The John Marshall Law School, J.D., January 2013
Valparaiso University, B.A. – Political Science, May 2009
Admitted to the Illinois bar in 2013
Professional Affiliations: Member of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Lawyers’ Association
Practice Areas: Defense of Workers’ Compensation matters.
REPORTED APPELLATE COURT DECISIONS
- Terry Noonan v. City of Chicago 2016 IL App (1st) 152300WC
Petitioner was employed as a clerk who alleged a work accident that occurred while reaching for a pen that had fallen on the floor from his desk. While reaching for the pen, the rolling chair slipped out from underneath him, causing an injury to Petitioner’s wrist. Petitioner testified that there was nothing unusual or defective about the rolling chair or his work environment, and that the chair simply rolled out from underneath him. The arbitrator and Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission found that the act of reaching for a pen was not sufficient to establish that the injury arose out of Petitioner’s employment, noting that Petitioner was not exposed to a risk greater than the general public. The arbitration and Commission decision was affirmed by both the Circuit Court and Appellate Court.
- Anthony Murff v. City of Chicago 2017 IL App (1st) 160005WC
Petitioner was working an accommodated job for a permanent work restriction. After the case proceeded to an Arbitration hearing in 2013 and the final award was paid, Respondent was no longer able to accommodate the work restrictions. After the timeline to file an appeal the arbitration decision had lapsed, Petitioner filed a petition to modify the arbitration award pursuant to Section 19(h) and 8(a), arguing for a modification of his award due to an increase in his economic disability. Petitioner was seeking maintenance, vocational rehabilitation, and potential wage differential benefits. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission denied Petitioner’s petition to modify the arbitration award, reasoning that petitioner’s physical disability had not increased. The Circuit Court and Appellate Court affirmed the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission decision denying petitioner’s demand for maintenance and vocational rehabilitation. The Appellate Court reasoned that the phrase “increase in disability” in the language of Section 19(h) refers exclusively to physical or mental disability and specifically excludes economic hardships.
SIGNIFICANT ARBITRATION/COMMISSION DECISIONS
- Sandra Watson v. Caputo’s Fresh Market (12 WC 9588)
The Petitioner was employed by Respondent as a part-time grocery cashier. Petitioner alleged she sustained a rotator cuff tear from job duties with Respondent. Petitioner denied that she suffered a specific injury, but testified that her symptoms occurred as a result of her repetitive scanning duties as a cashier. Petitioner testified that she did not feel any symptoms prior to beginning her shift on the date of the alleged accident. The matter proceeded to trail before Arbitrator Mason who denied petitioner’s claim for benefits, finding that petitioner lacked credibility and failed to prove she sustained a compensable accident.
- Daniel Bane v. A. American Arborist (12 WC 15898)
Petitioner alleged he sustained an injury at work when he was struck in the low back by a tree branch. Petitioner’s supervisor testified that he was present at the job site the entire shift and did not witness petitioner’s alleged injury, nor was he aware that petitioner was alleging a work-related injury until several months later after petitioner filed an Application with the Workers’ Compensation Commission. Petitioner’s friend testified on petitioner’s behalf, stating that he witnessed petitioner’s injury from a property adjacent to the job site. The matter proceeded to trial before Arbitrator Fratianni who denied petitioner’s claim for benefits, finding that petitioner and his friend were not credible witnesses. The Arbitrator held that petitioner failed to prove he sustained an accident that arose out of and in the course of his employment.
- Cortney Jones v. USF Holland (13 WC 23829)
Petitioner, a mechanic, alleged he sustained an unwitnessed injury at work when his wrench slipped off a bolt, causing him to strike his elbow on a steel beam underneath the trailer of which he was repairing. Petitioner, a new employee, was still in his 90 day probationary period on the date of the injury. Petitioner did not report his injury to his supervisor until after being terminated for poor attendance. Two weeks after the alleged accident petitioner alleged a subsequent accident with a new employer to the same elbow. Petitioner demanded authorization and payment for a cubital tunnel release, and over a year’s worth of TTD benefits. Arbitrator Fruth denied the surgery and TTD benefits, finding that petitioner attained maximum medical improvement two weeks after the alleged accident. On review, the Commission affirmed Arbitrator Fruth’s decision.
- Esequiel Iracheta v. City of Chicago (09 WC 20467; 14 WC 10550)
Petitioner is a 63 year old tree trimmer who alleged a 2009 and 2012 dates of accident. After vocational rehabilitation, Petitioner demanded a wage differential award on the 2009 claim. We denied the wage differential, but argued that even if petitioner was a wage differential, the award should be calculated on the 2012 claim. This is important because if the wage differential was calculated on the pre-2011 accident, petitioner would be entitled to wage differential benefits for life. If the wage differential award was calculated on the post-2011 accident Petitioner would only be entitled to wage differential benefits for up to 5 years, given Petitioner’s age of 63. Arbitrator Williams denied petitioner’s 2009 claim in its entirety and awarded 1% loss of use of the person as a whole on the 2012 claim. Arbitrator Williams denied Petitioner’s attorney’s penalties petition. This matter is currently on review at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.
- Ken Barhoumeh v. City of Chicago (10 WC 40045; 12 WC 05993; 13 WC 01783)
Petitioner alleged three separate dates of accident and demanded authorization and payment for a total knee replacement and ankle surgery. Petitioner had been treating since his date of accident in October 2010. Arbitrator Black denied prospective medical and demand for TTD, finding that Petitioner’s current condition is not causally related to any of the accidents at work. Arbitrator Black denied Petitioner’s attorney’s fees and penalties petition. Arbitrator Black’s decision was affirmed by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. These claims are currently on appeal in the Circuit Court of Cook County.