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An Insurance Defense


A Results Oriented Law Firm Catering to the Needs of Our Clients












Founded by partners Jesse Bernal and Peter Robbins, Bernal & Robbins, APLC, is an exclusive insurance defense law firm specializing in representing employers and insurance carriers both in traditional and complex workers’ compensation cases.  We have significant experience in claims handling and are known for expedited resolution of cases.  We have vast knowledge and experience in appeals, lien defenses, SIU & fraud cases, and 132a and serious and willful defense cases.  

We are an aggressive insurance defense law firm that provides innovative and strategic representation. We provide flexibility and responsiveness while delivering exceptional legal work product.


We take a proactive approach to case resolution and when necessary, a firm stance on our defenses in order to aggressively represent our clients' interests and seek restitution when, and where, appropriate. 


We serve a diverse client base across California from bakeries to health care, staffing, manufacturing, hotels and self-insured groups, and appear throughout California’s WCAB District offices, including Los Angeles, Orange County, San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura and San Diego, plus San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, Sacramento, Santa Rosa and Stockton.  


Bernal & Robbins works hard for our clients, wielding an uncommon ability to handle tough cases and get results quickly and cost-effectively, all while working to advance our clients positions and save them money. We have developed key defenses in the following areas:   


*Post-Termination Specific and CT Claims (for both short and long-term employees) *Apportionment *AOE/COE *SIU (questionable and fraudulent claims) *Lien Issues.

Our attorneys are highly skilled and experienced, and the firm has earned the respect of Judges and adversaries alike. We have also successfully prevailed on cases before the California Court of Appeals and tried numerous cases to a defense verdict or a take nothing decision. 



Case In Chief Results

  • Obtained case dismissals during trial with costs

  • Obtained take nothing awards 

  • Successfully appealed matters before the California Court of Appeals

  • Resolved case in chief files quickly after referral (always mitigating case exposure)

Lien Results

  • Obtained finding against Surgery Center for violation of Labor Code 139.3; Order re finding sustained at Recon and on Appeal

  • Obtained Orders re restitution

  • Obtained dismissals and nuisance value settlements



Mr. Bernal graduated with a Juris Doctor degree from Abraham Lincoln University and School of Law. With over 18 years of experience, he has dedicated his entire career to the area of workers’ compensation law.  


Mr. Bernal has extensive experience representing employers, insurance carriers and third-party administrators in all aspects of workers’ compensation matters throughout the State of California. In addition, he has worked with various insurance carriers and third-party administrators in creating successful defenses and protocols in defending questionable medical liens and reducing cost exposure. In his tireless efforts to protect and advance his client’s interests, he has made case law that benefits them as well as the industry.  


Mr. Bernal leads a team of legal innovators who take a methodical approach to solving problems to develop unique strategies that have garnered them a reputation for not only getting dismissals, but for obtaining great outcomes for their clients. He has obtained various Orders in the workers’ compensation system for reimbursement of attorney fees for costs and sanctions against both Representatives, Applicants and Providers alike.  


Outside of his work, he plays in a workers’ comp band with several judges, and they have hosted events for community organizations, including Kids’ Chance.

                  ELEEN Y. VALLEJO, ESQ.

Ms. Vallejo graduated with a Juris Doctorate degree from Whittier Law School in 1997 and earned her undergraduate degree from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.


Ms. Vallejo is a certified workers' compensation specialist, spanning an insurance defense attorney law career with leading California law firms since April 2001, safeguarding employers, insurance  Bernal & Robbins APLC – Firm Profile Page 4  carriers, and third-party administrators interests. She has represented high profile clients, produced successful results, and excelled at client service.

                    HEATHER ANTONIE, ESQ.

Heather Antonie has been practicing workers’ compensation defense since 2010. She handles all stages of litigation, including trials and appeals. She has successfully defended cases up to the writ level in the appellate court process.  


Ms. Antoine has represented a wide variety of employers and insurance carriers, including manufacturers, construction companies, medical/dental offices, trucking companies, restaurants, sports teams, PEOs and uninsured employers.  She has achieved take nothings in cases related to independent contractors, death claims and special/general employers.


Mr.  Buchanan has been defending workers’ compensation cases as an attorney for over 18 years.  This includes representing the interests of self-insured employers, insurance companies, third party administrators, self-insured groups, CIGA, and uninsured employers in all aspects of discovery, litigation, and settlement.

Before practicing law, Mr. Buchanan spent years managing student residents as a member of the UCI Housing Department, teaching math and physics to students in high school, and assisting mentally ill patients progress from a locked mental health facility back into the community.  His varied experiences and training in the physical and behavioral sciences provide a broad perspective and enhanced ability to prioritize issues, solve problems, and create solutions.  The result is efficient resolution of client goals at a reduced cost and risk.

Mr. Buchanan holds a Juris Doctorate degree from Whittier Law School, a BS in Math from University of California, Irvine, and a BA in Psychology from University of California, Irvine.


Mr. Robbins is a former workers’ compensation judge with over 40 years of experience in handling complex workers’ compensation matters. His invaluable insight into the inner workings of the judicial process and the myriad personalities comprising it benefits his clients tremendously, as he works aggressively on their behalf to secure dismissals and obtain settlements, saving millions of dollars. Mr. Robbins received his Juris Doctor degree from Loyola Law School, and he holds an undergraduate degree from the University of California at Los Angeles.  


Mr. Robbins has also authored several editions of Research Guides pertaining to workers’ compensation case law. He has observed the evolution of workers’ compensation law from three different perspectives, initially as an applicant attorney and thereafter as a workers’ compensation judge and defense counsel for numerous self-insured entities and insurance carriers.  


Mr. Robbins is a certified specialist in workers' compensation law and an Arbitrator in the ADR system.

                     TAMARA DARWEESH, ESQ.


Ms. Darweesh has over 20 years of extensive experience defending and counseling employers, insurance companies and third-party administrators in workers' compensation cases. She helps clients resolve their workers' compensation issues and diminish their liability.  


Ms. Darweesh has handled a wide variety of matters, including 132(a) claims, S&W claims, medical leave issues, insurance coverage and human resource decisions in the context of industrial injury claims.  


Ms. Darweesh holds a JD from the University of California, Davis, and a BA from the University of California, Los Angeles, cum laude. 



Mr. Giuliani holds a Bachelor of Laws and Legal Practice (Honors) from Flinders University in Australia, and a Master of Laws (LL.M.) from Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles. He has practiced workers’ compensation law for almost 10 years.


Mr. Giuliani exclusively represents employers and insurance companies at the California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. He focuses his practice on practical, aggressive and efficient case handling to achieve expedited resolution of claims. Some of his achievements include numerous take nothing AOE/COE, jurisdiction, and lien trial results; nominal settlements on accepted claims after successful deposition leading to criminal charges for perjury; and successful nominal value C&R settlements on death claims involving long term employees with complicated internal medical issues.


Matthew has represented a range of clients, including insured, uninsured, self-insured and county employers in varying industries including transport, construction, manufacturing, restaurants/hotels and staffing companies. He has also presented at California workers’ compensation conferences and provides clients with training and legal updates.





Bernal Robbins, APLC.

16921 Parthenia St., Suite 301
Northridge, CA 91343

Tel:  818.739.0335

Fax:  818.796.2634

For general inquiries, please fill in the following contact form:

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