Keefe, Campbell, Biery & Associates

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Our attorneys possess extensive experience in and commitment to the areas of civil litigation defense. The firm services all of its defense clients' litigation needs in general liability, employment claims, construction claims, product liability and workers' compensation. Our familiarity with practice and court procedures has earned us the respect of judges, administrators and adversaries. Our attorneys practice throughout the State of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin & Iowa.

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Synopsis: Successful Appellate Outcome for Defense Attorney Lindsay Vanderford and KCB&A! Court Rejects Petitioner’s Challenge to Appointment of Arbitrator and Ruling on His WC Claim. Editor’s Comment: Please note this ruling isn’t “final” and might be subject to rehearing or a Petition for Certiorari to the Illinois Supreme Court. That said, we do feel the litigation will end. In Osman v. IWCC, No. 2-23-0180WC, issued 03/18/2024, the Illinois Appellate Court, WC Division rejected the worker’s challenges to the appointment of the Arbitrator in his case and upheld a determination the worker failed to prove causation between a subsequent condition and a work-related accident. Claimant Osman
Continue Reading 3-25-2024; Successful Appellate Outcome for Atty Vanderford and KCBA!; Birth Defect Litigation Against Employers is Not Blocked by WC Exclusive Remedy and more

Synopsis: So, Can We Deny All Idiopathic Falls in IL WC? Not So Fast, the Devil is in the Details! Opinion and comments by John Campbell, J.D.  Editor’s comment: This Month, We Review the decision in Chicago Board of Education v. IWCC IL APP (1st) 1-22-0341WC (issued March 17, 2023) Although we have seen recent rulings where idiopathic (or completely unexplained) falls are denied under IL WC as non-compensable, the Workers’ Compensation Division of the Illinois Appellate Court finds an Idiopathic fall may STILL be compensable where the work environment was a contributing factor to the injury.  Petitioner worked as a
Continue Reading 3-8-24; Law Update; Chicago School Teacher's Challenging Fall Found Compensable; WC Claims Appear to be "Doubling" into Civil Rights Claims and more

Synopsis: AS WE ARE NOW IN 2024—IL WC BENEFIT RATES STILL SPIRAL UP ENDLESSLY??—SHAWN BIERY’S UPDATED IL WC RATE SHEETS AVAILABLE FOR ACCURATE WC RATES AND RESERVING!!!  Editor’s comment: The IWCC has posted a new TTD rate of almost $2,000 a week going into 2024 and max PPD RATE is now well over $1,000. FYI, Illinois WC rates have updated again so please be aware of the New IL WC Rates or your claims handling will suffer and penalties may ensue. Please also note that the IL State Min Wage is now $14 per hour and will rise another dollar on New
Continue Reading 2-4-2024; Shawn Biery's New IL WC Rate Sheet is Out–Max PPD rate is up to $1,024.87 for DOL 7/1/23 and later–check your reserves; John Campbell-Tim O'Gorman Chronicle New IL HR Laws and More

Synopsis: A Pirate Turns 80–Former Alderman Ed Burke’s Political Career and Role as a Municipal WC Manager Comes to an Abrupt End. Editor’s comment: I admit I stole the idea for the title of this piece from the song by the late and great Jimmy Buffett who recently transitioned to a new and hopefully better place.  What Did Former Alderman Ed Burke Have To Do With Workers’ Comp? Few observers in the U.S. and Illinois workers’ comp industry know that former Alderman Burke “ran” the City of Chicago’s workers’ comp and police/fire disability programs for decades. In my personal opinion, he did
Continue Reading 1/7/2024; A Pirate Turns 80–Thoughts on former Alderman Ed Burke; An Unusual Wage Diff Ruling That Ignores an Earlier Ruling Requiring Voc Assessments; New IRS Mileage Rate Posted; Herb Franks RIP

Synopsis: Wage Differential Claims Are A-Changing in Illinois Workers’ Comp. Editor’s comment: I consider this a “must-read” for IL WC risk managers, claims handlers and attorneys/hearing officers. The information I am doing my best to provide is going to change reserves, lump sums and all handling of one of Illinois’ biggest WC claims—wage loss differential under Section 8(d-1) of the IL WC Act. I am fairly sure we are going to need computers to accurately set reserves. I don’t believe many of the troops, on both sides of this matrix, are aware of the new battlefield that may be wage loss differential
Continue Reading 11-20-2023; Wage Loss Differential Claims are A-Changing in IL WC; Injured Worker Can't Bring Civil Claim Against Borrowing Employer, Happy Thanksgiving to All!

Synopsis: The Illinois Appellate Court, WC Division Ruled on a “Future Medical” Issue, Remanding to See if a “Life Care Plan” for up to $17.8 Million is Reasonable.Editor’s comment: In Montgomery v. IWCC, No. 3-21-0604WC, 11/15/2022, published, our IL WC Appellate Court ruled the IL Workers’ Compensation Commission exceeded its authority in setting conditions for the provision of future medical treatment for an injured worker.This ruling strongly emphasizes one issue with leaving medical rights completely open in any IL WC claim—I feel this decision to leave medical rights open was “easy” until it turned ugly and resulted in years of
Continue Reading 10-31-2023; Halloween Edition!! IL Appellate Court Rules on Future Medical and Remands for Ruling on Multi-Million Dollar "Life Care Plan;" NLRB New…

Synopsis: IL WC “Downstate” Arbitrator Transfers to Happen in 70 days or 1/1/2024. Several Arbitrators seated in IWCC Zones 1-6 will be transferred effective January 1, 2024. Thoughts and Analysis by Lindsay R. Vanderford, JD.
Editor’s comment: In an October 11, 2023 announcement, the IWCC notified all known members of the bar and litigants of the upcoming transfer of 14 of the 18 IL WC arbitrators sitting in venues outside of Cook County.
The Commission’s message read, “Our Act provides that no Arbitrator may sit at any docket outside of Cook County for more than four (4) years. Based upon
Continue Reading 10-22-2023; IL WC Arbitrator Transfers Coming in 70 days; IL Appellate Court Actually Cuts a PPD Award for a Police Officer to Comply With The IL WC Act and more

Synopsis: AS WE HEAD TO 2024—IL WC BENEFIT RATES STILL SPIRAL UP WITH THE HUMIDITY??—SHAWN BIERY’S UPDATED IL WC RATE SHEETS AVAILABLE FOR ACCURATE RATES AND RESERVING!!!  Editor’s comment: The IWCC hasn’t posted a new TTD rate going into 2024 but other WC rates stayed the same. Our PPD max doesn’t update until 2024 regardless, so find attached the new SRB rate chart.  FYI, Illinois WC rates have updated again so please be aware of the New IL WC Rates or your claims handling will suffer and penalties may ensue. Please also note that the IL State Min Wage is now $13
Continue Reading 8-31-2023; Shawn Biery, Esq. Issues His Updated IL WC Rate Chart; Crossing Guard Gets Benefits From Fall-Down in Public Parking Before Getting to Work and more

Synopsis: Indiana Worker’s Compensation Board is Testing a new PPI Submission Portal Starting Now, 8/14/23. Article and analysis by our IN WC Defense Team Leader, Kevin Boyle, J.D.Editor’s comment: IWCB is doing voluntary testing of their PPI Submission Portal for the rest of August 2023, and it will be mandatory by October 1, 2023.Today, August 14th, 2023, the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Board will begin testing a PPI Submission Portal. The Board anticipated that it will be available for use by all adjusters on September 1, 2023. Your Indiana adjusters may receive email blasts before the “go live” date. The portal will only be
Continue Reading 8-14-23; Indiana WC Board Testing New PPI Portal Starting Right Now; IL Appellate Court, WC Div Orders Some Medical For Police Officer But Not All; IL WC Arbitrators Coming/Going and more

Synopsis: New IL Law Allows Observer(s) Attendance at Work Comp IME’s with Video. Editor’s comment: IL SB 1748 was signed by the Governor and is now law. We assume but cannot confirm the driving force behind this change is ITLA or the IL Trial Lawyers Association that is one of the biggest political donor organizations in this State. The new legislation says: Section 5. The Code of Civil Procedure is amended by changing Sections 2-1003 and 2-1007.1 as follows:     (735 ILCS 5/2-1003)  (from Ch. 110, par. 2-1003)    Sec. 2-1003. Discovery and depositions.    (a) Discovery, such as admissions of fact and of genuineness of
Continue Reading 8-10-2023; New Law Allows Observer Attendance at WC IME's with Video; Staffing Agency management in our State Just Changed with New Law; Murder at Arby's–Does WC Act Block Negligent Hiring Claim

Synopsis: Real-Life Lawyers remain smarter than Artificial Intelligence!! Well… some of us anyway. Thoughts/comments by John P. Campbell, J.D.Editor’s Comment: We have all seen and read recent reports of how Artificial Intelligence programs like ChatGBT will revolutionize many areas of business. There are even predictions such technology will drive many folks in various industries out of work with the breakthrough program’s amazing ability to put together essays, arguments and otherwise compile data in an organized manner.Well, you may not want to fire your attorneys and send your lap-top to court for you just yet….A federal judge in New York City
Continue Reading 7-5-2023; "Artifical Intelligence" Comes With Less-Than-Intelligent Programming; New IN WC Rates and more

Synopsis: Gender-Based Violence Protections Expanded and May Now Bring the Focus of New IGVA Claims on IL Employers.Editor’s comment: As I have advised my readers for some time, Illinois is a One-Party State and will remain so for a generation or more. This concept means the IL business community has little say on what is being done in the IL legislature and administrative agencies. Our goal is sending this to you is to insure you are aware of and prepared for these new amendments. I also want our readers to understand the importance of stopping/ending gender-based violence whenever and wherever
Continue Reading 5-29-2023; Gender-Based Violence Will Soon Be a Challenge for All IL Employers; Struggling to make sense of what is called "Long Covid;" Happy Memorial Day and more

Synopsis: What you need to do when a machine/device causes a work comp claim in Illinois Editor’s comment: When a worker is involved in a work-related accident, especially one involving a machine or other mechanical device owned by the employer, companies can be confronted with challenging questions regarding preservation of the device causing or contributing to the accident/injury.  Risk, safety and claims managers should know the issues caused by Illinois law with an understanding of the importance of preserving the contrivance/mechanical device with a plan in place to ensure proper action is taken when an accident happens.  Please note this
Continue Reading 5-9-2023; What You Need to Do When a Machine or Device Causes a WC claim in IL; Important Ruling on Medical Rights and the Right to Maintenance Benefits in IL WC and more

Synopsis: New IL WC Ruling in Allen v. Hot Spot Affirms Idiopathic Defense to Fall Downs (and others??).
 
Editor’s comment: The IL WC Appellate Ruling in McAlister caused much commotion when a worker injured himself merely standing up at work. Lots of folks worried this ruling indicated similar defenses were at an end with our current Commission and reviewing courts.
 
Not so fast! Now the IL WC Bar is talking about Allen v. Hot Spot, 30 ILWCLB 210 (Ill. W.C. Comm. 2022).
 
This claim involved a worker who was opening a gambling room as part of her work. The claimant
Continue Reading 2-20-2023; New IL WC Ruling in Allen v. Hot Spot Affirms Idiopathic Defense to Fall Downs (and others); "Firefighter" with Kidney Disease Related It to His Job Title; Rich Hannigan RIP

Synopsis: The first Covid-19 ruling has been dispatched by the IL WC Commission, affirming the Arbitrator’s finding of work-related exposure.  Editor’s Comment: Nearly three years into the Covid-19 pandemic, the IWCC has considered and now published the first litigated IL OccDisease Covid-19 claim. In Lucero v. Focal Point, LLC, 20WC018985, 22IWCC0231, the Commission affirmed the Arbitrator’s finding of occupational workplace exposure, ruling Petitioner’s Covid-19 infection/illness arose out of employment. We note the ruling was correctly classified as an Occupational Disease Act case vs. a Workers’ Compensation Act matter; a relatively minor, but proper distinction. Petitioner worked as a machine operator for an
Continue Reading 1-31-2023; First Covid-19 Ruling from IL WC Comm; New IL Laws (with one old one) and more

Synopsis: Will City of Chicago WC Claims Start to Make Sense Under this Mayoral Administration?Editor’s comment: For decades, City of Chicago WC claims were mis-managed by a former Alderman who is now facing federal criminal charges. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and trial is set for the fall.In my opinion, this Alderman used the WC system along with the police/fire disability program to recruit and help political cronies—he is not facing any charges for those actions. The saddest and most obvious example of this mis=management technique was a police cadet who was placed on disability while in
Continue Reading 1-13-2023; Will City of Chicago WC Claims Start to Make Sense Under this Mayoral Administration?; PFLAW Coming to the IL Workplace; New IRS Mileage Rates and more