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Lori Cady v. Menard Correctional Center, 13 IWCC 981

Petitioner began employment with Menard Correctional Center as a nurse in November 2008. Petitioner began to notice symptoms in her right foot in May of 2011. Petitioner was diagnosed with a tear to her right Achilles tendon and also right Achilles tendonitis. She filed an Application for Adjustment of Claim with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission alleging an accident date of September 1, 2011. Petitioner alleged that her condition of ill-being to her right foot was a result of repetitive walking.

The case proceeded to hearing on December 11, 2012, before the Arbitrator at the Herrin docket. Petitioner alleged that her right foot condition was from climbing stairs, walking, and standing “periodically all day long”. The Arbitrator found that Petitioner sustained a repetitive trauma injury to her right foot attributable to the requirement that she spend at least six hours a day on her feet, walking, standing, and climbing stairs, and on occasion she would have to work 16 hour days. The Arbitrator awarded 2 2/7 weeks of temporary total disability benefits, and ordered Respondent to authorize and pay for prospective treatment recommended by an orthopedic specialist.

Respondent appealed the 19(b) Arbitration Decision. The Commission reversed the 19(b) decision and denied compensation to Petitioner. In denying benefits, the Commission noted that “the Commission does not believe that the mere act of ‘repetitive standing’ or ‘repetitive walking’ constitutes an accident as contemplated under the Workers’ Compensation Act.”

David Evelsizer v. Menard Correctional Center, 13 IWCC 461

Petitioner was a correctional lieutenant at Menard Correctional Center. He filed an Application for Adjustment of Claim alleging an injury to his left knee as a result of an injury on February 18, 2012. The case proceeded to a 19(b) hearing before an Arbitrator at the Collinsville docket on July 27, 2012.

Respondent disputed that Petitioner sustained an accident within the meaning of the Act. Petitioner testified that on February 18, 2012, he was walking up three flights of stairs to the catwalk to change out the catwalk officers. He testified that he was hurrying up the stairs, not running, and that he was fiddling with the 50 or 60 keys no his key ring in his hand to open. Petitioner testified that while he was walking up those stairs he was searching for the right key on his key ring to open the grille, and that when he got to the next to the last step at the third flight of stairs, right as he was making a 90 degree turn around the corner to the right, he had his weight on his left leg, and as he went up the step his left knee popped. Respondent offered into evidence seven separate documents which failed to confirm the Petitioner’s testimony that he was hurrying up the stairs, fidgeting with his keys, and making a 90 degree turn off the last step with all his weight on his left foot when he sustained his left knee injury.

The Arbitrator found that Petitioner sustained an accidental injury which arose out of and in the course of his employment with the Respondent and that Petitioner’s condition of ill-being to his left knee was causally related to the accident. Petitioner was awarded 1 3/7 weeks of temporary total disability benefits and $4,353.50 in medical expenses, In addition, Respondent was ordered to authorize and pay for left knee surgery recommended by the Petitioner’s treating physician.

Thomas M. Hickman v. Oak Park School District

The Arbitrator found that the petitioner’s current condition of ill-being was only partially medically causally related to the alleged accident. Specifically, the Arbitrator believed that the petitioner’s degenerative knee condition was unrelated to his fall and that his bone on bone arthritis was due to a prior meniscus tear and arthritis from 1986. The petitioner was 10% loss of use of the right leg.

Relative to the payment of temporary total disability benefits, the petitioner sought approximately 85 weeks of benefits. The Arbitrator sided with the independent medical examiner’s opinions that the petitioner’s right knee pain and need for medical care was due to his chronic long-standing, progressive, degenerative arthritis and that there was no evidence that the alleged accident, caused, aggravated or contributed to any symptoms or his need for treatment. The Arbitrator only awarded the period of TTD that had already been paid prior to the IME, or approximately 20 weeks.

As the Arbitrator found that the petitioner had reached maximum medical improvement as of the IME date, the respondent realized a savings relative to any claims for future medical and in particular any claims that the petitioner’s total knee replacement surgery was medically causally connected to the alleged accident. This of course acted as a safeguard against any future Section 8(a) petition seeking future medical care and treatment under this claim.

Rozalyn L. Childs v. Renaissance of South Shore

Steven L. Miller successfully defended a nursing home on the issue of medical causal connection at both arbitration on a 19(b)/8(a) trial and on review at the commission level.

A Certified Nurse Assistant alleged that she slipped and fell on a pool of water falling onto her left side, though testified that she sustained a “jarring” injury to her right side on her way down. The petitioner’s treating physician ultimately opined that the petitioner required surgical intervention to address impingement syndrome in the right shoulder. The respondent successfully relied on an independent medical examiner’s opinion that the petitioner’s physical exam findings were inconsistent with a diagnosis of impingement.

During cross-examination of the treating physician, the doctor admitted that he did not know if the petitioner fell backward or forward, did not know what distance she fell to the floor, did not know what kind of surface she fell on, and did not know what she was doing when she fell. He admitted that he would be in a better, more informed position regarding medical causation if he had known some of those factors. He also admitted that he was “speculating” that the petitioner had a jarring injury to her right side, as he never asked the petitioner this question.

Thomas Culhane v. North Shore School District 112

Decision rendered on May 23, 2014

A 65-year-old school maintenance worker alleged an injury to his right knee on April 17, 2006 after falling down a stairwell. Although the petitioner sustained a compensable injury, the respondent denied that the condition of ill-being, lost time, and need for additional medical treatment were causally connected to the accident. The petitioner’s doctors placed him on varying degrees of work restrictions and rendered multiple treatment recommendations including Synvisc injections, arthroscopy and even a total knee replacement.

In advance of trial, the petitioner's attorney claimed he was seeking temporary total disability benefits from the petitioner’s date of retirement, June 30, 2006, to the present, totaling 403 4/7 weeks or $321,424.46. The petitioner's attorney believed his client would testify that he was “forced to retire” as a result of the accident and consequently sought an award for permanent total disability benefits. The permanent total exposure was approximately $567,000.00. This resulted in an adverse exposure in excess of $800,000.00 including open medical rights on the petitioner’s knee.

In an outstanding investigation, the claims representative uncovered a letter the petitioner drafted and signed in November of 2005 addressed to the school board that expressed his intent to retire on June 30, 2006. Our position was that the petitioner intended to voluntarily remove himself from the workforce as early as November of 2005 (approximately 5 months before the petitioner even sustained the April 2006 accident). We obtained additional evidence that the petitioner accepted a monetary incentive taking advantage of an early retirement program.

  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Workers' Compensation Lawyers Association
  • IRTB
  • DRI - The Voice of the Defense Bar
  • The Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel
  • Illinois Self-Insurers' Association
  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Workers' Compensation Lawyers Association
  • IRTB
  • DRI - The Voice of the Defense Bar
  • The Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel
  • Illinois Self-Insurers' Association
10 South LaSalle Street, Suite 900
Chicago, IL 60603
Phone: 312-425-3131
211 Landmark Drive, Suite C2
Normal, IL 61761
Phone: 309-862-4914
One Metropolitan Square
211 North Broadway, Suite 2200
St. Louis, MO 63102
Phone: 314-300-0527
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