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William O’Brien
Hennessy & Roach
Chicago
partner
  • Bachelor at Eastern Illinois University, 2001
  • Juris Doctorate, 2005, Thomas M. Cooley Law School
  • Admitted to Practice: Illinois Supreme Court, 2006; US District Court, Northern District of Illinois, 2006

Professional Affiliations:

  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Illinois Bar Association
  • American Bar Association

Practice Areas:

  • Defense of Workers’ Compensation cases in Missouri and Illinois.

Significant Arbitration / Commission Decisions:

 

David Brown v. Standard Forwarding (14 WC 18898 and 16 WC 19842)

Petitioner was a delivery driver with a slip and fall while working.  He underwent minimal treatment and returned to work full duty.  He had a re-aggravation requiring lumbar fusion surgery.  Due to limited transferrable skills and prescription dependence, a vocational rehabilitation counselor provided an “odd lot” permanent total disability opinion.  Petitioner conveyed a settlement demand to commensurate with the permanent total opinion. As part of its defense, Respondent obtained more than 14 hours of surveillance showing Petitioner exceeding his restrictions.  The Arbitrator agreed with Respondent’s position and denied permanent total benefits, denied wage differential benefits, and awarded 30% loss of use of man as a whole, no medical and an $18,000.00 TTD/maintenance overpayment.  Petitioner is appealing.

Kevin McAllister v. North Pond (14 WC 28777)

Petitioner was an assistant chef.  He went to the walk-in cooler to help another chef looking for a pan of carrots.  He knelt down took look underneath a shelf.  When standing up, his knee popped requiring surgery.  Denied based on “no increased risk”.   The Arbitrator awarded almost $11,000.00 in medical, almost $3,000.00 in lost time, almost $15,000.00 in PPD, and almost $17,000.00 in penalties and fees.  On appeal, Respondent argued “no increased risk”.  The Commission agreed and struck down the penalties and the entire monetary award.  Zero benefits awarded.  The Circuit Court affirmed.

Elias Papandreou v. Jack’s Pizza (10 WC 43690)

Petitioner alleged a shoulder claim requiring surgery.  It was denied based on accident inconsistencies.  His star witness in support of his claim was his mother, the owner of the restaurant.  The Arbitrator awarded zero benefits.  No appeal filed.

Jacquetta Hall v. City of Chicago-Dept of Transportation and City of Chicago-Dept of Aviation (09 WC 50534 & 12 WC 04098, respectively)

Petitioner right knee injuries as a result of a slip and fall for both alleged accidents – October 29, 2009 and January 20, 2012.  Our office represented the first case.  She had an ACL tear with surgery, released to return to work full duty and at MMI in July 2011.  Due to extended time off work, there was no job available with DOT.

On November 1, 2011, Petitioner began working for the DOA. On January 20, 2012, she had a second right knee injury after another slip and fall.  Between July 2011 and January 2012 she had continued right knee pain and was recommended for future “staged” surgery.  After the second injury, she required the surgery due to due to severe pain and inability to work.  She had surgery in April 2012 and was recommended for follow up surgery.  The surgeries, TTD and the entire January 20, 2012 accident were denied by DOA.  The Arbitrator found a new compensable injury with DOA in January 2012.  DOT was given credit for an improperly paid benefits after January 20, 2012.  DOA was liable for TTD, April 2012 surgery, second recommended surgery and other medical.

David Wuytack v. DHL (09 WC 00337)

Petitioner alleged a left hip injury from a slip and fall. He was recommended for hip resurfacing surgery.  He denied any prior hip complaints or treatment.  Due diligence showed otherwise.  Petitioner was hospitalized for said complaints and but was never provided with a causation opinion, in fact, his hospitalization and complaints were linked to a prior kidney transplant.  Respondent’s IME agreed.  Petitioners orthopedic linked the left hip complaints to the accident.  Cross examination and trial evidence revealed, the orthopedic ignored prior bilateral hip diagnostics and prior treatment.  In addition, Petitioner’s accident history revealed discrepancies in the alleged mechanism of injury. The Arbitrator concluded there was no accident, no causation and awarded no benefits, including a recommended left hip resurfacing surgery.

Chubby Rover v. City of Chicago – Department of Aviation (08 WC 20591)

Petitioner alleged a right shoulder injury as a result of a workplace altercation with a co-worker.  He testified that he was sitting in chair eating lunch in a break room when a co-worker approached and demanded he give up the chair in which he was sitting.  After refusing, the two scuffled and Petitioner sustained his injuries.  Following a successful cross-examination impeaching Petitioner’s credibility regarding the circumstances surrounding the accident, the Arbitrator held that Petitioner had alleged four separate dates of accident for one traumatic injury, he also could not definitively recall the exact mechanism of injury.  Due to the lack of credibility, the Arbitrator awarded zero benefits, including the rotator cuff surgery.  Affirmed by the Illinois Worker’s Compensation Commission.

Darla Pickett v. Kohl’s (10 WC 15592)

Petitioner worked as a material handler and claimed an unwitnessed low back injury.  She had conservative treatment and was released to return to work with permanent restrictions.  After exhaustive research and stern cross-examination, the Arbitrator denied her claim for benefits.  He noted when she began working for Respondent, only three months prior she had been given permanent work restrictions from a work injury at her prior job.  A fact she not only neglected to mention on her employment application for her current employer but she also lied about when interviewed for the job with Respondent as to her physical abilities.  She admitted this misrepresentation at trial.  Also, the injury at her prior employer led to surgery and permanent restrictions.  An FCE showed inconsistent pain behaviors.  For the treatment for her current injury, she claimed she was bedridden but her treater felt she could work light duty.  She had exploratory low back surgery a week later.  The surgery was denied because no conservative treatment was attempted; only 10 days after the date of accident, all diagnostics were normal.  Her physical therapy attempt lasted five days and although she testified she was bedridden her physical therapist noted that she was doing laundry, going up and down stairs and was doing ok.  She self-terminated therapy due to pain.  She had an IME and arrived in a wheelchair.  She would not sit, stand or walk, but would only lie on the exam table.  She complained of pain at 10/10 and screamed during the physical exam.  The IME found Petitioner to be exaggerating or magnifying her symptoms.  That very same day, Petitioner visited one of her treaters and had a considerable recovery and the wheelchair disappeared.  The exam was uneventful; she could bend in all directions, was cooperative, and said she could stand for long periods of time.  For these reasons, the Arbitrator unequivocally found that Petitioner’s testimony and credibility were unreliable and no benefits were awarded.  Affirmed by the Illinois Worker’s Compensation Commission and LaSalle County Circuit Court.

Bailey Michaels v. Hubbard Steak, LLC., d/b/a Epic Restaurant (10 WC 3692)

Petitioner alleged a right knee injury from carrying chairs up and down stairs while at work in Chicago.  Despite complaints of immediate symptoms and pain, Petitioner waited more than a month to seek treatment and continued to work full duty.  When he first treated, he admitted his injury was from an injury prior to the alleged date of accident and while in Nevada.  On cross-examination, Petitioner testified he was never examined by his first doctor, only saw him on one occasion, and for a referral only.  This was clearly not the case.  The doctor’s records referenced Petitioner’s physical examination, numerous prescriptions provided to Petitioner on multiple dates and no evidence of a referral.  Additionally, Petitioner’s Section 19(b) Petition neglected to mention this doctor as required.  Petitioner did not notify anyone of a work accident at the alleged Chicago location until 61 days had passed – after the 45-day requirement, and more than a month after Petitioner had been laid off.  Lastly, Petitioner never provided his second and third treaters with a mechanism of injury or that he had previously had right knee treatment.  Based on Petitioner’s repeated conflicting and unreliable statements, the Arbitrator found Petitioner overwhelmingly lack credibility, ruled in favor of Respondent and awarded zero benefits, including the recommended surgery.  Petitioner appeared and the Illinois Commission remanded the case back to the Arbitrator.  At trial on remand, the Arbitrator again denied Petitioner’s entire prayer for benefits.  No appeal.  Arbitration decision final.

Anthony Harden v. AT&T (05 WC 25804 and 06 WC 29683)

(05 WC 25804) – Petitioner injured his lower back in a compensable work related injury.  He underwent an L5-S1 microdiscectomy with a full duty release.  In conjunction with a second low back injury with fusion surgery recommendation, and a left knee sprain, Respondent conveyed an offer of 30% loss of man as a whole for resolution of all issues for both cases.  Petitioner was awarded 20% loss of man as a whole.  The Illinois Workers Compensation Commission affirmed.

For the second low back injury (06 WC 29683) the Arbitrator found in favor of Respondent and awarded zero benefits, including five years of disputed TTD benefits and a lumbar fusion surgery.  Petitioner claimed two witnesses to the accident.  One witness confirmed he did not see the accident and the second was admittedly no where near Petitioner when he claimed the injury occurred.  Petitioner also had a pattern of misleading, dishonest, inappropriate and unprofessional conduct while working for Respondent.  He was arrested on two separate occasions, used company credit cards for personal use and found sleeping on the job.  With each violation, he subsequent lied, embellished or amended his account after the fact in order to tailor his latest version to best suit his needs.  The accident report, not within the 45-day requirement, did not alleged a mechanism of injury.  A Labor Arbitration Hearing noted Petitioner’s current condition of ill being was not causally related, so did Respondent’s IME and Petitioner’s treating physician could not make up his mind.  The treater’s causation report lists the wrong date of accident, claims he didn’t see Petitioner prior to 2004 (clearly refuted by the records) and the opinion itself took more than five years to be issued.  The Arbitrator found Petitioner’s treater was not credible and denied the recommended fusion surgery and more than five years of disputed TTD.  Affirmed by the Illinois Worker’s Compensation Commission.

Maria De Los Santos v. Reliance Hotel, LLC (06 WC 2184 and 06 WC 14412)

Petitioner sustained two separate injuries while working for Respondent.  The first was an injury to her right shoulder when picking up a pot filled with potatoes and water.  The second was to her right wrist while making a bed.  As to her right wrist she underwent a cyst removal surgery and was released to full duty.  As to the right shoulder, she had rotator cuff surgery and was released to full duty.  However, a second treater noted a misdiagnosis and performed a second surgery.  An FCE revealed the need for permanent restrictions, which could not be accommodated.  Prior to her release, Petitioner sought, applied for and obtained a new job on her own with a cosmetic sales company earning.  She immediately began taking and filling sales orders, receiving commission checks while simultaneously receiving maintenance checks.  She did not notify her employer of her new job because she was having other financial difficulties.  Petitioner argued that her new job was not a job or alternatively, job was a job, but she was an independent contractor.  A job log was provided but the reflected jobs were not sought until one year after she obtained a new job.  The Arbitrator ruled in favor of Respondent that Petitioner had obtained a new job on her own, that neither vocational rehabilitation nor continued maintenance were owed.  Respondent was given a credit for maintenance paid while Petitioner was working her new job.

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