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Joe Zwick
Hennessy & Roach
Chicago
partner
  • Bachelor of Science – Psychology (Philosophy Minor) 1987, Loyola University of Chicago
  • Juris Doctor 1990, The John Marshall Law School
  • Admitted to Practice in Illinois 1990

Practice Areas:

  • Defense of Workers’ Compensation and General Liability matters

Social Affiliations

  • President – West Beverly Civic Association

Significant Arbitration Decisions

1. Karl Wilson v. Buick of Countryside, (97 WC 3125, 98 IIC 644)

The petitioner, a mechanic, testified that he struck his head on the undercarriage of an automobile that was raised upon a hydraulic lift and sustained a herniated disc. The arbitrator denied all compensation, finding the petitioner did not suffer an accident during the course of his employment with the respondent. The arbitrator based his decision on testimony of witnesses who stated that the petitioner initially reported having injured himself at another shop and initial medical records which failed to indicate an injury while working. The petitioner admitted to being aware of a union provision that would have prevented the petitioner from working in another shop, thus indicating further motivation to lie about the location and time of the accident.

2. Rafael Calderon v. Wells Lamont Industrial Products, Inc., (95WC 33909)

The petitioner sustained serious fractures to his right ankle when he slipped and fell while attempting to jump down a four foot ledge from an employee-only parking lot to the front entrance of the building in which he worked. The arbitrator denied all compensation, finding that the petitioner’s injuries did not arise out of the employment. The petitioner could have used a ramp extending from the parking lot to the building level. The petitioner was merely taking a short-cut for his own benefit and providing no benefit to the employer. The arbitrator agreed that an employer should not be required to police the entrances and exits to prevent all unsafe, voluntary acts of its employees.

3. Margarita Hernandez v. Duraco, Inc., (95 WC 46840, 98 IIC 1017)

The petitioner suffered an injury in March of 1993, resulting in a diagnosed bursitis of the right knee and conservative treatment. Approximately two years later, the petitioner presented herself to a second doctor with complaints to the same knee. The second doctor diagnosed a torn meniscus and recommended surgery. The arbitrator denied surgery and compensation with respect to the torn meniscus, but awarded compensation for the bursitis. An MRI soon after the initial incident failed to indicate a torn meniscus. Furthermore, the petitioner testified to continued pain in the same knee during the two year period, but had seen her family doctor on 19 occasions without a reference to knee pain. On review before the Industrial Commission, I successfully argued that the petitioner failed to prove permanency since any permanent effects related to the meniscus surgery. The Commission reversed the award for permanency, reducing the total award in the claim to one day of TTD ($31.18).

4. Robert McKinney v. Nabisco, (97 WC 31316)

The petitioner suffered an injury in July of 1996. The petitioner was diagnosed with early cubital tunnel and medial epicondylitis in the right elbow and work restrictions were provided. In October of 1996, a doctor of the respondent’s choosing recommended arthroscopy for loose bodies and possible ulnar nerve transposition. In December of 1996, the treating doctor recommended a bone scan to determine the need for surgery. One day prior to the bone scan, the petitioner was filmed performing activities in building a deck, which included the use of a hand saw and hammer. The activities were clearly outside the petitioner’s restrictions. The bone scan showed increased uptake in the right elbow and the treating doctor recommended surgery to remove an olecranon spur. In his deposition, the treating doctor admitted that the restrictions were intended to treat the petitioner conservatively and avoid surgery. Another doctor of our choosing opined the activities on video broke the chain of causation between the initial injury and the surgery. The arbitrator agreed and denied permanency and all benefits beyond the date of activities on video, finding that the petitioner’s own injurious practices intervened and caused the need for surgery.

5. John Kantowski v. Crown Temperature Engineers, (97 WC 58887)

The petitioner alleged his accident on September 2, 1997 directly resulted in medical bills totaling over $44,000.00. Petitioner also sought 35 weeks of TTD. However, the Arbitrator found Petitioner’s condition worsened only after he began work for another company. The Arbitrator ruled the subsequent employment served as an intervening cause of the Petitioner’s injury. Consequently, the Petitioner only received $13,000.00 in medical and 11 6/7 weeks of TTD even though the Arbitrator ruled in Petitioner’s favor with respect to the initial treatment and lost time of the original injury.

Significant Commission Decisions

1. Kenneth Copeland, Jr. v. Denny’s Restaurants, (01 IIC 385)

The Commission affirmed the Arbitrator’s decision denying Petitioner’s claim for an injury to his left wrist. Both the Arbitrator and Commission agreed Petitioner’s slip and fall injury resulted from his running from a friend who chased him with a ketchup bottle. Petitioner testified he had resumed working when the accident occurred, but neither the Arbitrator nor the Commission found his testimony credible. The Commission identified Petitioner’s own handwritten history in which he admitted to a doctor his injury occurred while he was fleeing his friend as the most damaging piece of evidence. The Commission held Petitioner’s horseplay took him outside the scope of his employment. Therefore, the presence of possible outside contributors, such as ice or water, does not bring Petitioner back within the scope of his employment.

Airborne Express v. The Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission
2008
Edward Don v. Industrial Commission
2008
nterstate Scaffolding, Inc. v. The Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission
2008
Greater Peoria Mass Transit District v. The Industrial Commission
2008