- Bachelor of Arts – History 1987, University of Illinois
- Juris Doctor 1990, University of Illinois
- Admitted to Practice in Illinois and Federal Court 1990
- Member of The Chicago Bar Association and The Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Association
- Defense of Workers’ Compensation cases
- Director – Western Golf Association
- Member of Governors – Western Golf Association
- Chairman of the Par Club – Western Golf Association
- President of Chick Evans Scholar Alumni Association
- Executive Committee – Board of Directors – St. Laurence High School Capital Campaign.
- Board member – Foglia YMCA
- Retained as defense expert in legal malpractice case of Curtis Brady v. Richard Doyle, et al. (99 L 049).
- Chicago Daily Law Bulletin 40 Attorneys Under 40 to Watch in Illinois Award (2003)
- Chicago Magazine – Illinois Super Lawyers (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013)
Significant Arbitration/Commission Decisions
1. Dorothy Jackson v. Brach & Brock Confections (95 WC 24428)
The petitioner sought benefits claiming that the repetitive nature of her work in the maintenance department aggravated her degenerative hip condition to the point where she could never work again. The arbitrator, however, held that the petitioner had not suffered an injury which arose out of and in the course of the petitioner’s employment and awarded the petitioner no benefits. The arbitrator’s decision was primarily based on the successful cross examination of the petitioner’s treating physician, who had opined that the petitioner’s condition was aggravated by her work.
2. Richard Mercado v. Globe Fasteners (94 WC 16760)
The petitioner sought benefits for a low back herniated disc which he testified occurred when he lifted a heavy box at work. During the petitioner’s cross examination, several inconsistencies in his accident description compelled the arbitrator to hold that he had not suffered an injury which arose out of or in the course of his employment.
3. Viola McLaughlin v. McGill Plastics (93 WC 23955)
The petitioner sought permanent and total disability benefits as a result of a herniated disc at C3-C4 and permanent sedentary work restrictions outlined for her by her treating and examining physicians. At the time of her accident, the petitioner was 59 years old and her regular job required frequent heavy lifting. The petitioner’s claim for permanent and total disability was defeated as a result of a modified duty position offered by the respondent to the petitioner which she refused to accept. The arbitrator’s decision reflected that he was persuaded by the evidence offered by respondent which consisted of the actual pieces the petitioner would have been required to work with had she accepted the modified position.
4. Del Davis v. Jewel Food Stores, (91 WC 20487)
The petitioner was beaten up while collecting carts in the employer’s parking lot. The arbitrator found that the petitioner had not suffered an accident which arose out of and in the course of his employment because there was no credible evidence presented that the attack (1) had anything to do with the petitioner’s employment or (2) occurred in a dangerous area.
5. Guadalupe Ochoa v. Brach & Brock Confections (91 WC 59915)
The petitioner argued that she was permanently and totally disabled because (1) she did heavy work (2) had permanent sedentary work restrictions and (3) spoke little English. Therefore, the petitioner claimed she was entitled to an award of permanent disability under the “odd lot” theory. The arbitrator held that the petitioner was not permanently and totally disabled because it was credibly established at hearing that the petitioner made no legitimate effort to find work within her restrictions.
6. Joseph Gab by v. Yellow Freight (02 WC 49259)
The Petitioner had been a truck driver for another company that went out of business. Shortly after the other company closed operations, Yellow Freight interviewed over 100 drivers from that company for 40 spots at yellow Freight. On that day, the Petitioner injured his back while performing a physical performance test administered by Yellow Freight. The Petitioner was denied benefits because his drug test results had not been obtained by Yellow Freight at the time he was injured and those results were a condition of the Petitioner’s employment.
7. Daniel Grahm v. Ace Hardware (96 WC 1554)
The petitioner claimed he broke his foot when he tripped over clutter in the aisle of a warehouse where he was working. A co-worker testified at the hearing that the aisle was clean and that the petitioner fell because he broke into a run and attempted to hurdle a pallet full of boxes. The arbitrator found that the petitioner’s injury was not compensable under the “horseplay” defense.
8. Maria Valadez v. Brach & Brock Confections (95 WC 09115)
The petitioner was seeking TTD benefits after a general layoff when the petitioner still had work restrictions. The arbitrator declined to award the petitioner TTD because the petitioner’s treating physician admitted during cross examination at his evidence deposition that the petitioner had reached maximum medical improvement, thereby eliminating her right to TTD benefits.
9. Sara Sandberg v. Ace Hardware Retail Support Center (98 WC 49816)
The petitioner filled orders with the use of a push cart on a cement surface in a warehouse. Pursuant to her job duties, she walked 15-20 miles per shift. The petitioner developed plantar fascitia which her treating orthopedic surgeon claimed was related to her work. The arbitrator held that the petitioner did not prove that she suffered a compensable accident since she did not prove that the act of walking and pushing the cart exposed her to any greater danger than the general public.
10. Penny Furtado v. J& L Oil (99 WC 37247)
The petitioner was scheduled to undergo a lumbar laminectomy. The petitioner alleged she injured her lumbar spine in an unwitnessed accident lifting cases of pop while working. At trial, two co-workers testified that the petitioner injured herself falling down the stairs at home. The arbitrator held that no injury occurred which arose out of or in the course of petitioner’s employment.
11. Vicki Anderson v. Ace Hardware Retail Supply Center (96 WC 59315)
The petitioner alleged that excessive walking caused severe foot problems. The petitioner’s treating physician opined that her problems were related to her work. The arbitrator held that the act of walking was not a compensable activity under the Act.
12. Timothy Washington v. Eagle Food Center, Inc. (94 WC 06686)
The petitioner alleged that his psychological condition of depression was related to a physical altercation with his supervisor at work. The arbitrator found that the petitioner’s injuries did not arise out of his employment.
13. John Cataudella v. City of Chicago. (96 WC 19213)
The petitioner had a herniated disc at L4-l5. The petitioner refused to undergo surgery to relieve his symptoms. The petitioner’s treating physician opined that the petitioner could never work in any capacity. Therefore, petitioner attempted to prove up permanent and total disability. Based on a Supreme Court case cited in respondent’s proposed decision, the arbitrator rejected petitioner’s argument that he was permanently and totally disabled.
14. Curtis Hudson v. City of Chicago (93 WC 39548)
The petitioner, a paramedic for the City of Chicago, argued that he was not barred by Section 1(b)(1) of the Act or by the Pension Code from recovering working compensation benefits. At arbitration, before the Commission and before the Circuit Court of Cook County, it was held that the petitioner was barred from recovery under the Act.
15. Richard Binion v. Delgado Erection (95 WC 38745)
The petitioner filed a Section 19(b) petition alleging that his torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder, as diagnosed in July of 1996 was causally related to his work accident on March 29, 1995. On March 29, 1995, the petitioner was performing his job duties as a structural ironworker when a 400 pound piece of steel fell from a crane and glanced off petitioner’s left shoulder. The issue during the Section 19(b) hearing came down to a disagreement between several treating and consulting physicians regarding whether the petitioner’s original left shoulder MRI on April 10, 1995 revealed the torn rotator cuff. Based on video surveillance of the petitioner using his left arm above his head on February 27, 1996, the arbitrator held that the petitioner’s left shoulder torn rotator cuff was not related to his March 29, 1995 accident.
16. Mary Woodard v. Clinton Electronics (97 WC 43399)
The petitioner worked as a utility trainer for the respondent for eleven years. On November 13, 1996 the petitioner was involved in a non-work-related car accident. Shortly after the accident, the petitioner developed carpal tunnel syndrome. The petitioner’s treating surgeon opined that the petitioner’s carpal tunnel syndrome was related to her work activities, not her car accident. The employer’s consulting physician opined that the carpal tunnel surgery was “traumatically induced” by petitioner’s car accident. The arbitrator held that the petitioner’s carpal tunnel syndrome was related to her car accident and not her work activities.
17. Omah Mercuri v. Hunt and Screw Manufacturing (98 WC 541 and 99 WC 54654)
The petitioner suffered a soft tissue shoulder injury followed several weeks later by a stroke. The petitioner had not worked since 1997 and was alleging that she was permanently and totally disabled as a result of a work-related stroke. At arbitration, the arbitrator found that the petitioner’s work activities had no relation to her stroke and awarded the petitioner permanency on the basis of a soft tissue shoulder injury. This decision was affirmed by the Industrial Commission, the Circuit Court and the Appellate Court.
18. Gary Stover v. Printers Express(01 WC 4329)
The petitioner suffered a compensable injury on December 18, 2000 resulting in a herniated disc at L4-L5, which was the responsibility of the referring insurer. On June 17, 2002, the petitioner claimed a recurrence of low back pain. By that date, the employer had a new insurer. In a Section 8(a) hearing regarding which injury caused the need for the petitioner’s prescribed surgery, the Arbitrator held that all responsibility for the petitioner’s low back condition after June 17, 2002 was wholly related to petitioner’s June 17, 2002 accident.
19. Jose Agudelo v. Hirsh (98 WC 63764)
The petitioner was struck by a forklift and thrown several feet. He eventually underwent low back surgery for a L5-S1 herniated disc and a chondral fracture of his knee. To defend against the employer’s liability for the back surgery, I stressed that while the petitioner immediately began to complain of low back pain, he did not make radicular complaints until several months after the accident. To defend against the employer’s liability for petitioner’s knee surgery, I presented an argument through the employer’s IME physician that the petitioner’s knee condition was more likely related to a congenital difference in the length of his legs as opposed to the accident. The demand was for permanent and total disability. The Arbitrator found in favor of the employer on both causal connection issues and awarded the petitioner $3,450.00.
20. Kastra Jarmon v. Caribou Coffee, (03 WC 23928)
The petitioner was struck in the face with a heavy door to an ice cooler. The petitioner claimed total blindness in one eye and post traumatic stress syndrome. In regard to petitioner’s eye, four treating physicians opined that the petitioner lost complete sight in her eye as a result of her work accident. The employer’s IME physician, however, was the only physician that tested to determine the legitimacy of the petitioner’s complaints. The IME physician opined that the petitioner was significantly exaggerating her symptoms. I stressed to the Arbitrator that the IME physician’s opinion on the issue of the legitimacy of petitioner’s symptoms was unrebutted. The Arbitrator agreed and denied benefits to the petitioner for her eye injury.
In regard to petitioner’s post traumatic stress syndrome, two of the petitioner’s treating physicians opined that the petitioner was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and that it was related to her work accident. Because of inconsistencies in the petitioner’s conduct after the accident and the strength of a Section 12 exam finding no causal connection, the Arbitrator also awarded the petitioner no benefits for her post traumatic stress disorder.
21. Charles Welsh v. Yellow Freight (03 WC 51342)
The petitioner was driving a truck for the employer when a drunk driver struck a car in the oncoming left turn lane in the rear and forced the car into the path of the truck the petitioner was driving. The accident involved a fatality in the car the petitioner’s truck struck. The petitioner struck his left knee on the inside of the truck cab during the accident, reported the accident immediately and had two visits to the company clinic. The petitioner was diagnosed with a sprain/strain injury. There was a nine month gap in medical treatment. When the petitioner began to treat again, he reported that his knee bothered him and became progressively worse during the nine month gap in treatment. On the basis of the gap in treatment, the Arbitrator found no causal connection between the petitioner’s injury and his knee condition after the nine month gap.
22. Jerome Scott v. Standard Parking (00 WC 55406)
The petitioner was employed by the employer as a parking lot attendant at Midway Airport. According to the petitioner, he was driving from lot to lot in his own car changing tickets at the entrance to each lot and counting open spaces when he lost control of his car and was involved in a very serious accident. The employer denied that the petitioner’s job duties included any of the tasks he was allegedly performing at the time of the accident. The employer also denied the petitioner was ever authorized to be in the lot he was in at the time of his injury. On cross examination, the petitioner was impeached several times. The Arbitrator found petitioner’s testimony was not credible and denied benefits.
23. Claudio Gallegos v. Flexi-Van (01 WC 64664, 03 WC 09090 and 03 WC 09091)
The petitioner had three separate accidents and was seeking $26,532.00 in medical, TTD and permanency at hearing. The Arbitrator awarded only permanent impairment of $9,864.49 and found in favor of respondent on the issues of disputed medical and TTD.
24. Fred Luckett v. YRCW (06 WC 14096)
The Petitioner was a 78 year old over the road truck driver who had permanent restrictions preventing him from returning to work as a truck driver after rotator cuff surgery. The Petitioner asserted that he was permanently and totally disabled. At hearing, the Petitioner was only awarded man as a whole benefits.
25. Eddie Anderson v. Arrow Plastics (06 WC 51046)
A different attorney handled the arbitration hearing. The arbitrator found that the Petitioner’s injuries were compensable and awarded almost $100,000.00 in penalties and fees. On review, I stressed a number of inconsistencies in the Petitioner’s version of the facts in the record. The Commission not only reversed the penalties and fees, but found that the Petitioner failed to prove up a compensable accident. the Petitioner underwent a cervical fusion and the total value of the claim with medical, indemnity and penalties and fees after the Section 19(b) hearing were estimated in excess of $500,000.00.
26. Larry Hedden v. G.M. Tool Company (01 WC 04279, 06 WC 26509, 07 WC 00790)
At the time the file was referred to our office, the statute of limitations on a subsequent “incident” with the same employer but a different carrier was abut to run. Our client had paid significant benefits in medical and TTD for the Petitioner’s chronic pain condition. With much prodding, Petitioner’s attorney reluctantly filed an Application for the subsequent accident. At hearing, the Arbitrator found that the second accident was an intervening accident and that the Petitioner’s condition after that accident was the responsibility of the other carrier. Approximately $700,000.00 had been paid to date for medical care and the Petitioner was adjudicated to be permanently and totally disabled. As a result of the award, our office also received over $150,000.00 for our client from the other carrier for benefits paid.
27. Mary Key v. Roadway Express (99 WC 51173; 04 WC 14991; 11-1730)
We took this file over from another law firm after the Circuit Court found that the Petitioner had suffered a compensable accident. The Petitioner had 67 surgeries. By the time this case got to the Appellate Court, between medical expenses, other benefits and interest, our client owed over $1.5 million dollars under the Circuit Court’s award. We prevailed at the Appellate Court in establishing that the Petitioner had not suffered a compensable accident.
28. Jaroslaw Tkaczyk v. Dynomax, Inc., (12 WC 6419)
The Petitioner claimed he injured his low back and underwent lumbar surgery as a result of lifting a metal plate at work. There were many red flags regarding the Petitioner’s story. At arbitration, the Petitioner prevailed. At the Commission on review, the case was reversed and the Petitioner received no benefits.
29. Fred Cox v. YRC (09 WC 11121)
Petitioner sought almost $200,000.00 in penalties and fees for late payment of settlement proceeds. Employer ended up paying no penalties and fees after Commission hearing.
1. Surestaff v. Azteca Foods (04 L 6746)
Represented Azteca Foods. Case tried before jury from June 27 through June 29, 2006. Surestaff was seeking reimbursement for $590,000.00 it paid out in workers’ compensation benefits under the theory that it was not the primarily responsible party as the loaning employer. Azteca argued that Surestaff was responsible. Jury found for Azteca.