I&F Welcomes New Associates to Chicago and Champaign Offices

Inman & Fitzgibbons is pleased to announce that Allison Mecher and Michelle Bryant have joined the firm and will be based in our Chicago office.

Allison graduated from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 2009 and worked as a law clerk for a medical malpractice defense firm for two years during law school.  She then clerked for a federal Administrative Law Judge at the Social Security Administration from 2010 to 2015.

She is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association and the Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Association. She is also an active member of the Imerman Angels Professionals Board, teaches fitness classes, and is a Chicago Marathon runner.

Michelle graduated from University of Illinois -Chicago and attended Law School at Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan, where her area of concentration was litigation. Prior to joining Inman & Fitzgibbons, Michelle represented the City of Chicago and gained significant experience litigating all disputes arising before the Illinois Worker’s Compensation Commission. Michelle also has experience litigating general liability insurance defense cases, criminal and family law. She has also served as law clerk for a Circuit Court Judge.

Michelle is a member of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Association, Chicago Bar Association, Cook County Bar Association, and Illinois State Bar Association.

Inman & Fitzgibbons is also pleased to announce that Frank Johnston has joined the firm and will be based in our Champaign office. He has close to 10 years of legal experience, with five years of experience in litigation, having gone to trial as defense counsel in over 50 trials.

Frank is a member of the Champaign County Bar Association, Vermilion County Bar Association, founding member of the Young Lawyers Network, and Champaign County Young Lawyers division. He has presented topics to the Champaign and Vermilion County Bar as well as lead the Young Lawyers Network.

 

Inman & Fitzgibbons announces Jynnifer Bates as Partner

IMG_8399

Partner Jynnifer Bates pictured with her family

Inman & Fitzgibbons is pleased to announce that Jynnifer Bates has become a partner with the firm. She has served as associate attorney with our firm in the Chicago office since 2007 after graduating from The Ohio State University Michael E. Moritz College of Law.  We congratulate her on this achievement and wish her continued success .

Please join us in congratulating Jynnifer, and if you would like to learn more about her, you can view her profile on our website.

IWCC unanimously affirms I&F win in claim filed by a tire technician

As previously reported, the claimant alleged that removing and installing tires with an air gun, in conjunction with the use of a torque wrench to tighten nuts, resulted left carpal tunnel syndrome, lumbar radiculopathy, cervical radiculopathy, and left ulnar neuropathy.  Prior to trial, partner Scott McCain thoroughly investigated the petitioner’s job duties by speaking with the claimant’s supervisor and the claimant’s co-workers.

The claimant testified that the number of cars that he worked on varied on a daily basis, and that the maximum number of cars he worked on per day was  8.  The claimant also acknowledged that there was a maximum of 32 tires changed in an 8 hour work day. While not working on cars, the claimant would stock the warehouse and change flat tires. Furthermore, I & F  elicited an admission from the claimant that he never experienced cervical pain or left elbow pain at work.  The Arbitrator concluded that the level of work the petitioner testified to was insufficient to have caused a repetitive trauma injury, and found that the petitioner did not sustain an accident arising out of and in the course of his employment.

The petitioner appealed the decision to the IWCC. In a unanimous decision, the IWCC affirmed and adopted the decision of the Arbitrator. We await a decision by petitioner’s counsel as to whether an appeal to the Circuit Court will be filed.

I&F to Present at Illinois Chamber’s HR Training Seminar

gsteve

As an Illinois workers’ compensation defense attorney for the past 19 years, G. Steven Murdock of Inman & Fitzgibbons has not yet seen it all, but he and his firm have seen many claims handling mistakes, mistaken assumptions of law, and obligation oversights in the handling of claims by employers, carriers and third-party claims administrators.

In this 90-minute presentation, Mr. Murdock will hit on some of the myths and pitfalls of employers and their claims administrators and provide ways of avoiding them with the goal to help attendees discuss these beyond this presentation and prevent these in the future.

REGISTRATION:
Thurs, March 31, 2016 – 9:30 am – 11:00 am 
300 S. Wacker Dr., 8th Floor Conference Room,
Chicago, 60601

OR 

Fri, April 1, 2016 – 7:30 am – 9:00 am
750 Warrenville Road, Ste 400,
Lisle, 60532

Both locations include light breakfast, all written materials, and certificate

Early Bird – (for everybody – sign up before Mar 21) – $40.00
Member (For members of Illinois Chamber or local Chamber partners) – $50.00
Non-Member – $60.00

This seminar is pre-approved to offer 1.5 HRCI credits
This seminar is pre-approved to offer 1.5 SHRM- PDCs
This seminar is submitted for approval to offer 1.5 CLEs

To register or for questions about this event contact Pam Holleman:

(855) 239-6150 or pholleman@ilchamber.org

Who Can Recover PPD after an injured worker Dies?

The Fourth District Appellate Court recently addressed the issue of who can obtain a PPD award when a case is litigated after the petitioner passes away. In Bell v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Comm’n, 2015 IL App (4th) 140028WC, Ms. Nash, the injured employee and original claimant, reached MMI for her work-related injury on August 27, 2008 and died of causes unrelated to her work-related injuries on August 19, 2010.  Ms. Bell, the injured worker’s sister, became the administrator of Ms. Nash’s estate and substituted herself as the claimant.  Ms. Nash had no surviving spouse or dependants.

The arbitration hearing took place on June 25, 2012 and the Arbitrator found that, while Ms. Nash has experienced a permanent partial disability as a result of her accident, the language of the Act only allowed a deceased employee’s spouse or eligible dependent to recover an award for PPD benefits.  Since Ms. Nash had no dependents, the Arbitrator found that Ms. Nash’s estate was not entitled to an award for PPD benefits.

The Commission unanimously affirmed and adopted the Arbitrator’s decision and the Circuit Court of Coles County then confirmed the Commission’s decision.  The Fourth District Appellate Court, however, reversed and remanded.  The Court first ruled that the Sections 8(e)(19) and 8(h) of the Act only specified who benefits should be paid to when an injured worker dies, and was not intended to limit beneficiaries of a workers’ compensation claim to only surviving spouses and dependents.

The Court further found that, while an injured employee’s death extinguishes any right to recovery for payments due after the employee’s death, the decedent’s estate is entitled to payments accrued up to the date of the death of the injured worker.  The Court also found that PPD benefits in this case had accrued prior to Ms. Nash’s death and were “payable, due, and owing.” Id.  “[The estate] does not seek future installment payments that would have accrued and become payable to Ms. Nash on some future date had she survived.”  Id.  The Court reasoned that PPD benefits serve as compensation for a diminishment of earning capacity; due to the fact that they share this trait with TTD, the Court decided that PPD benefits that accrued while a claimant was alive are payable to the estate.

The Court also provided a policy reason for their decision, explaining that if they were to rule otherwise that employers would then have an incentive to litigate and delay cases indefinitely until an injured worker dies.

The Court’s ruling in this case indicates that an injured worker’s estate can always obtain the benefits that accrued for a injured worker before their death, regardless of who the estate will ultimately pay those benefits out to.

Thanks to attorney Michael Bantz for the excellent summary and stay tuned to the I&F blog for ongoing updates on the evolving state of Illinois Workers’ Compensation, and feel free to contact us if you have any questions on this or any other Workers’ Compensation issues!

I&F Establishes Petitioner’s Ongoing Condition of Ill-being Not Related to Accident

michael-bantz

Attorney Michael Bantz recently prevailed in a trial over the disputed issue of whether the Petitioner’s ongoing medical conditions was causally related to her accident.  The Petitioner had injured her low back while attempting to open a broken dishwasher.  The claim was initially accepted and medical treatment had been approved, until an independent medical examiner opined that the Petitioner had recovered from all of her injuries that were related to her accident and opined that any further treatment for the Petitioner’s low back was unrelated to her work accident.

The Petitioner alleged that a recommendation for a spinal cord stimulator was related to her alleged accident and the case was tried on this issue, as well as over additional disputed medical treatment and allegedly owed past and ongoing TTD.  The Arbitrator found the Respondent’s evidence and arguments to be more persuasive and awarded no benefits to the Petitioner.  The Petitioner did not file a petition to seek review of the Arbitrator’s decision by the Commission.

I&F Successfully Defends Bank CEO’s Stress Claim

Managing partner Tom Fitzgibbons scored an impressive victory from the Commission and for all Illinois employers in overturning an award of permanent total disability awarded for an alleged mental-mental stress claim.  In that case, the claimant, an attorney and CEO of a bank, alleged that she suffered sudden, severe mental trauma in June 2009 after hearing in a telephone call that the FDIC was investigating her and the bank and that she may be demoted and/or removed from CEO of the bank due to possible criminal activity.  She alleged that she collapsed after the telephone call and had to be hospitalized for severe depression and stress from which she was unable to recover.  In a unanimous decision, the Commission found that the petitioner failed to sufficiently allege a work related accident and that her condition was not causally related to her work duties.  Specifically, the Commission found that she experienced the same risk that every employee faces due to a downturn in the economy and due to the threat of possible demotion or termination.  The Commission also found the fact that her position as a CEO came with stress could not be used to lower the threshold required under the Act to meet the requirements of compensability for a mental-mental case without physical injury. The Commission also noted that she was the aware that the bank was being investigated by the FDIC since early 2008 as well as in a meeting with FDIC officials shortly before the date of accident and therefore, she could not have been suddenly surprised on June 11, 2009 when she learned the FDIC might require her resignation.  The medical records at trial also showed that she had been worried about the bank for many months after the financial crisis in 2008 and that she had a history of similar psychological symptoms and treatment for melancholic depression/stress that predated the accident date. Therefore, the Commission held that she failed to prove a sudden, severe emotional shock traceable to a definite time, place and event as required under the Illinois Supreme Court case of Pathfinder v Industrial Commission, 343 N.E.2d 913 (Ill.1976).

Appellate Court Analyzes “Increased Risk” for Traveling Employee

The First District Appellate Court recently examined the compensability of an accident involving a traveling employee and evaluated whether the claimant was at a risk greater than that of the general public.

In Nee v. Illinois Workers’ Comp. Comm’n, 2015 IL App (1st) 132609WC, the claimant, a plumbing inspector for the City of Chicago, had to travel to approximately five to seven different sites each work day.  The claimant had finished an inspection and was on his way to another when he tripped on a curb and fell, injuring his knee.

Arbitrator Kane found that the petitioner’s accident arose out of and in the course of his employment; the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission then unanimously reversed and the Circuit Court confirmed that reversal.

The First District Appellate Court found that the claimant’s act of stepping up on the curb was clearly reasonable and foreseeable; accordingly, the accident occurred in the course of his employment.  Nevertheless, the Court decided that further analysis was necessary, stating, “However, the fact that a claimant is a traveling employee does not relieve him of the burden of proving that his injury arose out of his employment.”

The Court then listed the types of risk an employee may face: (1) risks that are distinctly associated with the employment: (2) risks that are personal to the employee; and (3) neutral risks that do not have any particular employment or personal characteristics.  The Court found the petitioner’s risk in this instance to be neutral and noted that there was nothing unusual about this particular curb.  Furthermore, the Court reiterated that in order for an accident involving a neutral risk to be compensable, the claimant must have been exposed to a greater risk than that of the general public.

The Court then decided that, as a traveling employee, the claimant was presumed to have been exposed to a greater degree of risk than that of the general public, citing the “street risk” doctrine.  Based on this rationale, the Court determined that the petitioner’s accident arose out of his employment, in addition to deciding that the accident occurred in the course of his employment, and reversed the Circuit Court and Commission.

Separating an analysis of traveling employees into (1) a determination of whether the actions of employee at the time of the accident were “reasonable and foreseeable” for the issue of whether an accident was in the course of employment and then (2) a determination of whether the risk that an employee faces meets the threshold of arising out of their employment, is a *massive* step in the right direction for Illinois employers given that the Commission has historically avoided performing a separate risk analysis in these cases.  Traveling employee cases often require a layered examination of the issues involved and Inman & Fitzgibbons will continue to keep you updated on the case law developments affecting traveling employees and, of course, don’t hesitate to contact us if you have questions or concerns on the topic!

I&F Welcomes Sonia Das to our new Indianapolis Office

Inman & Fitzgibbons is pleased to announce that Sonia Das has joined the firm and will be based in our newly relocated Indianapolis office.  Sonia is a Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rated AV attorney with fifteen years of experience defending worker’s compensation claims throughout the state of Indiana.  Sonia has experience litigating all disputes arising before the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Board.  She also has experience litigating worker’s compensation issues in civil courts, including exclusive remedy defense and coverage issues. Sonia also has experience in the areas of appellate law, insurance coverage litigation, asbestos defense, and general liability insurance defense litigation.

Sonia is a frequent author and speaker on worker’s compensation topics.  She is the current Chair of the Diversity Committee for the Indiana State Bar Association–the largest bar association in the state of Indiana with a membership of over 12,000 legal professionals–and has also served on its Board of Governors.  She is also a member of the Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana (Worker’s Compensation Section, former Chair), Indianapolis Bar Association, Defense Research Institute and is an Indiana affiliate member of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association.

Sonia can be reached at our new Indiana location:
9165 OTIS AVE
SUITE 215
INDIANAPOLIS, IN 46216
T: 317-215-5666

Beware Disruptive Children and Children with Chairs!

In a pair of cases wherein an employee of a children’s educational center allegedly sustained to accidental injuries to her spine, Partner Steve Murdock of our office disproved both claims resulting in a pair of “no liability” decisions for our client.

In the first, the claimant claimed she injured her cervical spine when a disruptive child yanked on a lanyard around the claimant’s neck.  However, the lanyard was a “break away” lanyard, and the medical history did not coincide with the claimed date of the incident.  The arbitrator found the claimant failed so produce credible evidence of a compensable accident and denied the claim.

In the second claim, the petitioner alleged she was injured when a child struck her in the back with a chair.  Little did she realize that credible witnesses from the employer would show that the chair in question was a five-pound, hollow, plastic chair wielded by a 50-pound 7-year old child, who merely bumped the petitioner in the back as the child passed the claimant.  The arbitrator found the claimant’s testimony that her back was injured to the point of requiring a lumbar fusion to be not credible and found that the evidence was insufficient to establish a causal connection between the alleged accident and the lumbar fusion.  That claim was also denied on all issues.  A Petition for Review was not filed.

I&F and the Illinois Chamber of Commerce Present Webinar

webinar

Partner Steve Murdock and the Illinois Chamber will be presenting a webinar on August 18, 2015 on the issue of defending alleged wage differential and PTD claims in Illinois.  As our clients know all too well, the costs to employers for employees suffering career-ending injuries can be staggering. With this webinar, you will learn how the law works for these claims, some of the key identifiers for early handling of these claims and some suggested strategies for minimizing the overall costs for the claim.

REGISTRATION INFORMATION:

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

10:30 am – 12:00 pm

Early Bird – (For everybody) – Sign up before August 8th- $110

Member – (For members of Illinois Chamber and local chamber partners) – $129

Retail – $159

 

This webinar has been pre-approved to offer 1.5 HRCI credits.

This webinar has been submitted for approval to offer 1.5 CLE credits.

This webinar has been pre-approved to offer 1.5 SHRM Professional Development Credits (PDCs).

To register or for more information call Pam Holleman, HR Specialist/ Event & Publication Sales at 855-239-6150 or pholleman@ilchamber.org.

Confirmation of Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission Chairman and Commissioner Appointments

On April 30th 2015, the Illinois General Assembly took action on IWCC Executive Appointments. The appointments of Chairman Joann Fratianni, and Commissioner Joshua Luskin and the re-appointments of Commissioners Charles DeVriendt, David Gore, and Kevin Lamborn were voted out of the Senate Executive Appointments Committee and immediately sent to the full Senate where they all passed without any opposition.   This was the final step to officially serve in their capacity as IWCC Chairman and Commissioners.   

Applying Credits for Prior Cases in IL is Simple, Except When it’s Not

If a claimant has had a prior settlement or award for a loss of a body part, other than for a loss of the person as a whole, you can and should apply that credit to any future settlement or award to the same body part.  Generally speaking, you can apply this credit by deducting the prior percentage of loss from the new percentage.  For instance, if a case is being settled for 15% loss of the right hand and the petitioner was previously awarded 5% loss of the right hand, then the amount of the settlement should be reduced to a net 10% loss of the right hand.

However, there are some additional considerations to keep in mind.  When applying a credit for an injury that occurred prior to February 1, 2006 (the effective date of the IWCA amendments from that year), except for dates of injury between July 20, 2005 and November 15, 2005, you have to deduct the number of weeks of loss from that prior credit rather than the percentages.  This is due to the fact that those amendments altered the total number of weeks for each body part.  This rule was applied recently in the Arbitration decision for Robert W. Smith, Petitioner v. Cont’l Tire of N. Americas, Inc., Respondent, 11 IL. W.C. 37913 (Ill. Indus. Com’n Oct. 27, 2014).

Also, keep in mind that that for shoulder injuries that resulted in an award or settlement for loss of the arm prior to Will County (decided February 17, 2012), a credit can be applied to future awards or settlements for that same arm.  For more information, see Stanford Dorsey, Petitioner v. City of Chicago, Respondent, 13 IL. W.C. 03624 (Ill. Indus. Com’n Jan. 3, 2014).  Unfortunately, a shoulder award or settlement from before Will County cannot be applied to another injury to that same shoulder, due to the fact that the more recent shoulder injury would now be classified as a loss of the person as whole.

Thanks to attorney Michael Bantz for this succinct summary.  If you have any questions or concerns regarding the application of a credit, don’t hesitate to contact us!

Pre-Existing Rotator Cuff Tear Not Compensable

In September 2013, I&F attorney Lauren Waninski recorded a win in a disputed case involving a claimant who alleged a rotator cuff tear after an altercation at work.  The claimant filed a review to the Circuit Court of Morgan County.  The parties proceeded with oral arguments and in February 2015, Lauren Waninski received an Order affirming the Decision of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission finding that the petitioner did not sustain an accident and rendering all other issues moot.

The dispute over the alleged rotator cuff injury was based on the medical evidence.  The claimant had undergone a diagnostic study several days prior to his alleged date of injury which showed proof of a rotator cuff tear.  In a trial that included physician depositions and testimony from the claimant, the Arbitrator found that the claimant failed to meet his burden of proof that an accident arose out of and in the course of his employment with the employer with respect to the alleged right shoulder injury.  The Arbitration Decision was affirmed unanimously by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission and now by the Circuit Court of Morgan County.  In defeating the claimed injury to the right shoulder, Lauren saved the employer potential trial exposure up to $47,000.00.

The case has not been appealed to the Appellate Court.

Arbitrator Rejects Petitioner’s Claim of Permanent & Total Disability

We are pleased to announce the receipt of a favorable arbitration decision finding that the petitioner failed to prove he was permanently and totally disabled.  The petitioner, a pipefitter, injured his right knee and underwent surgery but continued to have problems.  He had a second surgery without much improvement.  He was eventually released to return back to work with restrictions which could not be accommodated by the insured.  Vocational rehabilitation was initiated without success.

After a pre-trial before the Arbitrator, the Respondent agreed to pay for the petitioner to return to school to learn surveying.  Schooling issues arose regarding the appropriate program for the petitioner to attend and the petitioner quit school and settlement negotiations ensued without success.  Additional job efforts were not successful.  Following another pre-trial recommendation , the petitioner returned to school and received a welding certificate.  Again, vocational efforts were fruitless and the petitioner claimed he was permanently and totally disabled. Settlement attempts were not successful and the case proceeded to trial.  At trial, we argued, using the testimony of our vocational experts, that the petitioner was uncooperative with vocational efforts and the Arbitrator agreed.    Prior to trial, the permanent total settlement demand was $500,000 and full payment of a permanent total award over the petitioner’s lifetime exceeded $1 million.  Congratulations to veteran attorney Jill Baker for the outstanding result.

Tire Technician’s Claim Falls Flat

Veteran attorney Scott McCain recently prevailed  in defense of a repetitive trauma claim filed by a tire technician.  In this case, the claimant alleged that removing and installing tires with an air gun, in conjunction with the use of a torque wrench to tighten nuts, resulted left carpal tunnel syndrome, lumbar radiculopathy, cervical radiculopathy, and left ulnar neuropathy.  Prior to trial, we thoroughly investigated the petitioner’s job duties by speaking with the claimant’s supervisor and the claimant’s co-workers. Moreover, a complete set of medical records was obtained and meticulously reviewed.

A complete understanding of the claimant’s job duties and an intimate familiarity with the medical records  allowed for productive cross examination of the claimant. The claimant testified that the number of cars that he worked on varied on a daily basis, and that the maximum number of cars he worked on per day was  8.  The claimant also acknowledged that there was a maximum of 32 tires changed in an 8 hour work day. While not working on cars, the claimant would stock the warehouse and change flat tires.  Furthermore, I & F  elicited an admission from the claimant that he never experienced cervical pain or left elbow pain at work.  The Arbitrator concluded that the level of work the petitioner testified to was insufficient to have caused a repetitive trauma injury, and found that the petitioner did not sustain an accident arising out of and in the course of his employment. The petitioner has appealed the decision to the IWCC.

As employers in Illinois are well aware,  disputed repetitive trauma cases are difficult to win.  But, as we see here, and in I&F’s other recent repetitive trauma wins,  it is certainly not impossible. This case clearly illustrates how a well laid trial strategy can produce superior results.  We welcome the opportunity to pursue similar results for all of our clients.

I&F and the Illinois Chamber of Commenrce add Effingham date for Traveling Employee Seminar

We recently announced our upcoming March 25 seminar at the Illinois Chamber of Commerce covering issues related to traveling employees.  For our downstate readers who cannot make it to this event in West Chicago, we are happy to announce that we will also be presenting this seminar with the Chamber on April 28, 2014 in Effingham.

if.seminar

Like the first session, this two-part seminar hosted by partners Kevin Deuschle and Colin Mills will present attendees with the general rules applicable to defining a compensable slip and fall claim as well as the exceptions. We will also discuss current trends in the law and anticipated changes in how the compensability of a slip and fall is defined.

In the second part, we will look to the issue of traveling employees, including a history of evolving case law on this topic and discuss recent key decisions at the Illinois Supreme Court and Appellate Court levels assessing whether an employee is a traveling employee and when an accident involving a traveling employee is compensable.

 

REGISTRATION INFORMATION

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

11:00 am – 1:00 pm

Hampton Inn, 1305 N. Keller Dr., Effingham, IL 62401

Early Bird – (For everybody) – Sign up before April 18 – $40.00

Member – (For members of Illinois Chamber and local chamber partners) – $50.00

Retail – $60.00

**Registration includes lunch

 

This seminar has been pre-approved to offer 1.25 HRCI credits.

This seminar has been submitted for approval to offer 1.25 CLE credits.

This seminar has been pre-approved to offer 1.25 SHRM Professional Development Credits (PDCs).

 

To register or for more information call Pam Holleman, HR Specialist/ Event & Publication Sales

at 855-239-6150 or pholleman@ilchamber.org.

Governor Rauner Announces IWCC Appointments

On Friday, Governor Rauner announced that Arbitrator Joann Fratianni-Atsaves has been named Chair of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. He also announced several Commissioner appointments: Management Commissioner Kevin Lamborn, Labor Commissioner David Gore have been reappointed. Replacing public member Dan Donohoo will be arbitrator Joshua Luskin. Labor Commissioner Charles DeVriendt remains serving although his term expired last month. Public Commissioner Steve Mathis was confirmed last week by the State Senate for a term ending January of 2017.  Below are background information for each of the Commissioners appointed on Friday:

  • Joann Fratianni-Atsaves: Chair of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC).

Mrs. Fratiani-Atsaves has 34 years of experience in workers’ compensation law and is currently an arbitrator on the IWCC.  Mrs. Fratianni-Atsaves has worked for the IWCC for the past 27 years. She began her career as an arbitrator in 1987 and was appointed to be a commissioner from 1990 to 1993. She continued her work as an arbitrator after her term as a commissioner was complete. She currently hears workers’ compensation matters by trial or settlement, and renders written decisions and approves settlement contracts.

Prior to her work for the IWCC, Mrs. Fratianni-Atsaves worked in private practice at the law offices of Anthony V. Fanone where she handled insurance defense litigation for workers’ compensation matters, often trying cases within the IWCC. She began her legal career at Osterkamp, Jackson & Hollywood.

Mrs. Fratianni-Atsaves is a graduate of the University of Illinois and earned her law degree at Northern Illinois University.

 

  • Kevin Lamborn: Management Commissioner – IWCC

Kevin Lamborn will serve his third term as a commissioner of the IWCC. He has served on the board since 2007 as a Business Member Appointee. In this position, he conducts hearings and issues written decisions on litigation appealed from arbitration.

Prior to his work on the IWCC, Mr. Lamborn was an associate attorney at Storino, Ramello & Durkin where he practiced municipal law. He represented local municipalities in civil actions, and also served as an Administrative Hearing officer in property impoundment and code violations.   Mr. Lamborn’s legal career also included being a partner at McAauley & Lamborn. In that practice, Mr. Lamborn focused on a large range of the law including civil litigation, property transactions, work-related injury, and criminal defense, among others. Mr. Lamborn began his career as an Assistant State’s Attorney in Cook County. He worked his way up from traffic court to the felony trial division and spent his final two years in the Special Prosecutions Bureau, where he investigated and tried cases involving public officials accused of misconduct.

Mr. Lamborn received his law degree from The John Marshall Law School in Chicago. He earned two bachelor’s degrees in political science and criminal justice from Valparaiso University.

 

  • Joshua Luskin: Public Commissioner – IWCC

Mr. Luskin is currently an arbitrator with the IWCC and has more than 15 years of law experience.

Prior to his work at the IWCC, Mr. Luskin was a partner at the law firm Nyhan, Bambrick, Kinzie & Lowry, where he specialized in workers’ compensation law.  Mr. Luskin also served as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps, where he handled military prosecution and offered legal service to members of the military. He also worked in the Champaign County State’s Attorney’s office, and in the State’s Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor’s office.

Mr. Luskin graduated from Macalester College in 1994 with a degree in philosophy. He earned his law degree from the University of Michigan

 

  • David Gore: Labor Commissioner – IWCC

This will be Mr. Gore’s fourth term as a commissioner and he has served on the IWCC since 2006.

Mr. Gore has more than 20 years of experience as an attorney, previously serving as a partner at the law firm Gore & Gore which specialized in workers’ compensation cases. He also worked as an Assistant Attorney General for the Illinois Attorney General and a staff attorney with the Illinois Legislative Reference Bureau.  Mr. Gore also has experience working on workers’ compensation matters as a staff representative for the United Steel Workers of America, AFL-CIO-CLC. He handled unfair labor practice charges and represented the union before the National Labor Relations Board.

Mr. Gore holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing, a law degree and an M.B.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Special thanks to our friends at the Illinois Chamber of Commerce for providing these brief biographies.

I&F to Present Traveling Employee Seminar at IL Chamber of Commerce

chamber announcement

 

When is a slip and fall compensable? When is an employee a “traveling employee,” and what does the law allow as a compensable accident for those employees? This two-part seminar hosted by partner Kevin Deuschle and veteran attorney Scott McCain will present attendees with the general rules applicable to defining a compensable slip and fall claim as well as the exceptions. We will also discuss current trends in the law and anticipated changes in how the compensability of a slip and fall is defined.

In the second part, we will look to the issue of traveling employees, including a history of evolving case law on this topic and discuss recent key decisions at the Illinois Supreme Court and Appellate Court levels assessing whether an employee is a traveling employee and when an accident involving a traveling employee is compensable.

 

  • REGISTRATION INFORMATION

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

7:30 am – 9:30 am

Western DuPage Chamber – 306 Main St., West Chicago, IL 60185

Early Bird – (For everybody) – Sign up before March 16 – $40.00

Member – (For members of Illinois Chamber and local chamber partners) – $50.00

Retail – $60.00

**Registration includes breakfast

 

This seminar has been pre-approved to offer 2 HRCI credits.

This seminar has been submitted for approval to offer 2 CLE credits.

This seminar has been pre-approved to offer 2 SHRM Professional Development Credits (PDCs).

 

To register or for more information call Pam Holleman, HR Specialist/ Event & Publication Sales

at 855-239-6150 or pholleman@ilchamber.org.

Steve Murdock Preserves Two Wins Before Commission

Partner and Vice President Steve Murdock recently received two affirmations from the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission in companion cases he tried in March 2013 that then resulted in victories in both cases.  At the Arbitration level, the Arbitrator made clear in the Decisions that she found the claimant to be not credible, in one case resulting in a significant limitation on the extent of the benefits claimed and in the other case resulting in a finding of no accident.  Although the claimant had medical opinions to support both claims, because the Arbitrator found those opinions were based on discredited statements from the claimant, the Arbitrator gave those medical opinions less weight than those of respondent’s IME.

On Review, Steve continued to argue that the Arbitrator was in the best position to assess the credibility of the claimant’s testimony at trial, and in these two cases the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission agreed by affirming the Arbitration Decisions without any modification.  Congratulations to Steve and our client, who avoided significant medical and temporary disability exposure as well as a wage differential or permanent total disability liability exposure well above $300,000.