN issues, post termination and good faith personnel action defenses, AOE/COE disputes, and medical treatment disputes.
Clients come from all business sectors including Fortune 500 companies, national retailers, insurance companies, healthcare, manufacturing, food services and small to mid-level companies.
Misa Stefen Koller Ward zealously litigates cases in which fraud is suspected, or when injury is clearly not industrial in nature. They work hand in hand with SIU to prepare fraudulent cases for submission to the appropriate county District Attorney.
For Misa, it’s not just that the firm offers clients a diligent team, and personalized service, but it’s important to develop a deep trust, and deference between colleagues, peers and clients.
“When you respect each other to a high level, nothing comes between you. We are a family and we treat our staff and attorneys as family.” added Misa.
“Every step we have taken has been collaborative. Each partner and associate in our firm excels in different ways. We respect each other’s skill sets and constantly learn from one another. Every member in our firm, attorney and staff, work to the top of our abilities, and the results are incredible.”
That, he adds, has left such an indelible impression among those who have retained the firm as counsel.
“When we decided to create our firm, the purpose was to create more than just a business. “We have nothing but the highest expectations for ourselves and strive to give our clients the very best level of service.”
Making their vision a reality has been a dream come true.
Dave Gordon has penned more than a thousand articles, and more than five hundred editorials, on every topic imaginable. He writes regularly on domestic and international politics, current events, culture, relationship issues, and much more.
He has spent time in the newsrooms of the Toronto Sun, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Baltimore Sun, National Post and eye Weekly.
Specializing in Workers Compensation Insurance Defense
MISA STEFEN KOLLER WARD LLP
18141 BEACH BLVD. SUITE 290 •
HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA