Governor Fallin appoints Bob Gilliland to new Workers’ Compensation Commission

Governor Mary Fallin has appointed Robert H. Gilliland, Jr., a veteran trial lawyer with McAfee & Taft, to serve on the newly created Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission. The three-member Commission, which was established following the passage of the state’s landmark workers’ compensation reform law, is responsible for overseeing Oklahoma’s new administrative system that goes into effect February 1, 2014.

Gilliland was appointed to a four-year term, effective November 6, 2013.

“Robert Gilliland brings a wealth of legal experience that will serve him well as he works to help craft a fair and efficient way to deal with injured workers on the job,” Governor Fallin said. “I’m delighted he has agreed to serve on this important commission.”

Gilliland is a 1966 graduate of the University of Oklahoma College of Law and served as a captain the Judge Advocate General’s Corps of the U.S. Army for four years before joining McAfee & Taft. For nearly 40 years, his state, federal and appellate trial practice has been concentrated in the area of business litigation, including oil and gas litigation, contract litigation, environmental litigation, products liability, and securities litigation. He holds the distinction of being one of only a handful of lawyers in the United States to be selected for continued inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America (bet-the-company litigation; commercial litigation; energy law; environmental litigation; real estate litigation; securities litigation) since the publication’s debut in 1983. He has also been perennially named to Oklahoma Super Lawyers.

“Although we are incredibly proud and supportive of Bob’s appointment to this important position, we are even more proud and appreciative of his many legal achievements and numerous contributions to the success of the firm over the past four decades. He will be greatly missed as a long-time partner and colleague,” said Richard Nix, managing director at McAfee & Taft. “While the passage of workers’ comp reform by the Oklahoma Legislature earlier this year was a monumental first step, the real work begins now. We know Bob is truly committed to a system that will serve as a model of fairness and efficiency for other states as well.”

Under the new law, the state’s long-time judicial system for handling workers’ compensation claims will be replaced by an administrative system for all claims filed on or after February 1, 2014. The new law also provides employers with the option of opting out of the administrative system if they provide a certified medical insurance plan with similar benefits as required under the state’s administrative system.

“I look forward to serving the state of Oklahoma and the workers and employers of this state as we transition to an administrative workers’ compensation system,” said Gilliland. We will do our best to implement a system that is fair to all concerned while streamlining the process so that employees with work-related injuries or illnesses receive appropriate medical treatment and fair awards without unnecessary delay.”

Also appointed as commissioners were Denise Engle and Troy Wilson. Wilson will serve as commission chairman.