Wendy S. Smith is the Chair of the Northeast Workers’ Compensation Department. Wendy is responsible for defending insurance carriers, self-insured entities and third-party administrators in workers’ compensation, general liability and subrogation matters in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. Wendy’s mission is outstanding client-service and strives for the highest standards in legal work. She provides legal counseling and representation to local and national businesses, servicing the following industries: financial institutions and insurance companies in the construction, health care, retail, food and beverage, hospitality, staffing agencies, manufacturing and transportation. In 2016, Wendy prevailed in a four-day trial involving a slip and fall at an apartment complex. The plaintiff walked outside in a freezing rain storm and claimed the complex was negligent in failing to put down salt. The plaintiff’s demand was $675,000 right before trial, and the jury took less than an hour to deliberate and return with a defense verdict. In 2018, Wendy co-chaired a 3-day trial commencing in a defense verdict on August 16, 2018. The case involved a slip and fall at an apartment complex, involving a sympathetic plaintiff with multiple pre-existing conditions. Plaintiff’s demand was $400,000; although there were a number of issues surrounding the circumstances of the alleged fall. The jury returned with a defense verdict in less than 2 hours.
Wendy is experienced in all levels of workers’ compensation matters, from higher volume, routine injuries to complex cases involving unique medical, legal or factual circumstances. Wendy previously obtained a Decision and Order terminating workers’ compensation benefits of an employee who was convicted of stealing from his employer, a large nationally-based family business. The case involved an employee who had two accepted work injuries; however, while out on workers’ compensation, the employee was charged and convicted of operating a criminal ring with fellow employees by selling stolen goods to an outside vendor. These criminal activities had been going on for years and continued while the employee was receiving workers’ compensation. The employee was incarcerated for 18 months for conspiracy, theft, receiving stolen property, tampering with records, and unlawful use of a computer related to the theft and sale of more than $573,000 worth of the employer’s products. While incarcerated his benefits were suspended; however, despite the criminal restitution he owed, his workers’ compensation benefits had to be reinstated by law. After length rounds of litigation, the workers’ compensation judge found the former employee was not credible on the issue of ongoing disability as he was performing his illegal activities while he was working and when he was collecting workers’ compensation. The judge found the former employee had fully recovered from both workers’ compensation injuries and terminated his benefits.
By partnering with her client’s business models and goals, she is able to provide a unique approach to creating risk management strategies and alternative dispute resolution options to prevent litigation, reduce clients’ legal costs and financial exposure.
- CLM Annual Conference – Presented “The Uphill Battle in the War on Drugs: Navigating an Attack on the Opioid Minefield,” March 15, 2018.
- High Court: No Reimbursement to Employers for Overturned Attorney Fee Awards, January 19, 2018.
- Featured in the Philadelphia Legal Intelligencer’s Women in the Profession Special Section, April 2014 publication of “Women’s Round Table,” April 29, 2014.
- “Measuring the Pain Away in Workers’ Compensation Cases,” ABS “TIPS” Workers’ Compensation and Employer Liability Law Committee Journal, Summer 2013.
- “The New Age of Surveillance and Investigative Tools in Workers’ Compensation Claims,” ABS “TIPS” Workers’ Compensation and Employer Liability Law Committee Journal, Spring 2012.
- “PA: Late Answers By Uninsured Employers – Are They Binding?” ABS “TIPS” Workers’ Compensation and Employer Liability Law Committee Journal, Fall 2011/Winter 2012.
- “Building a Workers’ Compensation Defense Arsenal in a World of Mistrust,” Pennsylvania Self-Insurers’ Association November 2009 Newsletter and ABS “TIPS” Workers’ Compensation and Employer Liability Law Committee Journal, Spring 2010. (Co-author)
- “The Illegal Employee in the World of Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation,”ABS “TIPS” Workers’ Compensation and Employer’s Liability Law Committee Journal, Summer 2008. (Co-author)
- “Let’s Make a Deal: Smart Tips for Negotiating Your Workers’ Compensation Claim,” Pennsylvania Self-Insurers’ Association January 2008 Newsletter. (author)
- Where Parties Have Agreed to State Governing Law?” Mealey’s Reinsurance Litigation Report, July 7, 2005 (research assistant).
Selected Reported Cases
- Whitfield IRE Retroactive Case 6.6.18
- Quality Care Options v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 57 A.3d 655 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2012).
- Righter v. W.C.A.B. (Righter Parking), 141 A.3d 628 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2016).
- New York
- New Jersey
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania
Honors and Professional Activities
- Presenting at the 2019 CLM Annual Workers Compensation Conference, May 21-23, 2019; “#RiskManagementIsWatchingYou: Tweeting, Hashtagging, and SnapChatting Through the Trove of Social Media Avenues.”
- Presented at the 2018 CLM Annual Conference; March 14-16, 2018; “The Uphill Battle in the War on Drugs: Navigating an Attack on the Opioid Minefield.”
- In 2012, Wendy was named one of Pennsylvania’s “Lawyers on the Fast Track” by The Legal Intelligencer, a designation given to only 35 lawyers throughout the Commonwealth under the age of 40 determined to have influenced the legal community based on their development of the law, commitment to the community, and service to the Bar.
- In 2014, Wendy received the Philadelphia Bar Foundation’s Crystal Award in recognition of her contributions to the Foundation.
- In 2012, 2013, and 2014, Wendy was recognized by the publisher of the Pennsylvania edition of Super Lawyers magazine as a “Rising Star,” an honor given to the top 2.5 percent of attorneys in the Commonwealth who are 40 years old or younger or in practice for 10 years or less. In 2015, 2016, and 2017, Wendy was named as a “Super Lawyer” in the Pennsylvania edition of Super Lawyers.
- In 2014 Wendy’s Board Observer Program won the National Council of Bar Foundations/Lexis Nexis Partnerships for Success Award as the best Bar Foundation Program in the Country.
- Speaker on June 15, 2015, “Nonprofit Startups: Guiding a Nonprofit from Idea to Reality,” Philadelphia Bar Association.
Areas of Practice
- Insurance Law & Defense
- Workers’ Compensation
- Philadelphia Bar Association
- Co-Chair of the Philadelphia Bar Foundation/Young Lawyers Division Board Observer Program
- Secretary, Board of Director of Dignity Housing
- Advisory Board Member of Asian American Women’s Coalition
- Preside as a judge of the John S. Bradway Philadelphia High School Mock Trial Competition
- Certified Arbitrator of the Philadelphia Bar Association,
- Philadelphia County Judge Pro Tem
- Member of the Asian American Bar Association
- Member of the Alexander F. Barbieri Workers’ Compensation Inn of Court
- The Philadelphia Young Lawyers Division Andrew Hamilton Circle
- Roger Williams University School of Law, J.D., 2005
- Albright College, B.S., 1999