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


BCM proves that petitioner who claims to have lost all her memories, except for how her accident occurred, is not permanently and totally disabled

Mark F. Vizza tried this case on behalf of the respondent. This matter involves a woman who alleges she suffered an accident arising out of and in the course of employment when coming out of the bathroom stall she tripped on a bucket and hit her head. Susan Davis vs. American Heritage Protection, 03 WC 27813. She alleges that since that day in 2003, she has no memory of any aspect of her prior life, except for how her accident occurred.

Accident and causal connection were disputed in this matter. This matter went to trial before Arbitrator Edward Lee of the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission, and after hearing testimony from the petitioner and all the medical evidence regarding this case, awarded the petitioner 104 weeks temporary total disability benefits and 15% loss of use of the man as a whole and $20,000.00 in medical.

The petitioner had requested that she be found permanently and totally disabled, as she was claiming she was unable to return to any employment as she had forgotten all her training as a security guard and was nervous in crowds or around people after her accident. She contended that four years after the accident, she still did not remember any aspects of her life prior to the alleged accident. She did not remember her husband, her children, her sisters, or any other aspect of her life.

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.

Union Painter's Neck

BCM's Peter Stavropoulos Secures Zero Award, Proving Union Painter's Neck Condition is Not Related to Work Activities

Peter J. Stavropoulos prevailed on a repetitive trauma claim brought by a union painter and secured a “zero” award from the Arbitrator on October 29, 2012, which was affirmed by the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission on December 19, 2013. The petitioner claimed a neck injury as a result of painting a ceiling on an industrial painting job over the course of 5 months. Petitioner was seeking $83,097.50 in temporary total disability benefits accrued at the time of trial and continuing beyond that at a rate of $966.25 per week ($109,186.25 in additional temporary total disability at the time of the Commission Decision), $35,165.28 for incurred medical expenses and future medical including a 2-level cervical fusion.

The Arbitrator held that the petitioner did not suffer an accident. Petitioner claimed that his job duties required him to look up while painting a ceiling for 8 hours per day every day. The Arbitrator found the petitioner not to be credible and, instead, sided with the employer's witness, finding that the petitioner's job duties were credibly described by the insured and “did not result in a repetitive trauma to the petitioner.” The insured's witness testified about the variety of job duties performed by the painters on the project, the amount of down time, the time spent setting up and breaking down as well as the fact that the project required painting more than just ceilings.

Arbitrator adopts IME doctor over treater

Mark Vizza prevailed in the case of Jerry Pratt v. Vactor Manufacturing. The Arbitrator found that the petitioner's present condition of ill-being is not causally-related to any accident arising out of the course of the petitioner's employment with the Respondent.

Arbitrator Granada in his Decision noted that he was persuaded by the opinions of Dr. Breslow, respondent's Section 12 doctor, when compared to those of Dr. Chudik, the treating physician. Dr. Chudik had originally diagnosed a tear of the lateral cartilage of the meniscus current and an old bucket handle tear of the medial meniscus. He then performed orthopedic surgery and found that diagnosis was incorrect. He then performed a right chondroplasty with abrasionplasty. At no time prior to the operation did Dr. Chudik ever diagnose the petitioner with chondromalacia. The Arbitrator found that it was apparent that the petitioner suffered a contusion and had increased pain in his right knee. The Arbitrator found there is no indication that the chondromalacia found by Dr. Chudik was caused or aggravated by the accident. The petitioner was then seen by Dr. Rhode who stated he was unclear as to the condition the petitioner was suffering from at the time of the accident.

The petitioner in his Proposed Decision requested that the Arbitrator award the petitioner 12-2/7 weeks temporary total disability benefits, $18,374.50 in medical, and a hold harmless for the medical paid by the group carrier in the amount of $2,379.50. The petitioner then also requested that the Arbitrator find that the petitioner had suffered the loss of use of the right leg to the extent of 22.5% loss of use. The 22.5% loss of use of the leg had a dollar figure of $24,959.57. Arbitrator Granada did not award any temporary total disability benefits, awarded approximately $835.00 in medical expenses and 5% loss of use of the leg. The Decision resulted in a net savings to the client of approximately $45,000.00.

BCM Prevents Petitioners' Second Bite of the Apple

BCM Prevents Petitioner's Second Bite of the Apple

Beverly N. Masuda successfully prevented petitioner from recovering from a recurrence of injury based on the same condition for which he obtained a settlement seven months prior.

Petitioner, a 34 year old assembler in a warehouse distribution center, initially claimed an injury to his left wrist in February, 2006. According to the Lump Sum Settlement Contract, after using a freight walker for 7 hours, he noticed a lump on the top of the left wrist. The pain was localized in the dorsal aspect of the proximal wrist where a painful "knot" was identified. Petitioner received injections to the left wrist, ultimately was released to return to work, full duty, and he settled his claim for 5% loss of use of the left hand. Settlement contracts were approved on June 2, 2006.

On September 22, 2006, petitioner claimed re-injury as a result of performing his usual work activities which included operation of a pallet jack via hand controls. Petitioner resumed treatment, and gave a history of recurrence of the same symptoms he had following the accident of February, 2006. The treating physician diagnosed a possible recurrence of a ganglion cyst which was confirmed by MRI studies. The cyst was surgically excised on November 22, 2006. Post‑operatively, petitioner was restricted to light duty, then released to full duties, effective January 23, 2007.

The respondent introduced treating records from both dates of accident, showing that symptoms as a result of both occurrences were similar, if not identical. The respondent also introduced expert opinion that ganglion cysts take weeks to months to develop and are not the result of a single isolated event. Additionally, respondent's expert opined that when ganglion cysts are removed from the dorsum of the wrist, the pathology is degenerative. The respondent's expert further indicated that there was no medical literature which supported the petitioner's claim that his job duties exposed him to any significant risk for the development of a ganglion cyst.

  • 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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