Past President Profile; Ray Malca
In this segment of our Past President Profile, we were able to speak with Ramon Malca, a founding member of FWA and the chairman for 1997, regarding his background and leadership of FWA.
You can read his responses below.
How did you first get into Workers’ Comp?
I got into workers comp when I cold called two firms while at my future wife’s apt in the first semester of my second year in law school. One was with Bud Adams of the Wicker Smith firm and the other a PI firm. I was offered clerkships at both and went to work for Bud Adams. My task at first was to read and squib all the reported decisions in workers comp. The research system at the time was barely existent. I read hundreds of cases and added to an internal research system. I was hired prior to graduating and was a defense attorney for 5 years.
What case(s) do you remember most?
The case I remember most was an exposure to aluminum dust by a worker in aluminum window factory who developed a Parkinson like condition. The medical and legal issues resulted in depositions all over the country. We tried the case and won. The client died within 30 days, an autopsy was ordered. Our position was the exposure to aluminum dust passed through blood brain barrier but only an autopsy would conclusively establish our theory. It was done by the forensic toxicologist who testified in the OJ Simpson trial. Autopsy results showed 122 times level of aluminum in the brain that would be expected.
What did/do you enjoy most about the practice of law?
The thing that I enjoy most is that I feel that my presence levels the so-called playing field in a system where the law favors the other side.
What tactic, employed by opposing counsel, do you dislike most and why?
I dislike the failure to respond to basic requests like a telephone call.
If I were to ask the average defense attorney about you—What would they tell me?
Hard to say what the average defense attorney would say but I think they would say I do not pursue bs claims.
How has the practice changed for you over the years?
When I began the direct contact between attorneys was regular and meaningful. Cases resolved with a letter reflecting phone conversation and without the need for a mediator.
FWA Specific—You were there at the beginning. Tell me about how FWA came into
We created FWA as a standalone organization devoted to protecting the rights of injured working people. Prior to that time we relied upon the Academy Of Trial Lawyers or organized labor.
What issues arose during your time as Chairman/President of FWA?
Legislation designed to erode worker benefits arose during my term. Legislatively not much different than we continue to face today. The primary difference was the Democratic Party had input and we had some influence as a result.
What are your hobbies/outside interests?
My hobbies include golf , fishing and travel.
By Michael J. O’Rourke, FWA Board member