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04/20/88 Fencl-Tufo Chevrolet, Inc. v. the Industrial Commission

April 20, 1988





523 N.E.2d 926, 169 Ill. App. 3d 510, 120 Ill. Dec. 15 1988.IL.565

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Alexander P. White, Judge, presiding.


JUSTICE WOODWARD delivered the opinion of the court. BARRY, P.J., and McNAMARA, McCULLOUGH, and CALVO, JJ., concur.


Claimant, Edward Weese, filed an application for adjustment of claim alleging injuries arising out of his employment on October 27, 1984. On July 23, 1986, the arbitrator found that claimant's condition was causally connected to the accident, that claimant was temporarily totally disabled from October 28, 1984, to June 25, 1986, and that claimant was entitled to $10,752.93 of reasonable and necessary medical expenses.

The Industrial Commission (Commission) affirmed the arbitrator's decision, and the circuit court of Cook County confirmed the Commission's finding. This appeal followed.

On appeal, respondent raises the following issues: (1) the Commission erred in allowing into evidence the records of numerous physicians over its hearsay objection; (2) the Commission improperly awarded temporary total disability benefits despite claimant's repeated refusals to honor respondent's requests for medical information; (3) the Commission's award of temporary total disability was against the manifest weight of the evidence; (4) the Commission erroneously awarded medical expenses of service providers beyond petitioner's first two choices; and (5) the Commission erred in awarding medical expenses already paid by a nonparty and for which petitioner is not liable.

At the time of the accident, claimant was a 27-year-old journeyman mechanic working for respondent. Claimant testified that he was installing a drive shaft in a light truck when the vehicle's forward gear apparently became engaged. Claimant stated that he was standing in front of the truck with his back to it. The vehicle rolled forward and pinned him against a steel workbench and concrete wall. He was taken by ambulance to Glendale Heights Community Hospital, where he complained of "severe left lower quadrant pain and pain extending around the left thigh into the left sacral area." He was diagnosed as having a contusion injury of the soft tissues of the left pelvic and thigh regions. Claimant was released from the hospital on November 1, 1984.

Claimant testified that on October 3, 1984, he had given respondent 30-day notice of his intention to terminate his employment. He was returning to Michigan to work as a machinist for his father. Claimant left Illinois on November 3, 1984, and took up residence in Shelby, Michigan. He initially came under the care of Dr. C. A. Johnson of the New Era (Michigan) Family Practice Clinic (clinic), a one-physician practice located in a rural area.

Dr. Johnson referred claimant to Dr. John LeClaire, who performed EMG's on claimant on November 30, 1984, and December 21, 1984. Dr. LeClaire concluded that there appeared to be an isolated lesion to the motor branch of the superior gluteal nerve which innervated the gluteus medial muscle. Claimant was admitted to Mercy Hospital, Muskegon, Michigan, on December 27, 1984, for sympathetic nerve block treatment and trigger point injections. At Mercy Hospital, Dr. Singer served as his treating physician.

Dr. Johnson referred claimant to Dr. D. Cavender at Muskegon's Hackley Hospital for another EMG, which was performed on March 22, 1985. The results indicated a "severe incomplete lesion of the left superior gluteal nerve." Dr. Cavender also noted "posterior myotome findings in the left L5, S1 distribution which were not previously reported." He found no significant improvement from prior EMG's.

Dr. Johnson subsequently referred claimant to Dr. Van Nuis, a Grand Rapids neurologist, who examined him on April 10, 1985. Dr. Van Nuis concluded that there appeared to have been some injury to the superior gluteal nerve with a denervation in the gluteus media. He also noted that from a review of previous EMG's, it was evident that claimant was experiencing lumbosacral radiculopathy. Dr. Van Nuis indicated that the claimant's recovery might be slow.

At the request of respondent's insurer, claimant saw Dr. Oliver Grin on July 3, 1985. At this examination, Dr. Grin observed evidence of a superior gluteal nerve injury. He was also concerned about claimant possibly having "an intraspinal process" and therefore recommended a lumbar myelogram. Claimant was admitted to Blogett Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on July 17, 1985, and he was subsequently discharged on July 20, 1985. Claimant underwent a lumbar myelogram on July 18, 1985; the results were unremarkable. He was instructed to "stay off work" and to arrange an appointment with Dr. Grin in one or two weeks. Claimant testified that he contacted Dr. Grin after this hospitalization and that Dr. Grin wanted to set a follow-up appointment six months later.

Some time in 1985, Dr. Johnson, apparently for financial reasons, sold the clinic's practice to Dr. La Violette who, in turn, sold the practice to Dr. Craig Weisse in or about September 1985.

On November 22, 1985, Dr. LeClaire performed another EMG on claimant. He concluded that the test results were consistent with a severe lesion to the superior gluteal nerve and that claimant's neuropathy had gotten worse since his prior EMG on March 22, 1985.

Dr. Weisse referred claimant to Dr. Scott Lachniet, a Muskegon orthopedic surgeon, who, in turn, referred him to the University of Michigan Hospital's neurosurgery department, where he was examined on December 9, 1985, by Drs. Hoff and Randall. They opined that he had a post-traumatic pain syndrome which had been unresponsive to conservative therapy. Claimant was then referred to the hospital's pain clinic, where Dr. Michael de Rosayro treated him. Several nerve blocks were administered to claimant; these provided only temporary relief of his symptoms. Dr. de Rosayro, who saw claimant four or five times in the early months of 1986, diagnosed claimant's medical condition as a reflex sympathetic ...

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