- Bachelor of Science – Business Administration 1984, Illinois State University
- Juris Doctor 1988, The John Marshall Law School
- Admitted to Practice in Illinois and Federal Court 1988
- Member of the Workers’ Compensation Claims Association, Greater Peoria Claims Association and Adjuster’s Association of Central Illinois.
- Defense of Workers’ Compensation matters
- Member of the Chilucanas Mission Club (benefiting Bishop John McNabb’s efforts in Chilucanas, Peru).
Significant Arbitration/Commission Decisions
1. Theresa Pestrak v. Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago,(91 WC 46726)
Petitioner was employed by the respondent as a social worker. Her job duties included visiting drug dependent individuals at their home for the purpose of providing counseling. While attempting to visit a client in a privately owned apartment building on the West Side of Chicago, the petitioner was attacked by an unknown assailant. There was a physical altercation and the petitioner’s purse was stolen. The petitioner sought $11,000.00 in medical expenses, $32,000.00 in TTD benefits and $14,000.00 in PPD benefits. The Industrial Commission found (and the Appellate Court eventually affirmed) that the petitioner did not sustain an accident which arose out of her employment.
2. Michael Knowles v. Turner Brothers Construction, (88 WC 30114)
The petitioner alleged that he was exposed to a crude oil spill resulting in an alleged diagnosis of multiple chemical sensitivities. The petitioner pursued an award of permanent and total disability and provided a six-figure settlement demand. A pre-trial offer of $25,000.00 was rejected. The Industrial Commission found (and the Appellate Court eventually affirmed) that the petitioner did not sustain an accident while employed by Turner Brothers. Respondent offered the testimony of numerous co-workers along with extensive medical evidence in order to defend the claim.
3. Virgina Palmisano v. All Tile, Inc., (94 WC 36643)
The petitioner alleged she slipped and fell while working for respondent. The petitioner pursued medical expenses related to treatment for an open reduction of a nasal fracture deformity, headaches, and other complaints regarding her head, neck, chest, right shoulder and lower back. Petitioner pursued extensive TTD benefits during her treatment for alleged bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome, a small central disc herniation at C4-C5 and a herniation at L5-S1. The Industrial Commission found that the petitioner only carried her burden of proof that she had sustained contusion and abrasion injuries to her forehead, both knees and right hand. As a result of the injuries she sustained a strain of the right arm and a visible and palpable fullness over the right edge of nasal bone. Petitioner failed to prove the causal relationship between the alleged accident and any of her other complaints. Temporary total disability benefits were limited to 7-3/7 weeks and it was determined that the petitioner went beyond the two doctor provision of Section 8(a)(3) of the Act. Subsequent to the Commission review process, the remaining permanent partial disability issue was settled for 2.66% loss of the use of the right arm and three weeks of benefits pursuant to Section 8(c) of the Act.
4. Elihu Moore v. National Energy Systems, (91 WC 59821)
The petitioner demanded $26,541.00, representing 15% loss of the man as a whole to settle the case. An offer was made in the amount of $8,847.00, representing 5% loss of the man as a whole. The petitioner pursued arbitration claiming injuries to his left shoulder and low back. He was diagnosed with symptomatic mechanical low back syndrome with a dorsal lumbar strain. The Industrial Commission awarded $7,077.60, representing 4% loss of the man as a whole.
5. Rudolph Ortega v. Zenith Electronic Corporation, (88 WC 30714)
The petitioner sustained a compensable injury while working for respondent. He eventually underwent an L5-S1 hemilaminectomy and foraminotomy. The symptoms continued and the petitioner eventually underwent a decompressive lumbar laminectomy at L5 with foraminotomy with pedicle screw and rod fixation from L4 to S1. Petitioner pursued an award of permanent and total disability and provided a demand for settlement of $175,000.00. Temporary total disability benefits were terminated and an offer was made to settle the case for $42,701.25. The offer was rejected, we proceeded to trial and Arbitrator Preibis awarded $40,989.77. We successfully argued that the petitioner did not offer the evidence necessary to prove that he fell into the “odd lot” permanent total disability category.
6. Marylin Cutrano v. Jewel Food Stores, (93 WC 60932)
The petitioner alleged that she sustained bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome, bilateral cubital tunnel syndrome and a cervical radiculopathy related to bulging discs at C5-C6 and C6-C7. Petitioner’s demand for settlement was in the area of $100,000.00. We offered $39,626.53 and pursued the defense of the causal relation, TTD and permanent total disability issues at arbitration. Although Arbitrator Caliendo originally entered an award of over $90,000.00, Commissioners Kinnaman, Smart and Gilgis modified the award down to $42,371.62.
7. Jerry McNeeley v. McKay Contractors, (96 WC 50100)
In November of 1999, this file was transferred from another law firm to our office for further handling. We filed a Substitution of Attorney and provided the petitioner’s attorney with notice that we would request a trial at the next status hearing. The petitioner refused to reduce his settlement demand of $79,925.22. He also demanded two years of open medical benefits. Just prior to trial, the petitioner rejected our settlement offer of $54,925.22. The case was tried before Arbitrator Cronin on February 18, 2000 resulting in an award of $52,601.18. On June 25, 2000, while the matter was under review at the Commission, the case settled for $54,000.00.
8. Olga Kwolek v. Jewel Food Stores, (94 WC 11005)
The petitioner alleged that on June 18, 1993, while employed by Jewel Food Stores, she sustained an injury to her lower back and the area between her shoulder blades while reaching into a service case. She was eventually diagnosed with a herniated disc at L4-L5 and a bulging disc at C4-C5. Her treating physician was of the opinion that she was to maintain a 20-pound lifting restriction. The case was defended because the petitioner failed to report any accident to her supervisor nor did she provide Dr. Santos with a history of an accident even though she received treatment from him three days after the alleged accident. We were also aware that the petitioner had a previous injury as a result of an automobile accident in 1991. The petitioner proceeded under the theory that the alleged accident at work aggravated her pre-existing condition. The parties proceeded to trial before Arbitrator Cronin on March 29, 2000. An opening statement was utilized to advise the Arbitrator of the frivolous nature of the claim. Then, after approximately 90 minutes of cross-examination, Arbitrator Cronin abruptly terminated the arbitration hearing and asked the petitioner and court reporter to leave the room. At that time, the petitioner’s attorney announced that it was his intention to recommend for his client to voluntarily dismiss the claim. An Order of Voluntary Dismissal was entered on May 2, 2000.