CASE LAW SUMMARIES JUNE 2020

08/05/2020 8:49 AM | Judy Pfeiffer (Administrator)

I.          Slips & Falls / Parking Lots / Arising Out Of & In The Course Of- Reiman v. St. Joseph                                Memorial Hospital., 28 ILWCLB 68 (Ill. W.C. Comm. 2019).

            Petitioner, a 77-year-old women, fell on the sidewalk while walking to her car that was parked in the employer’s parking lot. Although Petitioner offered no testimony as to what exactly caused her fall, she testified that she did notice some ice on the sidewalk and parking lot when she fell. Petitioner also testified that it was sleeting at the time of the accident. Therefore, Petitioner assumed she slipped and fell on ice. Petitioner testified she was required to park in the area in which she fell.

            Respondent presented no less than six witnesses and two certified weather reports to counter Petitioner’s allegation that there was ice on the sidewalk and the parking lot. Nearly all of the witnesses, except one, testified there was no ice on either the sidewalk or parking lot at the time in question. Moreover, both of the certified weather reports introduced by Respondent showed there was no rain, snow, sleet, or any other type of precipitation on the date of the accident.   However, there was evidence of salt present in the area of the fall. Respondent’s witnesses testified the employer did not direct or require its employees to park in a designated parking area.

            The Arbitrator found Petitioner’s statement that she was required to park in the area where she fell not credible. The Arbitrator also noted the Petitioner’s statement that it was sleeting at the time of the accident was contradicted by the two certified weather reports. Nevertheless, the Arbitrator still found Petitioner’s accident was due to ice. The Arbitrator based this finding on Petitioner’s statement to her treatment providers that she fell on ice, and also on the fact that there was some salt on the ground at the time of Petitioner’s fall. Although the Arbitrator noted there was conflicting evidence as to whether there was ice on the sidewalk based on the presence of salt, which is designed to eliminate ice, the Arbitrator reasoned there must have still been ice since the presence of the salt did not “completely leave out the possibility of ice.”

            After determining Petitioner fell on ice, the Arbitrator found her claim to have both arisen out of and occurred in the course of her employment based primarily on the finding in Dukich v. Ill. Workers’ Comp. Comm’n, 86 N.E.3d 1161 (injuries arising out of the natural accumulations of ice and snow to be compensable, but slips and falls due to rain are not to be compensable.) Although the Arbitrator classified her risk as a neutral risk, no analysis was provided to show how this neutral risk became compensable risk based on either a qualitative or quantitative theory basis. On appeal, the Commission affirmed and adopted the Arbitrator’s decision in full without further comment.

II.        Slips & Falls / Parking Lots / Arising Out Of & In The Course Of - Hamby v. United                         Contractors., 28 ILWCLB 67 (Ill. W.C. Comm. 2020).

            Petitioner, who ran a water truck for a paving crew, walked to his truck when he stepped on a large rock, causing him to roll his ankle and fall on his right shoulder. Petitioner’s truck was parked in the entrance area of a gravel pit owned by the Respondent.

            The Arbitrator found that Petitioner’s accident arose out of and in the course of his employment with Respondent. The Arbitrator used a neutral risk analysis to arrive at this conclusion.

            On appeal, the Commission affirmed the Arbitrator’s decision but noted that the Arbitrator’s neutral risk analysis was unnecessary since the risk in question, exposure to a “large” three inch in diameter rock, which was within a sea of similar rocks in a gravel pit, constituted a defect on Respondent’s premises such that it made the risk of injury a risk distinctly associated with the Petitioner’s employment rather than a neutral risk. The Commission did not explain why a three inch rock located in a gravel pit full of similar sized rocks constituted a “defect”, while a two or two and a half inch rock did not constitute a “defect”.

III.       Slips & Falls / Parking Lots / Arising Out Of & In The Course Of - Graves v. The State of      Illinois, 28 ILWCLB 78 (Ill. W.C. Comm. 2020)

            Petitioner, a Circuit Court Judge, walked from her assigned parking spot to the Circuit Court building when she tripped and fell in an empty parking lot. The parking lot in question was limited to employees only and not accessible to the general public. Petitioner carried a backpack full of work materials as she walked to work. Lastly, Petitioner had to traverse several different uneven surfaces, including uneven gravel, in order to get from the assigned parking spot to the Circuit Court building. Petitioner testified she took was the most direct route, and the other potential routes from her assigned parking spot to her work were even more hazardous.

            The Arbitrator awarded Petitioner benefits after finding that Petitioner’s accident arose out of and in the course of her employment based on an increased neutral risk theory. The Arbitrator emphasized that the parking lot was for employees only, that Petitioner was instructed to park in said lot, that she carried a heavy backpack full of work materials, and that the path between the parking lot and the Circuit Court building required traversing over several uneven surfaces as support for the finding of an increased risk of injury. On appeal, the Commission affirmed the Arbitrator’s decision in its entirety.

Read more about:

IV.       Bending Over / Neutral Risk v. Employment Risk - Gomez v. City of Northlake, 28 ILWCLB 69 (Ill. W.C. Comm. 2019).

V.        Reaching / Neutral Risk vs. Employment Risk - Estill v. Ball-Chatham CUSD #5, 28                           ILWCLB 79 (Ill. W.C. Comm. 2019)

VI.       Aggravation of Preexisting Condition- Stuber v. Murray Developmental Center, 28 ILWCLB 71 (Ill. W.C. Comm. 2020).

VII.     Employer/Employee Relationship - Lingenfelter v. Cloverleaf Golf Course, Inc., 28 ILWCLB 72 (Ill. W.C. Comm. 2019).

VIII.    Overtime / AWW Calculations / Permanency - Pate v. Warren G. Murray Developmental Center, 28 ILWCLB 73 (Ill. W.C. Comm. 2019). 

IX.       TTD / TPD / Voluntary Abandonment of Accommodated Light Duty Work - Adams v. Hayes Mechanical Contractors, 28 ILWCLB 74 (Ill. W.C. Comm. 2019).

X.        Appeal to the Commission / Filing of Transcripts / Vocational Testimony- Rosario v.            City of Chicago., 28 ILWCLB 76 (Ill. W.C. Comm. 2019).

XI.       Interlocutory Appeals - Montgomery v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Com’n., 28 ILWCLB 77 (Ill. App. Ct., 3rd 2020).

XII.     Repetitive Trauma / Repetitive Use - Bartlett v. State of Illinois Dep. of Transportation, 28 ILWCLB 81 (Ill W.C. Comm. 2019)

XIII.    Use of Drugs / Intoxication - Deaton v. Southeast Personnel Leasing Inc., 28 ILWCLB 82 (Ill.  W.C. Comm. 2020).

XIV.    Permanency Value / PPD Benefits - Queiro v. JBS USA, 28 ILWCLB 83 (Ill. W.C. Comm.          2020).

XV.      Prospective Medical - O’Connor v. Trimark Marlinn, 28 ILWCLB 84 (Ill. W.C. Comm. 2019)

XVI.    Penalties / Unreasonable & Vexatious Conduct - Weatherspoon v. Metropolitan    Water Reclamation District, 28 ILWCLB 86 (Ill. W.C. Comm. 2019).

XVII.   Jurisdiction - Tyler v. Aureus Medical Group, 28 ILWCLB 87 (Ill. W.C. Comm. 2019).

XVIII. Vocational Services / Rule 9110.10 - Broner v. Saks Fifth Avenue, 28 ILWCLB 85 (Ill. W.C.      Comm. 2020).

Download the complete June 2020 Case Law Summaries.

Laura Hrubec,  President | Vitas J. Mockaitis, Vice President | Michelle Lafayette, Secretary | Catherine Doan, Treasurer

Copyright © 2016 WCLA.  All Rights Reserved.

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software