Case Results


10 South LaSalle Street, Suite 900, Chicago, IL 60603

211 Landmark Drive, Suite C2, Normal, IL 61761

1015 Locust Street, Suite 914, St. Louis, MO 63101


Petitioner's failure to follow employer's reporting protocol helps prove accident did not occur

Noah Hamann recently obtained a favorable verdict from the Illinois Appellate Court in Mark Karnes v. Wright Tree Service, 03-13-0140WC. All issues were in dispute on an appeal by the petitioner following victories by the defense at Arbitration, the Commission and the Peoria County Circuit Court. During the appeal process petitioner's attorney was unwilling to settle for anything other than full trial value and continued medical treatment involving a left shoulder acromioplasty. Petitioner's last settlement demand was $100,000.00.

The case involved two alleged dated of accidents, 10/18/06 affecting the left shoulder and 4/7/07 affecting the right elbow and left shoulder. In the 2006 incident, petitioner claimed he was holding a chainsaw in his right hand while cutting branches that he was holding in his left hand. The petitioner claimed that when he sawed the branch, it dropped and the petitioner felt a pop in his left shoulder. With regard to the 2007 incident, the petitioner denied any acute injury but complained of general soreness to his right elbow and left shoulder as a result of his work duties. The petitioner attempted to argue that the 2007 condition was a continuation of the 2006 condition.

At arbitration, the alleged accident of 2006 was disputed in entirety. Through witness testimony, it was shown that the company had clear procedures in place for reporting injuries. The petitioner knew these procedures as he reported an injury following the alleged 2007 accident. In 2007 an accident report was filed, a workers' compensation claim was submitted to the insurance carrier and the petitioner was given medical treatment. Petitioner's supervisor testified petitioner did not report an injury in 2006.

William D. Brewster successfully convinced

William D. Brewster successfully convinced the Arbitrator to reject the petitioner's theory of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and neurotoxicity causing permanent and total disability.


While cleaning a computer lab at Hillcrest High School in June of 1996, the petitioner was sprayed, from a distance of a few feet on the back of her neck with Dust-Off by a co-employee. While originally telling medical providers that the Dust-Off straw was placed in her ear canal, she admitted at trial that she was simply sprayed from behind, with the straw never touching her body. Over the next 13 years the petitioner visited over 20 physicians/facilities, with complaints from head to toe, including: itching and burning eyes; dermatitis; chemical sensitivity; headaches; dry eyes and dry throat syndrome; dry mouth; blurred vision; tingling and numbness; organic brain dysfunction; nausea; high blood pressure; photophobia; electric shocks down her body; memory loss; confusion and poor concentration; decreased sense of smell and appetite; crying spells; hypertension; and depression; insomnia; weight loss; chronic fatigue, anxiety and respiratory distress, all of which she claims prevented her from working. At the time of the trial, the petitioner had not worked in over nine years.

While readily admitting the incident itself, the respondent relied on several independent medical examiners, including Neurotoxicologist, Dr. David Hartman and Board-Certified Occupational Disease Specialist, Dr. Shirley Conibear.

John P. Connolly successfully defended the employer

John P. Connolly successfully defended the employer in a claim involving an altercation between a teacher and students. The Arbitrator rejected the petitioner's claim for hearing loss, additional lost time, and future medical benefits.

Petitioner, a teacher for the respondent, was involved in an altercation which resulted in her slipping and falling.  There existed ongoing disputes regarding whether the petitioner suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and whether the petitioner had sustained hearing loss due to the altercation and fall.  After securing the evidence depositions of the treating and examining physicians, the matter proceeded to trial. 

At trial, the petitioner sought workers' compensation benefits totaling $69,685.30 representing 10 weeks of temporary total disability benefits, outstanding medical benefits, and 20% loss of use of the person as a whole.

The respondent was successful in rejecting the petitioner's request for additional medical and temporary total disability benefits and the Arbitrator awarded permanent partial disability benefits in the amount of 3% loss of use of the person as a whole, or $8,518.05.

M. Williams vs. Excel Inn of Rockford

Case tried before Arbitrator Peter Akemann in Rockford on May 19, 2010. 

Decision entered:  June 9, 2010

The Arbitrator finds that on May 30, 2006, the petitioner sustained an accident that arose out of and in the course of her employment, but that the petitioner's current condition of ill-being is not causally related to the accident.

The Arbitrator denies the petitioner's request for medical bills, denies the petitioner's request for 180 weeks of TTD benefits, denies the petitioner's request for an odd lot permanent total award and finds that the petitioner's request for disability under nature and extent is also denied and, therefore, awards zero on all issues.

The Facts:  The petitioner was hired as a night auditor for the Excel Inn of  Rockford approximately three months before the robbery in question on May 30, 2006.  On that date, two masked assailants entered the front door of the Excel Inn with guns drawn and demanding money.  Petitioner testified at trial that during the robbery one of the assailants escorted her to the bathroom where he sexually fondled and molested her.  A surveillance video of the robbery shows the petitioner in the bathroom with the assailant for approximately 35 seconds and when she exits the bathroom she is fully clothed with both hands duct taped behind her. She then kicked on the door of her manager, Carol Raupp, who then called 911.

John P. Connolly successfully defended an elevator manufacturer

John P. Connolly successfully defended an elevator manufacturer in a case involving an elevator repairman who underwent an arthroscopic repair of the anterior labrum and debridement of the posterior tears of the shoulder.

The petitioner underwent physical therapy, returned to work with restrictions, and eventually was released to full duty.

Prior to trial, the petitioner demanded 45% loss of use of the arm, or $60,052.25.  This matter proceeded to trial regarding the nature and extent of the petitioner's alleged condition of ill-being.  Although the petitioner testified that he continued to have difficulty in performing his day-to-day responsibilities and needed assistance to perform his job.  Respondent successfully rebutted the petitioner's allegations with medical evidence as well as the testimony of a co-worker.  Petitioner's co-worker testified that he did not observe anything unusual or that the petitioner had any limitations in performing his job duties.

 Respondent recommended that the Arbitrator award 22.5% loss of use of the arm.  The Arbitrator, in essence, adopted the respondent's position awarding the petitioner 25% loss of use of the arm, or $33,362.36.  This resulted in a savings to the respondent/employer in the amount of $26,689.89.

  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Workers' Compensation Lawyers Association
  • DRI
  • The Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel
  • Illinois Self-Insurers' Association
  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Workers' Compensation Lawyers Association
  • DRI
  • 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
1015 Locust Street, Suite 914
St. Louis, MO 63101
Phone: 314-300-0527
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