Workers Compensation' Case Law Updates 2009
Supreme Court of Illinois
Filed May 21, 2009
Beelmantrucking, Appellee, v. The Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission et al. (Jack G. Carson, Appellant)
AWARDS FOR PERMANENT PARTIAL DISABILITY IN ADDITION TO AWARD FOR PERMANENT TOTAL DISABILITY UPHELD—truck driver, who was severely injured in a work-related accident resulting in paralysis of both legs, paralysis below the shoulder in his left arm and the surgical amputation of his right arm, was properly awarded permanent partial disability benefits for the arm injuries in addition to an award for permanent total disability.
Appellate Court of Illinois
Filed December 29, 2009
Jerry Hosteny, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission and Anning Johnson Co., Defendants-Appellees
JOURNEYMAN PAINTER—NECK AND CERVICAL INJURIES FROM CARRYING 32 FOOT LADDER—claimant failed to provide convincing evidence that he suffered three separate injuries—Commission's award for the latest alleged injury and denial of award for the first two alleged injuries upheld.
Filed December 23, 2009
Greene Welding and Hardware, Appellant, v. Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission, et al. (Bobby D. Kinnaird, Jr.), Appellees
PENALTIES AWARDED FOR DELAY IN PAYING STATUTORY AMPUTATION BENEFITS UNTIL AFTER CLAIMANT HAD HIRED AN ATTORNEY AND FOR DELAY IN PAYING MEDICAL BILLS—legislature intended that individual who receive amputations should be immediately compensated.
Filed December 8, 2009
The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Ex Rel. Elizabeth A. Black, Petitioner-Appellees, v. Frank H. Bartholomew, Respondent-Appellant
WORKERS' COMPENSATION BENEFITS ARE EXEMPT FROM JUDGMENT, INCLUDING CHILD-SUPPORT ARREARAGES.
Filed December 7, 2009
U.S. Bank, a Corporation, as Independent Adminstrator of the Estate of Willie Taylor, Deceased, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Harold Lindsey and Carmichael Leasing Company, Inc., Defendants-Appellants
EXCLUSIVE REMEDY PROVISION OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION ACT DID NOT FORECLOSE TORT ACTION AGAINST LESSOR OF TRUCK LEASED TO DECEDENT'S EMPLOYER AND DRIVEN BY A COWORKER AT TIME OF FATAL ACCIDENT.
Filed November 23, 2009
Securitas, Inc., Appellant, v. The Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission et al. (Wayne O'Connor, Appellee)
EMPLOYER'S APPEAL FROM AWARD DISMISSED FOR LACK OF JURISDICTION—APPEAL BOND INSUFFICIENT—person who signed appeal bond was not identified as officer of employer and bond was limited to $10,000 while Commission fixed the bond at $10,100.
Filed November 13, 2009
National Maintenance & Repair, Appellant, v. The Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission et al. (Roger Gale, Appellee)
INJURY ON PERMANENTLY MOORED "PLANT BARGE" ON MISSISSIPPI RIVER—the "plant barge" was a land-based facility and therefore the Federal Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act did not deprive the Illinois Industrial Commission of Jurisdiction.
Filed November 10, 2009
TTC Illinois, Inc./Tom Via Trucking, (Illinois Insurance Guaranty Fund Appellant), v. The Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission, et al. (Donald Keen, Appellee)
PETITIONS TO REINSTATE BOTH OF CLAIMANTS' CASES THAT HAD BEEN DISMISSED FOR WANT OF PROSECUTION WERE TIMELY—AWARDS FOR PERMANENT PARTIAL AND PERMANENT TOTAL DISABILITY UPHELD.
Filed November 9, 2009
Bill Reynolds, Petitioner-Appellant Cross-Appellee, v. Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission Division (Otto Baum Co., Inc., Appellee) Respondent-Appellee, Cross-Appellant
IMPOSITION OF PENALTIES FOR UNREASONABLE AND VEXATIOUS DELAY OF BENEFITS REVERSED—employer relied upon "relatively compelling" medical opinions of three physicians, who reviewed an MRI scan and report, that the claimant's injuries could not be attributed to an accident related to employment.
Filed October 20, 2009
Lenny Szarek, Inc., Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission, (Daniel Rub, Defendant-Appellee)
AWARD FOR INJURIES RESULTING IN PARAPLEGIA SUFFERED BY CARPENTER FALLING THROUGH HOLE IN FLOOR UPHELD, DESPITE TESTING POSITIVE FOR BOTH MARIJUANA AND COCAINE—GROUNDS FOR ARBITRATOR RECUSAL NOT ESTABLISHED—AWARD OF PENALTIES REVERSED.
Filed October 16, 2009
Washington District 50 Schools, Appellant, v. Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission et al. (Geri McLees, Appellee)
"AVERAGE WEEKLY WAGE" FOR SCHOOL TEACHER CALCULATED BY DIVIDING ANNUAL SALARY BY THE 39 WEEKS SHE WORKED, RATHER THAN 52 WEEKS.
Filed October 15, 2009
Bassgar, Inc., d/b/a Grant's West Hardware, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission and Darius Wicks, Defendants-Appellants
EMPLOYEE'S ARM INJURY, RESULTING FROM ALTERCATION WITH SUPERVISOR, WAS COMPENSABLE.
Filed October 6, 2009
Elmhurst Park District, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission and Sean T. Murphy, Defendants-Appellees
VOLUNTARY RECREATIONAL ACTIVITY EXCLUSION DID NOT APPLY TO EMPLOYEE OF PARK DISTRICT'S FITNESS FACILITY WHO LEFT HIS SHIFT DUTIES AT URGING OF COWORKER TO JOIN CUSTOMERS IN A RECREATIONAL ACTIVITY.
Filed September 29, 2009
Country Mutual Insurance Company, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. D and M Tile, Inc., and Dan Walenga, Defendants-Appellants
COMPENSATION INSURER HAD NO DUTY TO INDEMNIFY FOR CLAIM ON BEHALF OF OFFICER OF INSURED COMPANY—officers of company had effectively removed themselves from coverage.
Filed September 24, 2009
Beverly Joyce Barbee, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Illinois Insurance Guaranty Fund, Defendant-Appellee
DEATH BENEFITS CLAIM, ALTHOUGH CONNECTED TO NON-DECEASED EMPLOYEE'S ORIGINAL CLAIM, WAS SEPARATE AND DISTINCT FOR PURPOSES OF BEING COVERED BY ILLINOIS INSURANCE GUARANTY FUND.
Filed June 17, 2009
Fred W. Grabs and Rudolph Francek, Plaintiffs-Appellees, v. Safeway, Inc., and Dominick's Finer Foods, LLC., Defendants-Appellants
DISCHARGE OF EMPLOYEES WHILE APPEAL IS PENDING BEFORE COMMISSION—although the employer abrogated the role of Commission when, while plaintiff's appeals were pending before the Commission, it discharged plaintiffs from their employment pursuant to its no-fault attendance policy after accepting the opinion of its independent medical examiners over that of plaintiffs' treating physicians, but the trial court improperly applied a per se rule of retaliatory discharge in granting summary judgment for plaintiffs in their tort action for retaliatory discharge.
Filed June 16, 2009
Restaurant Development Group, Plaintiff-Respondent-Appellant, v. Hee Suk Oh, Defendant-Petitioner-Appellee
AWARD FOR PERMANENT TOTAL DISABILITY RESULTING FROM STRAY BULLET UPHELD—claimant's employment as a bartender in a high crime area of Chicago placed her in an area of greater risk than that of the general public when she was struck by a stray bullet that entered her place of employment following an exchange of gunfire outside the restaurant.
Filed June 6, 2009
Global Products, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. The Workers' Compensation Commission and John Hall, Jr., Defendants-Appellees
LOWER BACK INJURY—MORE THAN ONE SURGERY—despite medical testimony that claimant's failure to stop smoking resulted in failure of spinal fusion, the use of cigarettes was neither an injurious practice justifying the Commission to deny benefits nor an intervening cause justifying refusal to pay medical benefits.
Filed May 21, 2009
Circuit City Stores, Inc., Appellee, v. Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission (Clinton Dwyer, Appellant)
AWARD FOR LEG INJURIES FOLLOWING ATTEMPT TO AID FELLOW EMPLOYEE DISLODGE BAG OF CHIPS FROM DEFECTIVE VENDING MACHINE—"PERSONAL COMFORT" DOCTRINE EXTENDED TO EMPLOYEE INJURED WHILE COMING TO AID OF FELLOW EMPLOYEE SEEKING PERSONAL COMFORT.
Filed May 8, 2009
Residential Carpentry, Inc., Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission, et al. (Douglas Tibbitts, Appellee)
CARPENTER'S SHOULDER INJURY—TORN ROTATOR CUFF—WORK INVOLVED LIFTING PRE-FABRICATED STAIRS WEIGHING OVER 100 POUNDS—claimant was properly awarded 28 weeks TTD, despite working in limited capacity for 25 weeks following an injury.
Filed April 28, 2009
Jasmin Burzic, Appellant, v. Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission, et al. (Dedicated Transportation, Inc., Mark Mendenhall and Zenith Insurance Co., Appellees)
ALLEGED PRACTICE OF UNFAIRNESS IN PROCESSING CLAIM FOR WORKERS' COMPENSATION BENEFITS—section 4(c) of Workers' Comp. Act and section 7090.20 of Commission's Rules require more than an isolated delay or unfair action in the settlement or payment of benefits to impose discipline on an insurer or its agent.
Filed March 31, 2009
Alan Kosakowski, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. The Board of Trustees of the City of Calumet City Police Pension Fund, Defendant-Appellant
DISABILITY BENEFITS FOR POLICE OFFICER INJURED IN LINE OF DUTY—Pension Fund Board was untimely in its attempt to reduce disability benefits to level based upon salary at time officer last received workers' compensation benefits.
Filed March 17, 2009
Ameritech Services, Inc., Appellant, v. Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission, et al. (Brian Dolk, Appellee)
AWARD FOR PERMANENT-TOTAL DISABILITY TO 30-YEAR-OLD COLLEGE EDUCATED ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE UPHELD—back injury rendered claimant incapable of gainful employment.
Filed March 10, 2009
John Pederson, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Mi-Jack Products, Inc., Defendant and Third Party Plaintiff-Appellee (Terex-Ro, Inc., and Terex, Inc., Defendants and Third Party Defendants-Appellees; Henkels and McCoy, Inc., Third Party Defendant and Intervenor-Appellant)
EMPLOYER'S LIEN UNDER SECTION 5(b) OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION ACT—trial court properly prevented employer from interevening in employee's action against third party without employee's consent.
Filed February 24, 2009
Thomas Hagene, Petitioner-Appellant, v. Derek Polling Construction, Respondent-Appellee
EMPLOYEE WAS IMPROPERLY DENIED AWARD FOR MEDICAL EXPENSES—BY ENTERING INTO SETTLEMENT CONTRACT, PETIONER DID NOT WAIVE RIGHT UNDER COMP. ACT TO OBLIGATE HIS EMPLOYER TO PAY FOR UNPAID RELATED MEDICAL BILLS.
Filed February 18, 2009
William T. Herman, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Power Maintenance & Constructors, LLC., Defendant-Appellee
RETALIATORY DISCHARGE—TRIAL COURT'S SUMMARY JUDGMENT FOR DEFENDANT EMPLOYER REVERSED—where construction worker was laid off because of medical restrictions resulting from a work-related injury for which he received workers' comp. benefits, defendant employer's refusal to rehire him after he recovered from the injury presented a genuine issue of retaliatory discharge.
Filed February 11, 2009
The City of Springfield, Illinois, Appellant, v. The Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission et al. (Kevin Magerl, Appellee)
AWARD FOR PAST AND PROSPECTIVE MEDICAL EXPENSES TO ELECTRICIAN EMPLOYED BY CITY UPHELD—BILATERAL CARPAL TUNNEL, BILATERAL CUBITAL TUNNEL AND BILATERAL PRONATOR SYNDROMES WERE CAUSALLY RELATED TO PETITIONER'S WORK-RELATED ACCIDENT.