- Bachelor of Science, Indiana University, 2006
- Juris Doctor, Valparaiso University School of Law, 2009, Mock Trial Advocacy Team, Teaching Assistant – Legal Writing/Appellate Advocacy
Awards: Champion and Best Closing Argument, Intraschool Trial Advocacy Competition.
- Admitted to Practice in Illinois 2009
- Illinois Bar Association
- Chicago Bar Association
- Defense of Workers’ Compensation cases in Illinois.
Significant Arbitration/Commission Decisions
1.Tower Automotive v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission 407 Ill. App. 3d 427 (1st Dist. 2011)
The main issue in this case was medical expenses. Petitioner placed his medical bills through his wife’s group health insurance. The total amount of the medical expenses billed by the providers was $165,289.16. Petitioner’s wife’s group health insurance paid $52,671.82 of the bills, $1,183.27 was paid by petitioner out-of-pocket, and the remaining amount was written off by the providers. The Arbitrator, Commission and Circuit Court Judge awarded petitioner $165,289.16 in medical expenses. At the Appellate Court, Jeff argued that if the Commission’s decision were to stand, petitioner would be gaining a windfall as the amount actually paid by his wife’s group health insurance was $52,671.82. Jeff argued that petitioner would receive an additional $111,298.55 in medical expenses that he would not have to pay to the medical providers as they wrote off these remaining amounts. Jeff argued that since there is no tortfeasor in the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, the collateral source rule does not apply. In a case of first impression, the Appellate Court agreed with Jeff’s argument. The Court opined that the collateral source rule does not apply under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. The Appellate Court opined that petitioner would be entitled only to $52,671.82, the amount paid by his wife’s group health insurance, and not the amount initially billed by the providers. Jeff successfully argued that the award for medical expenses should be reduced by $111,298.55.
2. Fred Stella v. United Express System (08 WC 38073; 15 IWCC 0736)
The main issues in this case were causal connection, temporary total disability benefits, and the nature and extent of permanent disability. Petitioner, a truck driver, alleged a back injury when he slipped and fell while making deliveries. Petitioner did not immediately complain of back pain. He initially only alleged calf pain. Surgery was recommended for petitioner’s lumbar spine, but he was unable to undergo the surgery due to unrelated personal conditions. Petitioner was given permanent work restrictions that did not allow him to return to work as a truck driver. The Arbitrator found petitioner’s current condition of ill-being was causally related to the accident. She awarded temporary total disability benefits and 50% loss of use of the man as a whole for loss of occupation. After applying respondent’s credit, the award equated to $193,467.96. On appeal at the Commission, Jeff argued that petitioner only sustained a calf strain during his accident. He pointed out that petitioner had delayed symptoms regarding his back and that respondent’s IME physician’s opinion should be accepted. The Commission agreed with Jeff’s argument and modified the award to find that only petitioner’s calf strain was related. Due to respondent’s credit, petitioner now owed respondent approximately $80,000.00.
3. Jennifer Prim v. Bark Avenue Salon (10 WC 44170; 14 IWCC 0751)
The main issues in this case were causal connection, medical expenses, prospective medical treatment and temporary total disability benefits. Petitioner, a dog groomer, was bitten by a dog that then jumped off the grooming table. Petitioner claimed she not only sustained a dog bite to the forearm, but also an injury to her shoulder as she was holding the dog when it jumped off the table. Petitioner required surgery for her shoulder. The Arbitrator found that while petitioner did sustain a dog bite injury to her forearm that resolved after two weeks, petitioner’s shoulder injury was not related to the accident. All medical expenses and prospective medical treatment relating to the shoulder were denied. Petitioner appealed the decision to the Commission. The Commission affirmed the Arbitrator’s decision and denied petitioner’s shoulder injury.