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Synopsis: Q & A From Defense Attorney John Campbell and Lobbyist Jay Shattuck About New IL Recreational Marijuana Laws in Your Workplaces.   Editor’s comment: Our name partner John Campbell had a good question from a client worth sharing; he asked lobbying expert Jay Shattuck of the IL State Chamber if he could provide some insight. Please note Jay is not a lawyer and doesn’t profess to be; that said, in my view, he is one of our State’s top experts on understanding legislation and its impact on your business.   John Campbell noted the IL recreational marijuana statute provides…
Synopsis: IL WC Arbitrators “TBA” Finally “A-ed.”   Editor’s comment: For months, we have been telling our clients a given claim or call was assigned to Arbitrator “TBA” or to be announced. This has led to other Arbitrators cycling in and out of the calls and picking and choosing claims to try or continue while awaiting a permanently assigned Arbitrator.     Well, earlier this week, Governor Pritzker finally named six more IL WC Arbitrators, filling all TBA positions that had been vacant. It has been more than a year without a full staff of workers’ compensation arbitrators. Of these…
Synopsis: Retirement of IL State Senate President John Cullerton.   Editor’s comment: The defense team at Keefe, Campbell, Biery & Associates wants to salute the coming retirement of a great Illinois leader, John Cullerton. John is a quiet and strong legislator. John  He will be greatly missed by the IL WC community. He was a quiet force that kept the system intact over his 40+ year career. We hope he hangs around a little to continue giving great advice to the legislators he is leaving behind.     Synopsis: Temporary Transitional Duty Works Again in IL WC—Will It Work On…
Synopsis: Understanding Employer v. Employee in IL Work Comp.   Editor’s comment: Thoughts and concepts for all WC professionals to consider.   Employee vs. Independent Contractor   In situations where elements of both an employee-employer relationship and an independent contractor relationship are present, the IL WC Commission and Illinois courts reviewing the decision of the Commission on appeal look to the following major factors in determining whether petitioner is an employee:   1. The relationship of the work performed to the overall business of both the individual performing the work and the regular work of the alleged employer;              …
Synopsis: Runaway and Shocking Retaliatory Discharge Verdict—What Do You Learn From It?   Editor’s comment: Dean Foods was ordered to pay more than $3 million in punitive damages as a result of a retaliatory discharge lawsuit filed by former employee/Plaintiff Jankowski, who alleged retaliation and discrimination against the milk processing facility.   According to a news release from the Wheaton-based Coffey Law Office, which represents Jankowski, a jury found Defendant Dean Foods retaliated against Jankowski by refusing to recall him back to work from August 2014 up until his termination after Jankowski had suffered an injury on the job and then refused…
Synopsis: Trying to Make Sense of Where To Draw the Line—Understanding The “Traveling Employee” Concept in Workers’ Comp.   Editor’s comment: To some extent, I feel the Petitioner’s Bar in Illinois and other states is always looking for a “gotcha” concept that renders any injury that can be in any way related to something to do with work as fully compensable. The closest concept to being a “gotcha” in work comp is the nebulous and ever-changing concept of the “traveling employee.” The concept is grounded in a sort of common sense—if your employer sends you to a strange and foreign place, let’s…
Synopsis: Pancake House Fall Down Denied by IL Appellate Court. Editor’s comment: In a mildly surprising but legally well-founded ruling, a unanimous ruling from the IL Appellate Court, WC Division considered facts about a worker who suffered somewhat severe injuries prior to getting to work. In Walker Brothers, Inc. v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Comm’n, (issued September 13, 2019), the IL WC Commission awarded Claimant medical, temporary total disability (TTD), and permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits. Claimant was seriously injured when he had parked his car and was walking, heading to work, and fell on ice in a retail store parking lot…
Synopsis: Gene Keefe and Matt Ignoffo on Dealing With Marijuana/THC in the Workplace for Illinois and Other States. Part 1; Part 2 Next week.   Editor’s comment: Gene and Matt have developed a great presentation for your managers or the OccHealth Department of any hospital. If you are interested in a presentation and/or webinar, send a reply.   Here are the salient points on Marijuana in the Workplace. First   Understand the laws on Marijuana/THC and prescription medications that are specific to your State;   Adopt a pre-duty prescription medication and impairing substances safety policy;   Update job descriptions;  …
Synopsis: Shocking IL Appellate Ruling That Might Set the Trucking Risk and HR Industry on Its Ear When Your Rigs Cross Anywhere Near the Nutty Land O’ Lincoln!! This $54M verdict is an IL Auto Claim Record. Plaintiffs James Denton and his wife, Theresa, of Oak Lawn, sued David L. Johnson, the truck driver, and Universal Am-Can Ltd., Universal Truckload Services Inc. and Louis Broadwell LLC, Johnson’s employers, in 2015, alleging Johnson was negligent when he failed to slow down to avoid a crash as traffic unexpectedly changed. As you will read, the verdict didn’t really come from a bad-driving claim—it…
Synopsis: Will “Dynamex” Come to Illinois and Other States Soon? I consider this required reading for HR, Risk and WC claims handlers.   Editor’s comment: I truly feel my readers need to know of this “Left Coast” mess because we have no way to stop the concept in Illinois if the super-majorities in our State Senate and House want to bring it here. Our wildly liberal Governor is almost certain to sign off on it. I doubt our surrounding States will have any interest in it but you never know.   Please also note the Dynamex concept has been codified…
Synopsis: IL Risk/HR Managers Have to Catch Up to New Salary History “Gotcha” Law.   Editor’s comment: The reason I call this a “Gotcha” law is the defenses are basically stripped away to expand reserves/exposures. The mistakes that may cost your company thousands in awards and opposing counsel’s attorneys fees which could become common. The mistakes could be innocent. You have less than three weeks to insure personnel folks in the hiring part of your company know what they have to do and NOT do.   Please note Brad Smith, J.D. is our top employment law defense attorney/partner and can…
Synopsis: Here are “Brown Bag Luncheon” IL WC Claims Analyzed by the Bi-Partisan WLCA Editors’ for your consideration. I give strong credit to the WCLA team that created this analyses for public consumption.   Editor’s comment: Your Editor is adding my “defense-only” comments. I admit to being somewhat biased because, well, I am. Please take my opinions with at least a grain or three of salt. I sometimes think I am perfect to find out, Ooops.   Employer-Employee: Coleman v. AKMG, 18 I.W.C.C. 703 (IWCC November 16, 2018)   At Arbitration, the primary issue was whether Petitioner was an employee…
Synopsis: IL Governor JB Pritzker Continues “John Hancocking” New Laws at Record Pace—KCB&A’s Top Employment Lawyer, Brad Smith Wants To Keep You Ahead of Him and Them!   Editor’s comment: As Summer begins its descent into Autumn, new IL laws keep on, keepin’ on. Recently, Governor Pritzker signed sweeping changes to the Illinois legal landscape. Some of these laws directly affect Illinois employers, HR folks and risk managers, so pay close attention. Most of them do not take effect immediately, but they’ll be here shortly.   Work Place Transparency Act   One of those laws is the Illinois Workplace Transparency…
Synopsis: Petitioner’s/Plaintiff Counsel in an IL WC Claim I Am Adjusting Wants My File—Do I Have To Give It To Them? Editor’s comment: We had a great client who is a claims adjuster receive an opening “hello” email from the other side’s attorney. The attorney nicely asked for all sorts of stuff in the file, including incident/accident reports, witness statements and wage documents. The adjuster inquired as to whether to respond and provide all that documentation.   My response was simple—you can produce/share whatever you want. You don’t have to because there is limited “discovery” in IL workers comp. I…
Synopsis: The Six Ways to Close an Illinois (and many State and Federal) Workers’ Compensation Claims.   Editor’s comment: We keep having clients ask so we wanted to provide our expert legal guidance on this important topic for all sides of the matrix. When the defense team at KCB&A speak at local, regional and national conferences, we are routinely advised the cool thing about IL WC is a claims handler or risk manager can actually “close” files if you do things correctly. In our neighboring states, many systems don’t allow for “complete” closure and little annoying things can happen to…
Synopsis: AUGUST IN IL—BENEFIT RATES RISE WITH THE HUMIDITY??—UPDATED RATE SHEETS AVAILABLE SOON FOR ILLINOIS WC RATE INCREASE!!!    Editor’s comment: Illinois WC Rates Have Updated Again So Please Be Aware Of The New Rates or Your Claims Handling Will Suffer and Penalties May Ensue.   Email Marissa at mpatel@keefe-law.com to Get a Free and Complimentary Email or Hard Copy of Shawn R. Biery’s Updated IL WC Rate-Sheet! You can also send any questions to Shawn at sbiery@keefe-law.com   We note that the recent legislation to increase the statewide minimum wage eventually to $15/hr will lead to the continued rate…