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ERICA PHAN completed her undergraduate education at the University of California, Los Angeles where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Business Economics with minors in Accounting and African American Studies. She continued on to receive her Juris Doctor from Pepperdine University School of Law. During her time at Pepperdine, Ms. Phan was a recipient of the Kimberly Dawn Ellis and completed a study abroad program in London where she held a Criminal Defense externship and focused her studies on corporations, international commercial arbitration and federal taxation.


After being admitted to the State Bar of California, Ms. Phan began her practice in civil litigation specializing in the areas of complex commercial and insurance coverage litigation, products liability and contracts. She gained experience in all phases of litigation including trial preparation, court appearances and settlement negotiations.
In 2012, Ms. Phan transitioned her focus to Workers’ Compensation defense and has practiced exclusively since. She excels in aggressively defending files while expediting closure through trials and settlements. Ms. Phan is well versed in all phases of litigation, including case in chief, lien resolution, and contribution and has received many favorable outcomes including several Take Nothings. Ms. Phan became a Certified Specialist in Workers’ Compensation in 2017.

We are pleased to have Ms. Phan as an associate in our Newport Beach office.



HENRIK KARAPETIAN completed his undergraduate education at California State University, Northridge, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis in Business Law. Mr. Karapetian received his Juris Doctor from Loyola Law School and was admitted to the State Bar of California shortly after. He is a member of the American and Los Angeles County Bar Associations.


After admitted to the Bar, Mr. Karapetian started his own litigation practice, specializing in Family Law, Personal Injury, DUI and Bankruptcy cases. He has represented clients in a variety of different claims and gained experience handling request for orders, emergency motions, depositions and trials.

Prior to joining Samuelsen, Gonzalez, Valenzuela and Brown, Mr. Karapetian was an associate at a large Workers’ Compensation Defense firm where he defended insurance companies and self-insured employers in all phases of litigation. He is well versed in court appearances, having handled numerous status conferences, mandatory settlements conferences, priority conferences and expedited hearings. Through his extensive litigation experience, Mr. Karapetian has adapted an aggressive and effective litigation style that has helped him achieve favorable results for his clients. Mr. Karapetian works diligently to maintain strong relationships with his clients, placing their goals and needs as his primary focus.

We are pleased to have Mr. Karapetian as an attorney in our Encino office.



GENA C. STRATEGOS completed her undergraduate education at the University of Southern California where she received a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations with an emphasis in Strategic Studies. She continued on to receive her Juris Doctor from the USC Law Center and was admitted to the California State Bar immediately following. Ms. Strategos was admitted to the California 9th District Court of Appeals in 1989 and is a Certified Specialist in Workers’ Compensation Law.


Ms. Strategos began her career in Workers’ Compensation as a partner of a small defense firm representing large self-insured companies and municipalities. In this role, she gained experience handling client meetings, cross examining AMEs, doctors and raters, and appearing at trial. Her strong performance resulted in an increase in case load and level of service with major self-insured clients for the firm.

Prior to joining Samuelsen, Gonzalez, Valenzuela and Brown, Ms. Strategos was a partner at a large Workers’ Compensation Defense Firm. In addition to managing a large case load, Ms. Strategos was also in charge of training new attorneys for the firm. Some of her biggest accomplishments in this position were an Answer to Writ to the Supreme Court and an Arbitration which included a win against the California Insurance Guarantee Association. Over the years, Ms. Strategos has become an expert in the areas of depositions, arbitrations, appellate briefs, cross examinations and trials. She has achieved remarkable success in all phases of litigation and has received many take nothing awards. Ms. Strategos has over 25 years of experience representing employers, insurance carriers, and third party administrators making her an asset to our firm.

We are pleased to have Ms. Strategos as an associate in our Long Beach office.



JULIA T. MORGAN completed her undergraduate education at the University of San Diego, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in English. She obtained her Juris Doctorate from American College of Law and was admitted to the State Bar of California in 2014.


During her time at the University of San Diego, Ms. Morgan worked as a file clerk for a prestigious insurance defense law firm that specialized in jury trials across California. Later on in law school, she worked as Law Clerk and Legal Representative for the State Compensation Insurance Fund, where she had the opportunity to successfully defend an employer from liability claims. Subsequently, Ms. Morgan worked as a Hearing Representative managing Workers’ Compensation lien claims.

Ms. Morgan joined Samuelsen, Gonzalez, Valenzuela and Brown in 2015. Her strong communication skills, accompanied with her knowledge of California labor and regulation codes, have helped her achieve many favorable settlements for her clients.

In her free time, Ms. Morgan enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter. She also enjoys discussing current news and updates in workers’ compensation with her father, retired Presiding Judge J. Michael Morgan.

We are pleased to have Ms. Morgan as an associate in our Long Beach Office.



PATRICK G. ROSE graduated Suma Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Criminology from California State University, Fresno. He then obtained his Juris Doctor from Southwestern School of Law, where he received an award for academic achievement in the area of Constitutional Law. Mr. Rose was admitted to the State Bar of California immediately following graduation and is currently admitted to all U.S. District Courts. In addition to being a lifetime member of the Golden Key and Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Societies, he is also a member of the California Bar Association, American Bar Association, Los Angeles Bar Association and Sacramento Bar Association.


Mr. Rose began his legal career working as in-house counsel for Amwest Surety Insurance Company. He managed civil litigation cases from claim referral through trial and handled a wide variety of claims including defense and subrogation of automobile accidents, general negligence, premise liability and fraud investigations. Later on, Mr. Rose continued to practice civil litigation for a small firm in San Jose, CA, specializing in Insurance Defense, Governmental Liability, Construction Defect and Employment.

In 2001, M. Rose started practicing Workers’ Compensation law while employed with a mid-sized firm in Northern California. Although he managed some Personal Injury plaintiff casework, his caseload primarily consisted of Workers’ Compensation applicant claims.

Mr. Rose has practiced Workers’ Compensation Defense since 2002. Prior to joining Samuelsen, Gonzalez, Valenzuela & Brown, he was a partner at a large firm in Northern California, specializing in Insurance Defense, Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury. He served as the Directing Partner for the firm’s Subrogation and Civil Litigation Department and managed a caseload consisting of general/civil insurance defense, US Federal Litigation and Appeals, Workers’ Compensation Defense, Subrogation and Appellate work. In addition to his large role at the firm, he also prepared and conducted numerous seminars, presentation and webinars for clients. Mr. Rose prides himself on providing clients with superior litigation while staying mindful of client costs and expenses.

Samuelsen, Gonzalez, Valenzuela & Brown is pleased to have Mr. Rose as an attorney in our Sacramento Office.



MARICELA PICAZO obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley. She received her Juris Doctor from Santa Clara University, School of Law in 2003 and was admitted to the California State Bar later that year. During her time at Santa Clara University, Ms. Picazo was a member of the Student Admissions committee where she reviewed and analyzed applications for Law School candidates.


Ms. Picazo began her legal career as a Legal Intern for the San Francisco Office of the District Attorney where she conducted legal research and writing for motion hearings and trials in addition to assisting with overall case preparation. She later on became a Certified Legal Intern for District Attorney’s Office in the Juvenile Division specializing in legal research, drafting legal memoranda of points and authorities and trial briefs, and case preparation. As a Certified Legal Intern she also assisted with the in motion calendar, which included the presentation of oral arguments.

While waiting for bar results, Ms. Picazo worked as a Law Clerk at a firm in San Francisco where she gained experience in discovery review and claim analysis. She also assisted attorneys with case research, preparation for depositions, hearings and trial and the negotiation of lien settlements.

Ms. Picazo has exclusively practiced Workers’ Compensation Law since she passed the California Bar in 2003. For the first 11 years of her career, Ms. Picazo worked in-house for a large insurance company where she handled complex files for their national accounts. She is well versed in all phases of litigation, appearing at court proceedings and negotiating settlement agreements.

Ms. Picazo has worked for Samuelsen, Gonzalez, Valenzuela and Brown since 2015, where she has continued to aggressively handle files, always with an eye toward early resolution. Absent early resolution she creates plans of action to move the file quickly through the process of discovery, negotiations and trial if necessary.

Ms. Picazo is fluent in Spanish.

Samuelsen, Gonzalez, Valenzuela and Brown is pleased to have Ms. Picazo as an Attorney in our San Francisco Office.



SAMANTHA H. BURKAT obtained her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance from San Diego State University. She received her Juris Doctor from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, where she was a recipient of the Kwong Scholarship. While at McGeorge, Ms. Burkat was also the Secretary of the McGeorge Federalist Society and a member of the Pacific McGeorge Education Pipeline Initiative Mentoring Program.


While in Law school, Ms. Burkat served as a legal intern and extern for many different law offices and organizations, including the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation and the California Attorney General’s Office. In these positions she learned the overall litigation process through conducting legal research, writing memorandums, assisting attorneys in case preparation and participating in administrative hearings. Following Law School Ms. Burkat practiced Workers’ Compensation law as an Associate Attorney at a firm in Ontario, where she managed a large volume of files and represented clients in all phases of Workers’ Compensation litigation, gaining experience in discovery, depositions, hearings, negotiations, and motions.

Ms. Burkat joined the Long Beach office of Samuelsen, Gonzalez, Valenzuela and Brown as an associate attorney in 2014, and has been representing a vast array of insurance carriers, third party administrators and employers in all aspects of workers’ compensation defense.



ELIA YURIDITSKY received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland, College Park, Robert H. Smith School of Business, with a Double Major in Finance and Accounting. He went on to attend the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where he earned his Juris Doctor and graduated in the top 20% of his class.


Mr. Yuriditsky began his legal career as a contractor for a prominent Criminal Defense firm, where he researched and analyzed case law for summary judgment motions and wrote internal legal memoranda on tort, contract, and real estate issues. He went on to intern for a busy Civil Litigation firm, where he participated in arbitration hearings, wrote resulting award letters, and assisted in negotiating settlements with insurance companies. As an intern for the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, he prepared appellate briefs and motions for habeas and prepared presentations for expert testimony. Mr. Yuriditsky also has years of experience as Legal Consultant in Corporate, Contract, Trademark, Patent, and Commercial Litigation.

Since then, Mr. Yuriditsky has been practicing Workers’ Compensation Defense, putting his client’s interest at the utmost priority. He is accustomed to handling a large caseload, and is aggressive in his approach to early closure of his cases. Being familiar with all Northern California venues, Mr. Yuriditsky is a great asset to our clients and their needs.

Samuelsen, Gonzalez, Valenzuela and Brown is pleased to have Mr. Yuriditsky in our San Francisco Office.



JOSHUA S. ZIESSLER received his Liberal Arts degree from the College of the Sequoias in Visalia, CA, in 2006. He went on to obtain a law degree from the San Joaquin College of Law.

While attending law school, Mr. Ziessler was an active member of the Delta-Theta-Phi, Hollis G. Best Senate Law Fraternity.


Mr. Ziessler started off his legal career as a Law Clerk for a prominent civil litigation firm, where his responsibilities included conducting client interviews and consultations, gathering of evidence, summarizing medical records and depositions, drafting discovery requests and responses, observing depositions, and drafting motions and pleadings. Mr. Ziessler also conducted extensive research of applicable law to a broad range of legal issues and types of cases, settlement negotiations, preparation for trials, assisting attorneys at trial, and the drafting of post-trial motions.

After passing the bar, Mr. Ziessler continued his practice in civil litigation, as an Associate Attorney. He prosecuted cases ranging from Personal Injury to Consumer Protection cases through all stages of the litigation process, from referral to settlement.

Samuelsen, Gonzalez, Valenzuela & Brown, LLP is pleased to have Joshua Ziessler handling all phases of workers’ compensation defense in our Fresno, CA office.



Jonathan Lundgrin received his Bachelor’s Degree in History from Walla Walla University in Washington and his Masters of Business Administration from La Sierra University. He obtained his Juris Doctor from the University of San Diego Law. Mr. Lundgrin was a McLennon Moot Court Honor participant and wrote for the San Diego Journal of Climate and Energy Law.


While in Law school Mr. Lundgrin worked as a law clerk at the San Diego County Office of the Public Defender. He also was a Legal Intern at the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office where he acted as a trial attorney and prosecuted a DUI trial with a guilty verdict.

Since passing the California State Bar, Mr. Lundgrin has gained experience handling workers’ compensation and personal injury cases. Mr. Lundgrin’s strategic negotiation skills have led him to many successful and cost-effective settlements for his clients. Mr. Lundgrin has appeared at and gained useful working knowledge of all the Southern California Workers Compensation Appeals Boards as well as a vast majority of the Workers Compensations Judges. Mr. Lundgrin’s criminal and civil trial experience provides him with an effective and assertive deposition technique that he has utilized when deposing many AME/QME physicians and hundreds of applicants.

Mr. Lundgrin has obtained multiple “take nothing” decisions at
AOE/COE Trials and Lien Trials.

Jonathan Lundgrin is an associate in our Newport Beach office.