Gerard R. Dagonese

Gerard R. Dagonese
Riverside Office
Member: California State Bar
Joined BM&M in 2011 as Of Counsel

While growing up in Upstate, New York, Gerry Dagonese often found himself in the role of peacemaker. He began developing skills in facilitating effective communication between opposing sides.

"As far back as junior high school I was thrust into a position that resulted in my receiving the training and skills that would serve life-long purposes. Those skills have served me well both as a mediator and in the practice of law."

Whether it was on the sports field, in the classroom or even on the beach, Gerry served as a voice of reason for others.

Today, as Of Counsel, for Benthale, McKibbin and McKnight, Gerry is well practiced as an attorney who is able to represent his clients zealously and find a way to bring two opposing sides together to close a case. Now with his own practice, he represents BM&M in all kinds of case matters including difficult litigation where multiple parties have reached an impasse.

Gerry is an experienced workers' compensation defense attorney who has handled cases for legally insured, illegally uninsured, and permissibly self-insured employers including various school districts as well as a number of insurance companies and third-party administrators. Gerry has defended both Labor Code section 132a claims as well as claims for increased benefits due to alleged Serious and Willful Misconduct.

During the past two decades, Gerry has represented numerous city and county governments, school districts and large retailers in California workers' compensation cases. In addition to his legal, mediation and arbitration skills, he has valued experience in identifying and facilitating successful prosecutions of applicants who have engaged in fraudulent behavior to collect workers' compensation benefits. This experience has resulted in several well-deserved fraud convictions.

"In one case I was brought in just before a Mandatory Settlement Conference by a large retailer who discovered the applicant was collecting Temporary Total Disability from them while working full time in the same capacity as a manager for another large retailer. With investigative effort and in deposition, besides creating a record for the TD he was collecting, we created a record for the fraudulent mileage logs he was submitting, the forged EDD certification forms he filed in a subsequent case against the 'concurrent' employer, and for the material misrepresentations he made to the AME in the case."

The case culminated in an 11-count felony conviction by the Department of Insurance against the applicant. Gerry is a BV Rated (Distinguished, Martindale-Hubble Peer Review) attorney who has defended cases from the public sector, as well as private retail and logistics industries. He has a background in risk management, loss prevention, and customer service functions in addition to the handling and training in workers' compensation claims.

He is also engaged in a biblical mediation, arbitration, reconciliation and conflict coaching practice as a Certified Christian ConciliatorTM and is on faculty with the Association of Christian Alcohol and Drug Counselors (ACADC). Gerry teaches their conflict resolution curriculum and is a frequent conference speaker for the ACADC.

"One of the things I enjoy about working independently for Benthale, McKibbin and McKnight is that it gives me the flexibility to work in these other areas of interest. And, I find the skill set which is continually developing is equally applicable. In both areas, oftentimes opposing sides become entrenched in their positions and sometimes simply based on personal emotions. As a result, the cases drag on longer than may be necessary. Unfortunately, the longer cases go, the worse they get and they become more difficult to resolve. So by listening, hearing what both sides are saying, and then by facilitating the communication it is often much easier to come to a resolution."

When Gerry is not hard at work, he enjoys spending time with his family, church, bowling, photography, computers, sailing and biblical peacemaking.

"Working with the team at Benthale, McKibbin and McKnight is an excellent opportunity. They are great partners, and have a great firm. I look forward to bringing my skill set to their practice daily."