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Garcia v. Industrial Com.

OPINION FILED APRIL 22, 1983.

CARMEN F. GARCIA, APPELLANT,

v.

THE INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION ET AL. (DEL MONTE CORPORATION, APPELLEE).



Appeal from the Circuit Court of De Kalb County, the Hon. Carl A. Swanson, Judge, presiding. JUSTICE WARD DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Carmen F. Garcia filed a claim under the Workmen's Compensation Act (the Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 48, par. 138.1 et seq.) for injuries that she alleged were sustained in a fall on October 2, 1978, while upon her employer's premises. On April 24, 1980, an arbitrator filed his decision denying an award. On April 28, 1980, the claimant filed a petition for review of the arbitrator's decision with the Industrial Commission. On May 1, 1980, the arbitrator recalled his decision and issued a corrected decision which eliminated an inconsistency, not relevant here, which appeared in his earlier decision and which also denied the employee's claim for an award. Neither the claimant nor the employer filed a petition for review of the corrected decision with the Commission. The Commission ruled that it was without jurisdiction to review the arbitrator's corrected decision and that, by operation of section 19(b) of the Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 48, par. 138.19(b)), the corrected decision had become the final decision of the Commission. The circuit court of De Kalb County confirmed the action of the Industrial Commission, and the claimant brought a direct appeal to this court under Rule 302(a)(2) (73 Ill.2d R. 302(a)(2)).

Section 19(f) of the Act, in part, provides:

"[T]he Arbitrator * * * may on his * * * own motion, or on the motion of either party, correct any clerical error or errors in computation within 15 days after the date of receipt of any award by such Arbitrator * * * and shall have the power to recall the original award on arbitration * * * and issue in lieu thereof such corrected award or decision. Where such correction is made the time for * * * review herein specified shall begin to run from the date of the receipt of the corrected award or decision." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 48, par. 138.19(f).)

The arbitrator issued a corrected decision within 15 days of his original decision on April 24, 1980. As provided by section 19(f), the claimant had 15 days from receipt of the corrected decision within which to contest the denial of her claim. Since neither she nor her employer filed a petition for review of the corrected decision, it became the decision of the Commission without review and is "conclusive" of the dispute between the parties, as the Act provides. (See Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 48, par. 138.19(b).) The claimant's petition for review of the original decision was without effect because the issuance of the corrected decision made the original decision a nullity.

The claimant acknowledges that her omission in failing to petition for review of the corrected decision bars review by the Industrial Commission. She contends, however, that the circuit court and this court as well should review the merits of her claim. We must disagree. As stated, under section 19(b), the arbitrator's corrected decision became the decision of the Commission and is conclusive of the dispute. The corrected decision is "conclusive" because only proceedings to review final orders of the Industrial Commission may be considered by the courts>. (International Harvester v. Industrial Com. (1978), 71 Ill.2d 180, 187.) Since the Industrial Commission was without jurisdiction to review the corrected decision, the circuit court, and likewise this court (see 73 Ill.2d R. 302(a)(2)), lack jurisdiction. Sweitzer v. Industrial Com. (1946), 394 Ill. 141; City of Chicago v. Industrial Com. (1976), 63 Ill.2d 99.

Our recent decision in PPG Industries, Inc. v. Industrial Com. (1982), 91 Ill.2d 438, is relevant. In PPG Industries, which involved a similar situation, except that it was the employer that sought review of the arbitrator's decision, we held that the petition for review filed regarding the arbitrator's original decision could not serve as a petition to review the corrected decision. Consequently, we affirm the circuit court's judgment confirming the Commission's adoption of the corrected decision. See also Simpson v. Industrial Com. (1982), 91 Ill.2d 452.

For the reasons given, the judgment of the circuit court of De Kalb County confirming the action of the Industrial Commission is affirmed.

Judgment affirmed.

JUSTICE SIMON, dissenting:

I do not agree that the minor change that was made in the arbitrator's decision in this case was sufficient to render Ms. Garcia's petition for review in the Industrial Commission ineffective. I would reverse the circuit court judgment and remand the cause to the Industrial Commission for normal review proceedings.

Neither case law nor common sense compels the result reached by the majority. Section 19(b) of the Workers' Compensation Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 48, par. 138.19(b)) gives petitioners 15 days from the time of receipt of an arbitrator's decision to appeal that decision to the Industrial Commission, and section 19(f) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 48, par. 138.19(f)) permits an arbitrator "on his * * * own motion, or on the motion of either party, [to] correct any clerical error or errors in computation * * * and * * * recall the original award on arbitration * * * and issue in lieu thereof [a] corrected award or decision" (emphasis added), such correction beginning anew the 15-day period for appeal. The statute speaks of recalling the decision or award and substituting something different in its place, or of considering a request by one of the parties that such an alteration be made. Implicit in that is the idea that the change that is made or argued for be a material one, going to the substance of the award or decision or at least to the rationale behind it. The cases cited by the majority are consistent with this narrow interpretation of section 19(f) and do not support the result reached here. In PPG Industries, Inc. v. Industrial Com. (1982), 91 Ill.2d 438, the arbitrator enlarged the period for which temporary total disability benefits were being awarded from 17 weeks to 26 2/7 weeks. In International Harvester v. Industrial Com. (1978), 71 Ill.2d 180, the petition for certiorari was filed while the employer's request for correction of the amount of the award was still under consideration by the Industrial Commission.

In this case there was no request by either party that the arbitrator correct his decision, and the correction that was made had nothing to do with the amount or substance of the award or with the arbitrator's reasons for denying benefits. The arbitrator's decision as corrected read:

"CORRECTED NOTICE OF DECISION AND DECISION OF ARBITRATOR

Take notice that on April 24, 1980, May 1, 1980, the decision of the Arbitrator set forth below, was filed ...

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