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312-425-3131

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

211 Landmark Drive, Suite C2, Normal, IL 61761

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Precision in Litigation Cuts Large MSA by Almost Half

May 2019

By: Paul W. Pasche

The claimant, a certified nursing assistant, injured her right hand when a patient grabbed it, squeezing and twisting.

Her treating physician found no significant bone or muscle injury, but nevertheless diagnosed complex regional pain syndrome of the right upper extremity. Within eleven months of the accident, a spinal cord stimulator was implanted to control claimant’s right hand and arm pain.

Over a year later, the claimant first complained of left hand and thorax pain. The claimant’s physician diagnosed complex regional pain syndrome “spreading to the left upper extremity.” The employer’s examining expert disagreed, noting not only the time delay in reporting left side symptoms, but also that the claimant’s left-sided symptoms were not consistent with chronic regional pain syndrome. There was also an issue as to the level of work the claimant could perform on a permanent basis.

Must Petitioner Take a Transitional Job?

May 2019

By: Francis M. Brady

“The Act is meant to compensate a claimant for economic disabilities that diminishes his value in the labor market…” And of course “(it’s) remedial in nature.”

These statements and pronouncements of their ilk are familiar to Illinois employers and representatives. Made by the Commission or Courts, they instinctively lead to the sinking realization that: “We’ve lost another one.”

Limiting The Impact of Opioids

April 2019

By: Francis M. Brady

Outside of “medical marijuana,” the term most often heard recently regarding healthcare in Illinois, and by extension, workers’ compensation practice, is “opioid crisis.” Unlike the alarm over marijuana, where there is no actual experience underlying the sense of foreboding, concerns over opioid usage are founded upon hard data.1

Per the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), opioids are “a class of drugs that include heroin; common prescription pain relievers such as oxycodone and hydrocodone (Vicodin, Percocet, Oxycontin); and, synthetically manufactured analogs such as Fentanyl.” The IDPH warns that “…physical tolerance to opioids can develop in as few as 2-3 days of continuous use...opioids affect respiratory regulation of the brain and an overdose can cause someone to stop breathing…”

Stormy Weather for Parking Lot Falls

April 2019

By: Charles M. Maring, II

Employee accidents in parking lots on the employers’ premises can present a “slippery” analysis in determining compensability. A recent decision from the Court of Appeals, Cher Smith v. IWCC et al., suggests a new standard for determining compensability in these cases.

Before discussing the case facts, we should point out a procedural issue. The Smith case was decided under Rule 23 meaning it will not be published and is not controlling on any future case. That could change but as of right now, publication is not expected.

“The Hand That Feeds Us”

April 2019

By: Steven L. Miller

The Illinois Appellate Court recently addressed the issue of whether an employee’s repetitive movement while on the job constituted an “accident” as defined by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.

The petitioner, best described as a “waitress/trainer/manager” was, on a busy day at a restaurant chain, keeping the dining room clean and moving quickly to keep up with the flow of customers. Although she was a manager, she started bussing tables herself and carrying tubs of dirty dishes out of the dining room to help keep things tidy. She testified that she was “busy as all get out,” which Merriam-Webster defines as “to the utmost conceivable degree.” While swiftly wiping down a table, she felt and heard a loud “pop” in her right hand. The petitioner ultimately was off of work for over 2 1/2 years and underwent five surgeries to her hand/thumb. After deciding to forego a recommended thumb amputation, she received permanent restrictions.

The Contribution Act Allows Contribution between Two Principals Vicariously Liable for the Negligence of a Common Agent

March 2019

By: Courtney Morso Driscoll

The Illinois Supreme Court recently held one principal could seek contribution from another principal, both of whom were held vicariously liable due to the acts of the same agent. In Sperl v. Henry, 2018 IL 123132 (IL), C.H. Robinson Company (“CHR”) and Toad L. Dragonfly Express, Inc. (“Dragonfly”) were both found vicariously liable due to the acts of DeAn Henry. CHR was a logistics company that contracted with licensed carriers to transport goods to its customers, one of which was Jewel Food Stores (“Jewel”). Henry leased a semi-tractor to Dragonfly, a federally licensed motor carrier. Through Dragonfly, Henry agreed to deliver goods for CHR to Jewel.

In the course of her delivery, Henry ran over multiple vehicles, killing plaintiffs, Joseph Sperl and Thomas Sanders, and seriously injuring plaintiff William Taluc. As a result of this accident, suit was filed against Henry, CHR, and Dragonfly for wrongful death, survival, and personal injuries.

Henry admitted negligence and liability. Dragonfly admitted liability and “united” negligence with Henry. CHR denied liability and filed a contribution action against Henry and Dragonfly. At trial, the jury found CHR was vicariously liable for Henry’s action because Henry was an agent of CHR. The jury awarded the plaintiff’s $23,775,000.00, finding CHR, Dragonfly, and Henry were jointly and severely liable for the damages.

  • 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
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