RTGR Law LLP | Office Locations
510.338.3166   510.338.3167

Our Team

Expert, passionate and dedicated

William J. Armstrong | Senior Partner

William J. Armstrong | Senior Partner

Bill Armstrong is the Senior Partner of RTGR Law LLP and was founder of Armstrong Law Firm. He is one of California’s leading experts in Workers’ Compensation defense, employment counseling when work injuries implicate ADA/FEHA/FMLA issues, and Health and Safety compliance. For many years, Bill’s practice has focused on the most complex matters, especially those requiring the defense and management of employment discrimination risks which generate from work injury claims and issues. During his career, Bill has successfully represented his clients in high profile litigation from California to Ireland.

Throughout his career, Bill has been an invited speaker for numerous associations and businesses, and has written extensively on matters involving workers’ compensation, toxic chemicals, and employment law. He is also a former member of the State Bar of California Workers’ Compensation Law Advisory Commission and a frequent presenter for the California State Bar Workers’ Compensation Section, the California Applicant’s Attorneys Association, and the California Workers’ Compensation Defense Attorneys’ Association. In addition to the practice of law, Bill has worked extensively in assisting employer groups with the drafting, analysis, and improvement of legislation.

Since its inception in the Spring of 2000, San Jose Magazine has annually included Bill as the only Workers’ Compensation defense attorney in their selection of the “Top Lawyers in Silicon Valley.” In addition, Bill has, for many years, been selected for inclusion in the Best Lawyers in America and Corporate Counsel Best Lawyers in Workers’ Compensation. Most recently, Bill was recognized in Martindale-Hubbell for achieving 25 consecutive years at their highest AV rating for legal ability and ethical standards, as evaluated by his peers.

Bill received his J.D. from McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific, Sacramento in 1975 and his Bachelor of Arts from the University of the Pacific, Stockton, cum laude in 1971.

Abigail Balsz | Attorney

Abigail Balsz | Attorney

Abigail Balsz is an Associate Attorney in the greater Los Angeles area. She has appeared before the Workers Compensation Appeals Board at locations throughout Southern California and has substantial experience with legal research and writing, conducting depositions and shepherding cases to closure.

Abigail received her Juris Doctor from Pepperdine University School of Law with a certificate in Alternative Dispute Resolution. She was a member of the Student Bar Association and the Moot Court Board during her last year of law school. Abigail earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Chapman University. There, she was an active member of the pre-law fraternity on campus.

In her free time, Abigail enjoys watching documentaries, wine tasting, and hanging out with her two well-fed cats

John S. Bissett  |  Attorney

John S. Bissett | Attorney

John Bissett is an associate attorney serving the greater Sacramento area.  He is  experienced in trial preparation, legal research, and representing public agencies in civil litigation.

John Bissett earned his Juris Doctor from the University of California, Irvine School of Law, where he served as President of the Entertainment Law Society for two years.  During his tenure, he organized the 2015 student-run symposium “Bridging a Troubled Stream: Legal Issues at the Nexus of Entertainment and Technology.”

John graduated from University of California, Santa Cruz with a Bachelor’s degree in Music and a Master’s degree in Musicology, with a focus on Italian film music.  As a professional musician and trombonist, John has performed with many groups in a variety of venues around the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and elsewhere, including the Monterey Bay Jazz Festival and Carnegie Hall.  John enjoys hiking, film, and animation, and he continues to play, write, and record music today.

 

Sara A. Bushman  |  Attorney

Sara A. Bushman | Attorney

Sara Bushman is an associate attorney who has appeared before Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board locations throughout Northern California. She has litigated and settled numerous claims, won trials and handled appeals. She counsels clients, including public agency employers, on issues such as AOE/COE, Labor Code section 4850 benefits, safety officer presumptions, and CalPERS retirements.

Sara earned her Juris Doctor from the University of San Francisco School of Law, where she also earned a certificate in Public Interest Law. She was a member of the Moot Court Program, holding a board seat during her last year. Sara graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. Sara enjoys traveling, doing yoga, eating great food, and reading books.

Toni Coaston | Attorney

Toni Coaston | Attorney

Toni Coaston is an associate attorney who has appeared often in front of the Worker’s Compensation Appeals Board. She has experience litigating claims, negotiating settlements, and conducting depositions.

 

Toni received her Juris Doctor degree from the Santa Clara University School of Law. She graduated from Louisiana State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Philosophy. In her free time, Toni enjoys reading comic books and spending time with her family.

Karen A. Course | Partner

Karen A. Course | Partner

With over 20 years experience as a Workers’ Compensation defense attorney, Karen’s practice has encompassed a wide variety of challenging cases. She has represented self-insured employers as well as insurance carriers in both Northern and Southern California. She has become expert at defending claims unique to public agencies and school districts.

She handles complex cases from inception through post trial, including appellate briefings. She has successfully defended employers against both Labor Code Section 132(a) claims and Serious and Willful Misconduct claims.

Karen received her Juris Doctor degree from Golden Gate University and is graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a Bachelor of Arts.

Owen C. Fennern  |  Attorney

Owen C. Fennern | Attorney

Owen’s practice focuses on the defense of Workers’ Compensation matters, in which he defends carriers, self-insured entities, and employers from a broad spectrum of industries. He counsels clients on issues such as AOE/COE, benefits propriety, and Return to Work, and is involved in all phases of litigation.

Owen’s experience includes several years of civil employment litigation at a major law firm where he represented employers in state and federal courts in cases involving discrimination, breach of contract, and trade secret misappropriation.

Unique to Owen is his ability to relate to claims at a personal level as he was a workers’ compensation claims examiner for over four years at a major California insurance company, affording him a deep appreciation of the claims process. This experience supplements his exemplary legal writing, advocacy skills, negotiation insights, and overall litigation know-how both in and out of the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board.

Owen was awarded his Juris Doctor degree from Santa Clara University School of Law, where he served as a research editor for the Santa Clara Law Review. He graduated summa cum laude (top 2% of graduating class) and was inducted into the Order of the Coif, an honor society for law school graduates.

He earned a B.A. in Economics from San Jose State University, after studying abroad at Swansea University in Wales.

Owen is admitted to practice in all California courts, as well as the federal United States District Court, Northern District of California. He is a member of the State Bar of California, Diablo Valley Industrial Claims Association (DVICA), and the Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC).

Daniel E. Graves | Partner

Daniel E. Graves | Partner

Dan Graves, a partner at RTGR Law LLP, has expertise in ensuring compliance with Workers’ Compensation policies and has successfully tried a wide variety of cases at the WCAB, OAH and other agencies. He is a Certified Specialist by State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization and has successfully defended employers against Labor Code 132(a) claims.

Dan frequently provides technical assistance to his clients through in person trainings where his clients benefit from the most up-to-date legal information, including FEHA/ADA compliance tactics, safety officer IDR appeals and leaves of absence management.

Dan holds a Juris Doctor degree and Tax Concentration Certificate from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. He was also a member of Hastings’ Constitutional Law Quarterly. He graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. Dan enjoys golf and is one of the few remaining Oakland A’s fans.

Kia E. Myers Holsey  |  Attorney

Kia E. Myers Holsey | Attorney

Kia’s practice focuses on the defense of Workers’ Compensation matters, including discrimination claims and serious and willful misconduct claims. She has extensive experience in Workers’ Compensation, having worked in larger statewide law firms for several years.

Kia’s experience also includes several years of civil employment litigation at a boutique law firm where she represented a large corporate employer in state and federal courts in employment discrimination cases, as well as EEOC and DFEH investigations.

Prior to attending law school, Ms. Myers Holsey was a police officer for 10 years. She worked various positions including Patrol Officer and Hostage Negotiator.

She is a member of the State Bar of California. She is also admitted to practice in federal United States District Court, Northern, Southern and Eastern Districts of California.

Kia received her Juris Doctor degree from Golden Gate University School of Law. She earned a B.A. in Law and Society from University of California Santa Barbara.

Sean Juarez | Attorney

Sean Juarez | Attorney

Sean Juarez is an associate who has appeared before the WCAB throughout California.  He has experience with trial preparation, negotiating settlements, and conducting depositions.

Sean graduated cum laude from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, and holds a Tax Concentration Certificate.  He earned his bachelor’s degree in History from the University of California, Los Angeles, where he graduated magna cum laude.  While in law school, Sean was a member of the top-ranked Hastings Moot Court Team.  Sean enjoys cooking with his family.

Angie J. Lee | Supervising Attorney

Angie J. Lee | Supervising Attorney

Angie Lee is an associate representing employers, third party administrators, and insurance companies in all aspects of Workers’ Compensation litigation.  Ms. Lee is experienced at taking and defending testimony of applicants, doctors, and third-party witnesses at deposition.  She appears at the WCAB all throughout California for Mandatory Settlement Conferences, Expedited Hearings, and Trials.  She was nominated by her peers as a rising star for Northern California Super Lawyers in 2013 and 2014.

Ms. Lee holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.  She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles.  Angie enjoys golf, Jeopardy, and traveling.

Gary R. Lopez  |  Attorney

Gary R. Lopez | Attorney

Gary focuses his practice in Workers’ Compensation defense, discrimination claims and serious and willful misconduct claims. He began his legal career working with the San Mateo County District Attorney’s office. Now, with over ten years of workers’ compensation experience, Gary has practiced all aspects of workers’ compensation defense. Gary is well versed in trying workers’ compensation cases. He has authored several successful Petitions for Reconsiderations, Removals and Writs. He also has multiple “take nothing” awards to his credit. However, his greatest satisfaction comes with resolving matters quickly, favorably and by containing costs.

Gary represents clients from cross-industries, including health, high-tech, agriculture, restaurants, service, retail and construction. He has presented to clients on workers’ compensation issues to help keep them informed of this rapidly changing area of law.

Gary has served as the Legislative Chair with the Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC) since December 2011.

After earning a double B.A. in Criminology and Psychology at U.C. Irvine, Gary was awarded the Juris Doctor degree from the Santa Clara University School of Law.

Sean M. Lukins | Attorney

Sean M. Lukins | Attorney

Sean Lukins is an Associate Attorney who represents employers before the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. He has experience drafting trial and appellate briefs, conducting depositions and negotiating settlements.

Sean received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where his coursework focused on employment law. While in law school, Sean earned a Moot Court award for “Best Oral Advocate.” Sean received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Saint Mary’s College of California.

Prior to joining  RTGR Law LLP, Sean worked as a law clerk for various workers’ compensation law firms and acquired a comprehensive understanding of the workers’ compensation system to leverage as a defense attorney. He enjoys rock climbing, hiking and music production.

Michael D. McCoy  |  Attorney

Michael D. McCoy | Attorney

Mike  has appeared before the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, conducted depositions, and negotiated settlements.

Mike earned his Juris Doctor from Tulane University Law School, where he received a certificate in Environmental Law. Mike graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, and worked in software sales before attending law school.

Prior to joining RTGR Law LLP, Mike worked in civil litigation and in the non-profit sector. A San Francisco native, Mike is thrilled to be back in the Bay Area after stints in Germany, New Orleans, and Sacramento. In his free time, Mike likes to read history and fiction, spend time with family, and explore Northern California with his girlfriend and their subjectively good dogs.

Gemma Mondala  |  Of Counsel

Gemma Mondala | Of Counsel

Gemma Mondala, Of Counsel to RTGR Law LLP, has several years of civil litigation experience before state and federal courts in Nevada and California. She has been selected by her peers as a SuperLawyer Rising Star. Her practice includes the defense of for-profit, non-profit and public entity clients in employment, business tort, and general liability related matters.  She also presents to various groups, from attorneys to insurance adjusters to business professionals, regarding strategies to resolve claims and avoid litigation.

Gemma currently serves as the Board President for Bindlestiff Studio, a non-profit performing arts theater in San Francisco. She is also a former board member of the Filipino Bar Association of Northern California and founding member of the National Filipino American Lawyers Association.

Gemma holds a Juris Doctor degree from Syracuse University College of Law.  She also received her Masters in Media Management from Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Business and S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.  She graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a Bachelor of Arts degree, with distinction, in Political Science.  Gemma enjoys spending time with her daughter, traveling and cheering on Bay Area sports teams.

Erin K. Muniga | Attorney

Erin K. Muniga | Attorney

Erin Muniga represents employers and insurance carriers before the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board in California. She has experience litigating claims, negotiating settlements and has conducting depositions.

Erin received her Juris Doctor degree from the University of San Diego School of Law. While in law school, Erin was a Comments Editor for the Journal of Climate and Energy Law and competed in USD’s Alumni Moot Court Competition. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of California, Los Angeles. In her free time, Erin enjoys working out, spending time with friends, and cooking.

Thomas A. Richard | Managing Partner

Thomas A. Richard | Managing Partner

Tom Richard serves as Managing Partner of RTGR Law LLP and belongs to the practice management and technology sections of the ABA and the California Lawyers Association. He studied law firm leadership and administration at Harvard University.

Tom defends California employers and public agencies in the most challenging claims & controversies, focusing on appeals, leaves of absence management, excess insurance & risk pool coverage, and fraud prevention & prosecution. He provides employment counseling when work injuries implicate ADA/FEHA/FMLA issues and is passionate about the defense and management of employment discrimination risks.

For years, Tom has been Certified Specialist in Workers’ Compensation law and served as a Commissioner at the State Bar of California. He also served on the California Board of Legal Specialization. He holds the highest (AV Preeminent) rating by Martindale Hubbell and his legal writing has been published by Thomson Reuters.

Tom is a native of the New Orleans area. He is a frequent public speaker and has had the honor of officiating the weddings of family and friends.

Kyle C. Royer | Partner

Kyle C. Royer | Partner

Kyle Royer, a partner at RTGR Law LLP, has successfully litigated and mediated a variety of claims, including Labor Code 132(a) claims, subrogation, appellate briefings and presumption defense claims. He is a Certified Specialist by State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization.

Kyle enjoys speaking to various groups of attorneys, insurance companies, third party administrators and employers on related issues and advises his clients regarding how to mitigate damages and the best litigation strategies.

Kyle received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Mr. Royer enjoys spending time with his family, playing basketball and running.

Chris R. Strand  |  Supervising Attorney

Chris R. Strand | Supervising Attorney

Chris Strand is an supervising attorney who represents employers before the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board throughout California. He has experience litigating claims, negotiating settlements and has conducted numerous depositions, and leads the firm’s practice in San Diego.

Chris received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science with a minor in History from the University of California, Davis. He enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, golfing and following Major League Baseball.

Patrick J. Thacher | Attorney

Patrick J. Thacher | Attorney

Patrick Thacher is an associate attorney with RTGR Law LLP.  He has represented employers on numerous matters before the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board.  He has experience litigating claims at trial, negotiating settlements, conducting discovery, including complex and high-exposure workers’ compensation cases.  Patrick also works hard to contain client costs by resolving matters quickly and favorably.

Patrick earned his Juris Doctor from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.  While in law school, Patrick competed both nationally and internationally with Hastings’ esteemed Alternative Dispute Resolution Team.  He also received the Witkin Award in both Public Lands and Administrative Law.

In his free time, Patrick enjoys climbing, and spending time in the mountains.

Chantal M. Thomas | Partner

Chantal M. Thomas | Partner

Chantal Thomas is a firm partner who supervises litigation in Southern California.  She is a Certified Specialist in Workers’ Compensation Law by State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization.

Chantal has a wide-range of experience at trial, negotiating settlements and resolving high-exposure lien claims. She has drafted and won Petitions for Reconsideration and also drafted and filed Petitions for Writ of Review with the California Court of Appeal.

Although she works in Southern California, Chantal has significant experience handling cases at WCAB locations across California.

Chantal received her Juris Doctor degree from Pepperdine University School of Law and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of San Diego. She enjoys cooking, traveling and playing tennis.

 

Anders M. Thorson | Partner

Anders M. Thorson | Partner

Anders Thorson, a partner at RTGR Law LLP, has represented a wide range of clients, both public and private, and has extensive experience litigating all aspects of Workers’ Compensation law. He is a Certified Specialist by State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization and his litigation experience includes successful fraud investigations and referrals resulting in prosecutions.

In addition, Anders frequently counsels insurance companies, third party administrators, and employers in their obligations under the applicable state Labor Codes and Administrative Regulations.

Anders received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. In addition, he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Spanish from Miami University where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He enjoys traveling, spending time with his family and competing in triathlons.

Dean Tompkins | Partner

Dean Tompkins | Partner

Dean Tompkins, a partner at RTGR Law LLP, is a Certified Specialist by State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization.  He obtained his bachelors degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara and a Juris Doctor degree from Golden Gate University, where he graduated with honors.

In addition to practicing workers’ compensation law since 1991, Dean regularly conducts training seminars for claims personnel, employers and defense attorneys. He is a member of the American Bar Association, Alameda County Bar Association, San Francisco Bar Association, and Diablo Valley Industrial Claims Association.  Dean represents employers directly on Labor Code Section 132a claims and Serious and Willful Misconduct claims and has special expertise in defending public entities, including school districts and local government agencies.

When not working, Dean enjoys spending time with his family and working to keep up his claim that he is still faster than his two teenage boys.

 

Lauren Moniz Zalona | Partner

Lauren Moniz Zalona | Partner

Lauren Moniz Zalona is a partner who has represented both private and public employers. She is experienced in conducting discovery, determining cost-effective strategies for settlement, drafting trial briefs and appeals, and appearing before the WCAB at conferences and trials.

Lauren is well versed in effectively trying high-exposure workers’ compensation cases when opposing parties are unreasonable, though her ultimate strategy is containing client costs by resolving matters quickly and favorably.

Lauren is also a contributing writer to Workers’ Compensation Laws: California, a Q&A guide to workers’ compensation law for employers published by Thomson Reuters.

Lauren received her Juris Doctor degree from Golden Gate University School of Law and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the San Jose State University. Lauren enjoys painting, cooking, exercise and reading science.