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06/27/88 Michael Chapman, v. the Industrial Commission

June 27, 1988

MICHAEL CHAPMAN, APPELLANT

v.

THE INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION ET AL. (MOBLEY SERVICE, INC., APPELLEE)

CLAIMANT THEREAFTER FILED A PETITION FOR LUMP SUM PAYMENT OF HIS AWARD PURSUANT TO SECTION 9 OF THE WORKERS' COMPENSATION ACT (ILL. RE

v.

STAT. 1985, CH. 48, PAR. 138.9), AND A HEARING ON THAT PETITION WAS HELD BEFORE THE INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION.



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIFTH DISTRICT, INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION DIVISION

525 N.E.2d 1160, 171 Ill. App. 3d 563, 121 Ill. Dec. 853 1988.IL.1006

Appeal from the Circuit Court of White County; the Hon. Leo T. Desmond, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

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

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE WOODWARD

Following a hearing before the arbitrator, claimant, Michael Chapman, was awarded the sum of $160.75 per week for life due to permanent disabling injuries he sustained while working for the respondent, Mobley Services, Inc. The arbitrator found that the claimant should continue to obtain treatment at the Outreach Head Injury Program in Carbondale, Illinois, until such time that nothing further could be done to benefit the claimant.

At the hearing, it was established that claimant had been adJudged a disabled person and that his parents had been appointed guardians of his estate. Since claimant's accident, his wife, Connie J. Chapman, had received a dissolution of her marriage to the claimant and had married David R. Mobley, Sr., the proprietor of the respondent. At the time of her marriage to Mobley, Connie was pregnant with his child and, subsequently, gave birth to David R. Mobley, Jr. At the time of the hearing before the Commission, the issues in the dissolution proceeding relating to custody, child support, and the distribution of marital assets and the allocation of marital debt remained pending and undetermined.

Several witnesses testified on behalf of the claimant. William Carnagey, director of the outreach program, testified concerning ongoing care and treatment claimant received at the outreach program and as to certain unpaid charges. According to Carnagey, the ongoing divorce proceedings added additional frustration to claimant's life and that in view of his accident and the breakup of his marriage, it would be beneficial to claimant to conclude the property distribution so that he could get on with his life.

Betty Chapman, claimant's mother and guardian, testified that if the divorce were settled, it would then be possible for claimant to let go of the past.

Connie Chapman Mobley, former wife of the claimant, testified that the subject of the divorce is a source of irritation to her present husband, David Mobley, in that David believes that there was still something between Michael and her. In her opinion, if the bills were paid, the divorce could be settled, and claimant would be out of her life, and she would not have to deal with him again.

David Mobley, Sr., Connie's present husband, testified that he would like Connie to be totally free from her former marriage and that in order for this to happen, claimant needed the money from the lump sum settlement to clean up the debts and settle the divorce case.

Donald E. Creek, affiliated with Money Financial Services, testified that the lump sum commutation of all benefits came to $212,510.

The parties stipulated that David Rowland, claims manager of General Accident Group, the worker's compensation insurer of respondent, would testify that the lump sum commutation is not in the best interest of the insurer or the respondent. The commutation was opposed because of the speculative nature of the claimant's life expectancy, as well as the use of an interest rate of 5 1/2% to compute the value. The insurance company could invest this sum at a greater return using a smaller lump sum to fund all the benefits. It would impose a penalty on the insurance company to use an artificially low interest rate for the commutation of the present value of the benefits.

Finding there was insufficient evidence to support a lump sum settlement, the Industrial Commission denied claimant's petition for lump sum benefits. The circuit court of White County confirmed the ...


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