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2009 Articles

2008 Illinois Workers’ Compensation Annual Report By Brad E. Bleakney September 2009 On June 30, 2009, the Commission released its Annual Report of Operations for 2008.
Advanced Workers’ Compensation seminar December 2009 The Illinois State Bar Association Workers’ Compensation Law Section is sponsoring a “Back to Basics Seminar” scheduled for February 12, 2010 in Fairview Heights and February 15, 2010 at the ISBA Headquarters in Chicago.
The appellate court discusses the burden of proof in a stray bullet case By Carol A. Hartline September 2009 A summary of the case of Restaurant Development v. Hee Suk Oh.
Are we ready for the electronic revolution? By Kelly Johnson March 2009 Can a lump sum settlement be paid by direct deposit?
Bad things happen when the adjuster hangs onto the file By Richard D. Hannigan December 2009 All too often an adjuster will hang onto a file until either just before or just after a hearing. The file will then be sent to the defense attorney and the defense attorney is then given the herculean task of trying to unring a bell or put toothpaste back in the tube.  
Can the Commission award penalties pursuant § 19(k) and 16 for prospective medical care? By Richard D. Hannigan June 2009 In what was first a Rule 23 order entered March 6, 2009 and now a published decision filed May 13, 2009, the Illinois Appellate Court, Workers’ Compensation Division, in Residential Carpentry v. Workers’ Compensation Commission, No. 03-08-0122WC, affirmed a case where the arbitrator awarded temporary total disability benefits and penalties on prospective medical expenses.  
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Is it work-related? By Linda A. Robert March 2009 In light of the medical research presented in this article, there should be a decrease in carpal tunnel claims that are accepted as compensable. There is no scientific or medical basis for relating carpal tunnel syndrome to work activities. When there is no medical evidence to support finding a causal connection between carpal tunnel syndrome and work activities, the Commission should not make legal conclusions to the contrary.
Certification of medical records—What are the safeguards to completeness and accuracy? By Timothy S. McNally December 2009 In reviewing an opponent’s certified medical exhibits prior to trial, how can a practitioner be assured that he or she received complete records?
Despite conviction for battery, claimant was not collaterally estopped from arguing the issue of “aggressor” in a workplace altercation By Cameron B. Clark December 2009 In Bassgar, Inc. v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, 2009 WL 3367053 (Ill.App.3d Dist., October 15, 2009), the Illinois Appellate Court held that the evidence submitted at arbitration supported the Commission’s finding that the claimant was not the initial aggressor in an altercation, and thus claimant’s arm injury was compensable. 
Does a 4(c) petition and/or a rule to show cause survive an approved settlement contract? By Richard D. Hannigan June 2009 On April 14, 2009 the author had the opportunity to be present during the Appellate Court oral argument when two former presidents of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Association went toe-to-toe on a rule to show cause filed by the petitioner’s attorney Richard Aleksy against the adjuster and insurance company who where represented by Ms. Elaine Newquist.
Editor’s notes By Richard D. Hannigan December 2009 Please note that the opinions contained in these articles and interviews are not necessary the opinions of the Illinois State Bar Association and are solely the opinion of the author.
Editor’s notes By Richard D. Hannigan September 2009 An introduction to the issue from Editor Rich Hannigan.
Editor’s notes By Richard D. Hannigan June 2009 An introduction to the issue from Editor Rich Hannigan.
Editor’s notes By Richard D. Hannigan March 2009 An introduction to the issue from Editor Rich Hannigan.
First-grade reading teacher properly calculated AWW By Cameron B. Clark December 2009 In Washington District 50 Schools v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, 2009 WL 3366466 (Ill.App.3d Dist., October 16, 2009), the Illinois Appellate Court, in a case of first impression, found that the time for which a school teacher was retained to work defines her “employment” with regard to the calculation of her average weekly wage under Section 10 of the Act.
Good Samaritan: Hip check to vending machine awarded By Brad E. Bleakney September 2009 The Appellate Court in Circuit City v. Illinois Workers Compensation Commission reviewed the hip check case and reinstated the Commission award but not as a “personal comfort” case but rather affirmed the award as a “Good Samaritan” case, in that he was coming to the aid of a female coworker.
The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act provides only one mechanism under which an arbitrator can recall a decision By Emily E. Borg March 2009 The holding in Smalley Steel Ring Company v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission begs the question as to who maintains jurisdiction over a workers’ compensation claim after a decision has been issued by an Arbitrator, but before the 30 days in which to file an appeal to the Commission has expired.
Interview with Arbitrator Jennifer Teague, January 8, 2009 By Robert C. Nelson March 2009 Get to know more about Arbitrator Jennifer Teague.
Interview with Arbitrator Joann Fratianni By Richard D. Hannigan September 2009 Get to know more about Arbitrator Joann Fratianni.
Interview with Arbitrator Ruth White, May 12, 2009 By Robert C. Nelson June 2009 Get to know more about Arbitrator Ruth White.
Interview with Chairman Amy Masters By Richard D. Hannigan March 2009 Get to know about Amy Masters, chairperson of the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission.
Medical bills: What a dilemma! By Richard D. Hannigan June 2009 Resolving issues regarding medical bills and expenses have become a daunting task for the petitioner’s attorney and the respondent. This is true whether the case is contested or uncontested.  
November 16, 2009 Interview with Arbitrator Edward Lee By Richard D. Hannigan December 2009 Arbitrator Lee, on behalf of the Illinois State Bar Association I would like to thank you for this opportunity to sit down and discuss your background and experience as an arbitrator at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.
Retaliatory discharge: Can a petitioner be fired? A look at Grabs v. Safeway, 2009 WL 1709570 (Ill. App. 1st Dist. 2009) By William R. Gallagher September 2009 Whether you represent petitioners or respondents, the termination of employment of an individual who has sustained a work-related injury is many times a very perplexing and difficult issue to address.
Supreme Court reinstates Commission award of concurrent statutory permanent total disability & scheduled loss of arms By Kevin S. Botha June 2009 The case of Beelman Trucking v. IWCC was appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court, and on May 21, 2009, the Illinois Supreme Court issued its unanimous decision authored by Justice Garman reversing the Appellate Court in part and found that the Petitioner was entitled to both 100 percent loss of use of each arm under §8(e)(10) as well as statutory PTD benefits pursuant to §8(e)(18) as a result of 100 percent loss of use of both legs. 
Undocumented worker is awarded permanent total disability benefits By Kevin S. Botha March 2009 In a landmark decision, Economy Packing Co v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Comm’n, the Appellate Court affirmed an order from the Circuit Court of Cook County which confirmed the decision of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission that awarded the Petitioner permanent total disability benefits pursuant to the Workers’ Compensation Act.
Wallyball: A Section 11 “Recreational” Activity . . . not always By Michelle L. LaFayette December 2009 Webster’s New World Dictionary of American English defines the word “recreation” to mean “refreshment in body or mind, as after work, by some form of play, amusement or relaxation.” ... Recreational activities are therefore those that people use to escape from the pressures of work and everyday life to have fun and relax – exercise, organized sports, etc.
Workers’ Compensation liens and employer’s uninsured motorist coverage By Brad E. Bleakney March 2009 The Illinois Supreme Court rarely decides a workers’ compensation lien case, so attorneys should take the time to study these recent 5(b) lien decisions involving uninsured motorist coverage.