Staff Bios

Thomas M. DeBenedetto – Attorney

Tom-DebendettoMr. DeBenedetto is a graduate of Rutgers University in New Jersey. He is also a graduate from the University Of San Diego School Of Law where he received the American Jurisprudence Award in the field of Comparative Law. Upon graduation and passing the State Bar of California, Mr. DeBenedetto immediately put out his “shingle” and began representing Injured Workers for the last 24 years. Mr. DeBenedetto has successfully litigated thousands of workers’ compensation cases from inception to completion. It is Mr. DeBenedetto’s firm belief that the current workers compensation laws are unfair and provide great profit to insurance carriers at the expense of the hard working people of The State of California. “Now more than ever, injured workers need aggressive representation to help them navigate the complexities of our workers compensation system.”

Donald G. Cline, Esq. – Of counsel

DON-KELLEYMr. Cline is a respected attorney with significant real world experience handling workers’ compensation and personal injury claims.  Over the last 40 years, Mr. Cline has worked for several reputable companies, as well as an insurance carrier and a prestigious San Diego law firm.  Mr. Cline has also served as a pro-tem judge on the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB), and taught several classes on workers’ compensation issues at Western State University and University of California, San Diego.
Mr. Cline’s time as a pro-tem judge on the WCAB has provided him with a unique perspective on workers’ compensation cases and valuable insight into the legal process.  In addition, Mr. Cline’s extensive experience representing injured workers, coupled with his responsibilities as a university instructor, makes him an effective advocate for his clients. Mr. Cline has received the California Applicant Attorney’s Lifetime achievement award.

Jerome Katsell – Attorney

Jerome KatsellMr. Katsell is a graduate of UC Berkeley and University of San Diego School of Law. He has been involved with workers’ compensation cases for the last 28 years on both defense and applicant sides. He is now a staunch advocate for applicants. Mr. Katsell assists in the preparation and handling of depositions of both injured workers and medical legal evaluators. Mr. Katsell was a professor of Russian Literature, is fluent in Russian, and is a professional translator from Russian to English.

Veronica Perez – Attorney

Veronica PerezMs. Perez is a contract attorney experienced in workers’ compensation having represented workers compensation insurance companies and injured workers in complex matters. She graduated from San Diego State University with a major in Liberal Arts/English Literature and subsequently obtained her JD from Western Sierra School of Law. Ms. Perez gained valuable experience as a deputy for the labor commissioner’s office, representative for EDD agency, criminal defense firm as well as family law issues by making special appearances for other attorneys.

Don Kelley – Senior Hearing Representative

DON-KELLEYMr. Kelley has spent his entire career working in the Workers Compensation arena. He started in the medical field of Workers Compensation from 1982-1989 with Trauma Medical Clinic. In 1990, Mr. Kelley was hired by the Law Office of Donald G. Cline as an Administrative Manager/Legal Assistant. He spent 24 Years with Mr. Cline overseeing 7,000 cases during his tenure. Now, with the Law Office of Thomas DeBenedetto, Mr. Kelley brings his 30 years of knowledge and experience regarding the workers compensation system. Mr. Kelley spends the vast majority of time at the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board assisting Mr. DeBenedetto in all aspects of litigation.

Siobhan Flanagan – Office Manager / Human Resources

Siobhan FlanaganSiobhan Flanagan was born in Ireland and immigrated to the United States in 1989 and has since become a United States citizen.  She has worked in many areas of the legal field since 1989 and has been with The Law Office of Thomas DeBenedetto since its inception in 1992.  In addition to managing the firm, Siobhan is in charge of human resources, payroll and monitors and maintains employees benefit packages.

Erin Sandoval – Senior Paralegal

ErinErin Sandoval has worked with The Law Office of Thomas DeBenedetto since 2007.  She graduated in 2010 from the University of San Diego majoring in Paralegal Studies. Erin is fluent in Spanish and has solid knowledge of Workers Compensation Legal Terminology and State Law Procedures.  Erin assists in all aspects of each case from inception to completion. On her time off, she enjoys spending time with her husband and 3 children.

Brittany LaBella – Paralegal

brittney_labellaBrittany LaBella was born and raised in San Diego, California.  In May of 2011, she graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice. Shortly after graduating, Brittany began interning at the Law Office of Thomas DeBenedetto.  It wasn’t long before Brittany developed a strong sense of interest in the Workers’ Compensation System.  Following her passion, Brittany returned to school in the Fall of 2014 and completed the Paralegal Certification Program at the University of San Diego. As a Paralegal, Brittany hopes to make a positive impact on the lives of each injured worker she encounters.

Isangelly Padilla – Paralegal

Isangelly PadillaIsangelly Padilla was born and raised in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico. Isangelly has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Resources from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus. In December of 2011, she graduated from the General Litigation – Paralegal Program at the University of San Diego, beginning her career as a Paralegal Specialist in 2012 where she acquired an extensive experience in the field of Workers’ Compensation. As a native Spanish speaker, Isangelly has helped numerous Spanish-speaking clients. With her professionalism and dedication, she aspires to continue helping injured workers obtain their benefits they are entitled to.

Cynthia Lopez – Senior Legal Assistant

cynthia_lopezCynthia Lopez jumped into the world of Workers Compensation 8 years ago as a Legal Assistant at the Law Offices of Donald G. Cline. With the knowledge she has gained in the Workers Compensation System, Cynthia loves to help injured workers. Cynthia attended a three month debate program at Stanford University, graduated with a degree in International Leadership from the University of Teramo in Italy and has attended various workshops throughout the world as a student of Universidad Mundial in Mexico. Cynthia is also fluent in Spanish

Laura Cross – Legal Assistant

laura_crossLaura Cross has spent her career in the Workers Compensation arena since 1980. She has been married for 31 years, has two children and one grandchild. Laura started her legal career with Attorney Earl Clampett, Jr., who is now a Judge. Laura was then hired in by the Law Offices of Donald G. Cline where she spent 22 years. She brings 34 years of workers compensation experience to the Law Office of Thomas M. DeBenedetto and has been with Mr. DeBenedetto’s office for many years.

Lisette Linares – Legal Assistant

lisette-linaresIn May 2010 Lisette Linares graduated from John College of Criminal Justice with a Bachelor of Science degree in Forensic Psychology with a minor in Legal studies. Lisette then gravitated to the field of Workers’ Compensation and has worked in this area for several years before moving to California and continuing her passion for workers’ compensation assisting injured workers in all aspects of their case. Lisette takes pride in her work and being able to help and guide injured workers. Lisette is also fluent in Spanish. On her time off, Lisette enjoys spending time with her family.

Andres Cosio – Legal Assistant

Andres CosioAndres Cosio graduated from San Diego State University with a BA in Religious Studies and plans on attending Grad School to obtain a Masters Degree. Andres assists in processing Applications for Adjudications as well as calendaring and filing time sensitive Independent Medical Review Appeals. Andres has also played an integral role in converting the firm to a paperless firm.

Theresa Foster Caldwell – Legal Assistant / Medical Coordinator

Theresa Foster CaldwellTheresa Caldwell has been working in the workers’ compensation arena for over 23 years. She has established strong relationships within the physician community and with the insurance claims professionals. On a daily basis Theresa navigates the insurance companies’ complicated medical provider networks to find the appropriate medical specialist to treat our clients injuries. In addition, Theresa schedules these medical appointments and assists in providing medical records to the doctors as well as obtaining medical reports from the physicians.

Israel Cosio – File Manager

Israel CosioIsrael Cosio graduated from San Diego State University with a dual degree in Criminal Justice and Sociology. Israel has been an integral part of transitioning our law firm into a paperless law firm creating a more efficient and productive law office. Israel has been with the firm for many years and began his legal career as a file clerk. He now oversees over 1,000 active files and is responsible for accurately organizing and filing all case documentation as well as maintaining all closed files.

Michael Yap – Law Clerk

Michael YapMichael Yap is a third year law student at Thomas Jefferson School of Law who has a strong interest in employment and labor law, specifically in workers’ compensation. In pursuit of his legal interest, he began clerking for Attorney DeBenedetto at the start of his second year of law school. As a law clerk, he was afforded the opportunity to assist Attorney DeBenedetto in almost all WCAB court proceedings, drafted legal pleadings, as well as conducted legal research when novel issues arose. To further pursue his interest in Employment and Labor Law, Michael is the Student Coordinator for Thomas Jefferson School of Law Employees Rights Self-Help Clinic in which he provides limited representation on a pro bono basis to indigent clients with respect to their employment and labor issues. He was also selected by his Professors to represent Thomas Jefferson School of Law at the 18th Annual Peggy Browning Employees’ Right Conference where he will have the opportunity to further expand his knowledge of Workers’ Compensation Law, Employee Discrimination Law, and Employee Benefits Law. Currently, he is the Vice President of Thomas Jefferson School of Law Labor and Employment Association and he is set to graduate this December with Pro Bono Honors for his service in the Employees Rights Self-Help Clinic.