- Bachelor of Sciences – Criminology, Sociology – 1996 Marquette University
- Juris Doctor – 2001 – John Marshall Law School
- Admitted to practice in Illinois, 2001
- Named Fresenius Medical’s Attorney of the Year 2010
- Defense of Workers’ Compensation Matters
Significant Arbitration Decisions
1. Danny Oliver v. Lyon Metal (00 WC 22437)
Petitioner alleged he was permanently and totally disabled from returning to work as a result of a back injury. Petitioner requested temporary total disability benefits for a four-year period and continued benefits under Section 8(f) for the remainder of his disability. The arbitrator found that petitioner suffered an injury based on loss of use of a man as a whole and awarded only 26 weeks of temporary total disability.
2. Thomas Rieck v. Professional Plumbing (01 WC 30356)
Petitioner filed an Application for Adjustment of Claim for an injury considered loss of use t the Man as a Whole. Prior to settlement of that claim, petitioner died of unrelated cause and left no heirs entitled to the proceeds of the Worker’s Compensation Claim. Petitioner’s estate attempted to step in the place of petitioner and adjudicate the claim. Respondent filed a motion for dismissal of claim based on the fact that Petitioner died, leaving no heirs entitled to the proceeds under Illinois Law. The Arbitrator found in favor respondent and dismissed that claim.
3. Scott Krause v. Norwest Electric (03 WC 54058)
Petitioner alleged a work injury as a result of falling while re-entering the facility through the loading dock instead of the standard walkway entrance. Petitioner went on a cigarette break and while returning to work, he decided to climb the loading dock instead of using the standard door entrance. The Arbitrator found that this injury did not “arise out of his employment.” The Arbitrator went on to say that the employer received no benefit from petitioner’s decision to enter through the loading dock. Petitioner’s decision to do so was a personal choice and the petitioner placed himself in a position of greater risk, not the employer.
4. Mary Krzeckowski v. B-Way (04 WC 9959)
Petitioner alleged sustaining two injuries while working for the same insured during periods of time covered by separate insurance companies. We represented the second insurance company and argued that no new injury took place. Co-respondent argued that a new injury did take place, and that the second injury caused petitioner to become totally disabled. The Arbitrator found that no new injury took place and that petitioner’s inability to return to work in her form employment was due to the initial injury.
5. John Carl v. J.W. Trenching (05 MR 91)
The Industrial Commission overturned the Arbitrator’s decision to reinstate petitioner’s claim after it had been dismissed for want of prosecution. Petitioner alleged that even though it was clearly apparent that his attorney received notice of the dismissal and did not file for reinstatement in a timely manner, that because his attorney was mentally incompetent at the time he received notice, that the case should be reinstated. The Commission found that there was not sufficient evidence to prove that petitioner’s attorney was incompetent at the time the dismissal notice was received and therefore, the Arbitrator was acting outside his jurisdiction when he reinstated the claim. This decision was affirmed by the Circuit Court.
6. Greg Vankerhove v. Yellow Freight (05 WC 09715, 08 WC 18591)
Petitioner alleged that a 60 pound box fell from a stack of boxes striking him in the head, neck, and shoulder. Despite this allegation by the Petitioner, the medical records did not support this allegation and no history similar to the Petitioner’s testimony was found until approximately four months after the accident which was immediately provided after a disciplinary action was filed against the Petitioner. The Arbitrator opined that the medical records did not provide a history similar to that of the Petitioner’s testimony. The Arbitrator further found that based upon the mechanism of injury, the Petitioner’s testimony lacked credibility in light of the fact that a 60 pound box falling and striking the Petitioner would not be something that a medical provider would forget to document if treatment were sought as alleged by the Petitioner.
7. Roger Rosson v. K-Keup Construction (07 MR 256)
Petitioner sustained a minor slip and fall injury on a construction site while pouring concrete. Petitioner continued to work in a full duty capacity subsequent the injury without treatment. Approximately six weeks after the accident petitioner started treating at a chiropractor for back and neck complaints. Petitioner eventually alleged that he need a cervical fusion as a result of the slip and fall injury. Respondent denied and petitioner underwent the surgery on his own. At the time of trial respondent presented evidence that petitioner had a pre-existing condition that caused him to take over 900 pain pills prior to the accident. Furthermore, the initial treatment records from the chiropractor were silent regarding a work accident. The Arbitrator found petitioner’s condition was pre-existing and the need for surgery was not related to the slip and fall accident. The Commission affirmed.
8. Maria Ruiz v. Stephen Fossler Company (09 IWCC 0157)
Petitioner claimed a repetitive trauma injury to her right and left hand. Respondent accepted the claim. Petitioner then attempted to piggy back her right arm condition onto the claim, which Respondent denied. Respondent argued that the work functions were hand intensive, but not arm intensive. Petitioner proceeded to hearing on the treating doctor’s records alone. The only job description provided at trial was the testimony of the petitioner. The Arbitrator found that although it was evident the work functions were hand intensive, petitioner did not sustain her burden in proving that the work functions were repetitive in nature as they relate to the arm. The Commission affirmed.
9. Maria Viveros v. Kohl’s (09 WC 13377)
The Petitioner sustained a compensable low-back injury while working for the Respondent. Petitioner treated for approximately seven months at which time she was released to return to work in a full-duty capacity. After working approximately six months, Petitioner began treating with a new physician alleging a sudden experience of low-back pain, which necessitated additional treatment and a restriction from working. At the time of hearing the Petitioner was requesting temporary total disability benefits for an extended period of time along with additional medical treatment. At the time of trial, during cross-examination, it was determined and the Petitioner testified that during the period of time she was demanding payment of temporary total disability benefits she was working a second job. Based upon this information along with a review of the medical records, the Arbitrator denied Petitioner’s entitlement to future treatment and denied entitlement to temporary total disability benefits. Based upon Petitioner’s fraudulent testimony at the time of hearing, Petitioner did not Appeal this Decision to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.
10. Stanislaw Marut v. National Metal Fabricator/IIGF (09 IWCC 15591)
Petitioner alleged that he was permanently and totally disabled as a result of lifting a heavy piece of metal. The Arbitrator opined that petitioner’s testimony was not supported by the records of the treating doctor. The Commission affirmed this opinion further finding that the treating doctor’s report stating petitioner sustained a work related injury contradicted his own soap notes at the time each visit. It was found that the daily treating records were more credible then the report drafted subsequent years of treatment.
11. Nicole Vasels v. Kohl’s (11 IWCC 898)
The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission overturned the original Arbitration Decision awarding 45% loss of use of the foot and approximately 2 months of temporary total disability benefits. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission reduced Petitioner’s permanent partial disability award to 5% loss of use of the foot finding that the evidence the Arbitrator used in awarding the permanent partial disability amount was not found within the evidence submitted at trial. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission also denied Petitioner temporary total disability benefits finding that she specifically requested to be removed from the work force despite the fact that the Respondent was capable of accommodating any and all work restrictions along with the fact that the treating physician provided the complete off-work restriction at the request of the Petitioner and without an actual physical examination.
12. Dorice Suckow v. Protective Life (11 IWCC 1227 )
The Petitioner worked at a corporation complex. The Respondent conducted their business and Petitioner worked on the second floor of one of the buildings in the corporation complex. During a spring day, the Petitioner along with co-employees decided to eat outside at a picnic area open to all employees that worked within the corporation complex including the Respondent’s employees. It was also determined at the time of hearing that the picnic area was open to the general public and access was not restricted in any way. Upon returning from lunch, the Petitioner slipped and fell on a cracked sidewalk sustaining a non-disputed shoulder injury. The Arbitrator ruled in favor of the Petitioner finding that the accident arose out of and was in the course of Petitioner’s employment. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission overturned this Decision and found the claim not have arisen out of and in the course of her employment. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission found that the accident did not take place on the premises of the Respondent. Furthermore, during the course of Petitioner’s accident she was not instructed, restricted or mandated in any way to use the route to and from the picnic area. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission found that the Petitioner chose of her own free will to take her lunch break outside and no benefit was gained by the employer.