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 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
Adabela Bonillo | Attorney
Adabela Bonillo is an attorney serving the Bay Area. She has years of experience representing large employers and public agencies in workers’ compensation claims.
Adabela earned her Juris Doctor from the University of San Diego, School of Law, where she served as President of the Employment and Labor Law Society. She was involved in establishing the Employment and Labor Law concentration at the University of San Diego and also received the award for the highest grade in her employment law class.
Adabela graduated from University of California, Santa Barbara with a Bachelor’s degree in history. Her senior honors thesis focused on the Argentine economy, a topic that is close to her heart as her family comes from Argentina. On her free time, Adabela enjoys outdoor adventures with her husband and dog, Rosie, and reading true crime novels.
Christopher K. Boucher | Of Counsel
Christopher is the Founding Attorney of Boucher Labor & Employment Law and also serves as Of Counsel to RTGR Law LLP. His expertise includes representing public and private sector employers in a union environment. He serves as trusted counsel to employers throughout California regarding suspected workers’ compensation fraud issues, reasonable accommodation/interactive process and obligations, workplace violence incident management, public entity claims, employee discipline, due process, grievance procedure issues, workplace investigations, and other labor and employment law matters. In addition to his advocacy skills, Christopher has successfully utilized his mediation training to achieve settlements on workers’ compensation and employment matters. He is also a frequent speaker at a variety of conferences on labor and employment law topics, including legal updates and keynotes.
Prior to entering into private practice, Christopher spent over a decade as a seasoned human resources executive with a broad spectrum of industry experience, including municipalities, public utilities, aviation, maritime, special districts, K-12 as well as higher education. In recognition of his accomplishments, Christopher was featured as one of 2016’s national “Top Five Rising Stars” by Human Resource Executive magazine.
Christopher earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and graduated cum laude with a Juris Doctorate degree from the Abraham Lincoln University School of Law. In addition, he received a professional certificate from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, and attended the Harvard Negotiation Institute at Harvard Law School. His clients greatly value his extensive practical human resources and workers’ compensation experience, in addition to his legal skills.
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 is an associate attorney who has appeared often in front of the Workers’ 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 | Managing Partner
As the Managing Partner of RTGR Law, Karen oversees the firm’s operations and professional excellence. 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, and 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 | Partner
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 | Founding Partner
Dan Graves, a founding 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.
Gizem Gures | Attorney
Gizem Gures is an Associate Attorney serving the Bay Area. She has substantial experience with legal research and writing, conducting discovery and litigating workers’ compensation claims.
Gizem earned her Juris Doctor from Santa Clara University School of Law. While in law school, she received the Witkin Award for Academic Excellence in Labor Law. Gizem earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from University of California, Berkeley.
In her free time, Gizem enjoys running, playing tennis, and outdoor adventures with her three golden retrievers.
Rebecca McCoy-LaForce | Attorney
Rebecca McCoy-LaForce is trial attorney with RTGR Law LLP serving the Bay Area. She has years of experience representing self-insured employers, insurance carriers, and third-party administrators in all types of workers’ compensation cases.
Rebecca earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Washington, where she graduated magna cum laude. She was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Golden Key International Honors Society. She also served as a policy intern for the Washington State Senate and as the Vice President of the UW chapter of the ACLU.
Rebecca earned her Juris Doctor from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where she served as the Executive Notes Editor of the Hastings Business Law Journal. While attending law school, she was awarded The Witkin Award for Excellence for receiving the highest grade in both Evidence class and the Takings and the Environment Seminar. She also clerked at the United States Attorney’s Office and spent a semester studying with the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in Strasbourg, France.
When she’s not busy representing her clients or crushing them in fantasy football, Rebecca can be found cheering on her beloved 49ers, boxing and hiking.
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 serves on the Executive Committee of the Workers’ Compensation Section of the California Lawyers Association and on the DVICA governing board. 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 | Supervising Attorney
Sean Juarez is an Supervising Attorney with RTGR Law LLP and leads our office in Orange County. He is experienced in litigating complex cases and he has filed appeals at the WCAB and the Court of Appeal. He has years of experience representing employers, third party administrators, and insurance carriers throughout the state, and he is well versed in the nuances between Northern and Southern California practice. Sean began his career in RTGR’s Oakland Office before moving to Southern California to open our Orange County office.
Sean earned his Juris Doctor cum laude from University of California, Hastings College of the Law. He holds a Tax Concentration certificate. While in law school, Sean was a member of Hastings’ top ranked moot court team. Sean participated in the National Moot Court Competition, where his team won Best Brief and was named Regional Champions. He also participated in the Roger J. Traynor California Appellate Advocacy Moot Court Competition. He was awarded the Witkin Award for Academic Excellence (Top Grade) in multiple courses, including Legal Writing and Research. Sean graduated magna cum laude from University of California, Los Angeles with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History.
In his free time, Sean enjoys cooking and spending time with his family.
James W. Juroe | Attorney
James W. Juroe is the senior RTGR Law attorney in the Orange County area. In addition to the WCAB locations in Orange County, he also covers matters venued at the Long Beach, Pomona, Riverside and San Bernardino Boards. He has over 35 years of experience handling every kind of Workers’ Compensation matter, from inception through trials and appeals. His experience includes negotiating settlement of some of the most complex cases, winning challenging trials, legal research, and the depositions of applicants, expert witnesses and doctors.
Jim received his undergraduate degree from Belmont University, in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1979 with a double major in History and Education, with a minor in Political Science. He was certified as a secondary education teacher in the state of Tennessee, but cut short a teaching career to attend law school. He received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee in 1983. He moved to California with his family and passed the California Bar Exam in 1984.
Prior to joining RTGR Law, Jim worked for many years at Workers’ Compensation defense firms in the Orange County area. In his spare time, Jim enjoys visiting with his four children and grandchildren. He also enjoys camping with family, reading and gardening.
Kevin Kidwell | Attorney
Kevin Kidwell is an associate attorney with RTGR Law LLP. He is experienced in trial preparation, legal research, negotiation, and advocacy in the civil litigation field.
Kevin earned his Juris Doctor from Santa Clara University School of Law. While in law school, Kevin received the CALI Excellence for the Future Aware in both Legal Research and Writing and Sports Law, as well as the Witkin Award for Academic Excellence in Professional Responsibility. Kevin earned his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Prior to joining RTGR Law LLP, Kevin worked as a law clerk for several years at a plaintiff-side civil litigation firm which allowed him to gain valuable insights to utilize as a defense attorney. In his free time Kevin enjoys golf and auto racing, and is a lifelong fan of the 49ers, Giants, and Warriors.
Angie J. Lee | Partner
Angie Lee is a Partner with several years of experience as a supervising attorney. She is the Head of Attorney Training at RTGR Law. Angie was nominated by her peers as a rising star for Northern California Super Lawyers in 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018. Angie has extensive experience resolving the most complex and challenging cases. She works tirelessly on behalf of her clients for swift cost-effective litigation outcomes.
Angie was born and raised in the Bay Area. She graduated from UCLA before attending law school at UC Hastings College of Law, where she graduated in 2008. She began her legal career as an employment immigration attorney before joining RTGR Law in 2011. Angie enjoys golf, Jeopardy, and traveling.
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 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.
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.
Lauren Moniz Zalona | Partner
Lauren Moniz Zalona is a partner who has represented both private and public employers. She is experienced in litigating complex and challenging cases and in formulating cost-effective strategies for early settlement. She has drafted and filed appeals at the WCAB and the California Court of Appeal.
Lauren is a Certified Specialist in Workers’ Compensation Law by State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization and an Adjunct Professor at Golden Gate University School of Law.
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.
Thomas A. Richard | Founding Partner
Tom Richard leads the Civil Subrogation & Employer Liability practices at RTGR Law. Tom represents California public agencies, employers and insurers and advises employment & labor lawyers, city attorneys, and house counsel and in complex and challenging matters, including:
- 132a and Serious & Willful Misconduct defense
- Disability Accommodations and the Interactive Process
- CalPERS and 1937 Act (CERL) retirements (IDR) proceedings
- Civil Subrogation litigation and lien recovery
- Exclusive Remedy defense and WC insurance coverage issues
- WCAB appeals, controversies, procedures and tactics
Tom specializes in cases where workplace injuries create employer liabilities and implicate ADA/FEHA/FMLA and other employment issues. He works creatively in subrogation proceedings for maximum recovery of benefits paid.
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 | Founding Partner
Kyle Royer, a founding 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 Strand is a supervising attorney representing self-insured employers, third party administrators and insurance carriers before the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board throughout California. He is a Certified Specialist in Workers’ Compensation Law by the State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization. He leads the firm’s practice in San Diego.
Chris has significant experience handling claims through all phases of litigation. He has conducted numerous applicant, witness and doctor depositions. His ultimate goal is to resolve matters quickly and favorably for his clients. When parties cannot find common ground, he has taken many cases to Trial.
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 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 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 | Founding Partner
Anders Thorson, a founding 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 | Senior Partner
Dean Tompkins, a senior 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.