Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County, the Hon. Jack
Hoogasian, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE CLARK DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
Petitioner, Roger Schultheis, filed a claim for workers' compensation for injuries he sustained during an assault. An arbitrator for the Industrial Commission found that the petitioner failed to prove that the injuries he had received arose out of and in the course of his employment and denied petitioner's claim. On review the Industrial Commission affirmed the arbitrator's decision, and the circuit court of Lake County confirmed the decision of the Industrial Commission. The claimant has appealed directly to this court (73 Ill.2d R. 302(a)(2)), asserting that the Commission's decision is against the manifest weight of the evidence.
The only witness to testify at both the arbitration hearing and on review before the Commission was the petitioner. Schultheis, a jeep driver for Johnson Outboards, testified that on March 12, 1979, he was assaulted during working hours. He testified on that date he had a disagreement with one of the company's supervisors. After their argument, petitioner sought the intervention of a shop steward. The shop steward and the petitioner then went to speak to the supervisor. During a discussion among the three men, an argument ensued between the shop steward and the supervisor. Thereafter, the shop steward and Schultheis went to the union office which was located in a trailer on the company premises, adjacent to the company plant, to discuss the dispute with a union representative. The union is known as the Independent Mariners Association, and the petitioner testified that he is a member.
Schultheis testified that, as he entered the conference room of the trailer, the president of the union, Kenny McDonald, jumped up, grabbed him, and pinned him up against the wall while yelling obscenities. Petitioner testified that he had not said anything to McDonald as he entered the trailer. In fact, Schultheis stated, he did not even get a chance to say hello before McDonald grabbed him. At the hearing before the arbitrator, the petitioner testified that he did not know the reason why McDonald had hit him.
Following the incident in the trailer, Schultheis requested permission to leave the company premises. He went to his attorney's office in Chicago. After discussing the incident with his attorney, Schultheis testified, he went to Victory Memorial Hospital in Waukegan and received treatment for his injuries.
On February 22, 1980, after hearing the testimony of the petitioner as to the events of March 12, 1979, the arbitrator found that the petitioner had failed to prove that his injuries arose out of and in the course of his employment and denied petitioner's claim.
On review before the Commission, the petitioner was again the sole witness to testify. He stated that he had obtained additional evidence regarding his assault since the time of the arbitration hearing. He testified that, approximately one month after the hearing on arbitration, he had spoken to McDonald. According to the petitioner, during this conversation he asked McDonald the reason why he (McDonald) had assaulted him. Petitioner testified that McDonald responded by accusing him of being instrumental in causing an audit of the union books. Apparently the audit had been done in response to a claim that there was a shortage of union funds.
Counsel for respondent strongly objected to petitioner's testimony regarding the conversation he had with McDonald on the grounds that it was hearsay. Counsel argued that petitioner could not testify as to why McDonald accosted him, that only McDonald could properly testify to the reason he assaulted petitioner. The evidence was admitted over the respondent's objection.
Even in light of this new evidence, the Commission affirmed the arbitrator's decision and denied compensation, finding that "[p]petitioner's injuries did not arise out of and in the course of his employment but were the result of a union dispute."
The circuit court also found, after reviewing all the evidence, that the Commission's findings of fact and conclusions of law were not contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence and thus confirmed the decision of the Commission.
On appeal before this court there are two issues: (1) whether the petitioner's testimony regarding his conversation with the union president was hearsay and therefore improperly admitted, and (2) whether the Commission's finding that the petitioner's injuries did not arise out of and in the course of his employment because they were the result of a union dispute is against the manifest weight of the evidence.
The respondent asserts that the petitioner's testimony before the Commission regarding his conversation with McDonald was hearsay in its purest form and should not have been admitted. In support of its assertion the respondent argues that the primary purpose of offering the petitioner's testimony was to identify the reason why McDonald assaulted the petitioner. Thus, respondent contends, it was an out-of-court statement being offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted (that McDonald assaulted petitioner because he caused an audit of the union books).
In response, the petitioner asserts that the testimony was not hearsay because it was offered merely to show the state of mind of McDonald and not to ...