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12/29/88 Jon D. Pierce, v. Board of Trustees of the

December 29, 1988

JON D. PIERCE, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE POLICE PENSION FUND OF THE CITY OF WAUKEGAN, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, SECOND DISTRICT

532 N.E.2d 1004, 177 Ill. App. 3d 915, 127 Ill. Dec. 175 1988.IL.1911

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County; the Hon. Fred A. Geiger, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE WOODWARD delivered the opinion of the court. DUNN and McLAREN, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE WOODWARD

Defendant, the Board of Trustees of the Police Pension Fund of the City of Waukegan, Illinois, appeals from the decision of the circuit court of Lake County which reversed its denial of a disability pension to plaintiff, Jon Pierce.

On appeal, defendant raises two issues: (1) the trial court's decision was against the manifest weight of the evidence, and (2) it is improper for a police officer to apply for a disability pension while still employed full time.

Plaintiff was a police officer with the Waukegan police department since April 2, 1975. While on vacation on January 5, 1985, plaintiff was involved in an altercation at Bertrand Bowling Lanes, Waukegan. An employee of Bertrand's, knowing that plaintiff was a police officer, requested him to assist in placing a disorderly patron in custody. In the process of subduing the subject, plaintiff received an injury to his right knee when he fell and/or was kicked. Plaintiff received extensive medical treatment, including two surgical procedures, to his right knee.

Plaintiff, put on limited-duty status following the injury, continued to work full time until October 1985. Plaintiff also continued to work at a number of off-duty, part-time security positions at local business establishments. Upon learning of plaintiff's off-duty positions, police chief Ronald Houri terminated plaintiff's participation in said jobs in or about October 1985.

From October 16, 1985, to the end of April 1986, plaintiff was on duty-injury status. In the following months, he was both briefly compensated under workers' compensation and suspended for disciplinary purposes. He returned to work on July 7, 1986, assigned to light-duty status.

On August 6, 1986, plaintiff filed his application and certificate for disability pension. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 108 1/2, par. 3-115.) Pursuant to the statute, defendant selected three physicians to evaluate plaintiff's physical condition. All physicians agreed that plaintiff could not return to unlimited, full-time duty.

Plaintiff worked on limited duty from July 7 through December 28, 1986, and was suspended with pay starting on or about December 29, 1986. Pursuant to a hearing in a proceeding separate from the instant case, the Waukegan Civil Service Commission discharged plaintiff as a patrolman for the city. The commission's decision was affirmed by the circuit court of Lake County.

After a series of hearings, defendant denied plaintiff's disability application. The trial court reversed the defendant's denial, and this appeal followed.

Defendant initially argues that the trial court's reversal is against the manifest weight of the evidence. Defendant contends that the court below considered only the medical reports submitted to the board and virtually ignored all the other evidence. Moreover, defendant asserts that the trial court appeared to have weighed the medical reports and other evidence solely on a quantitative rather than qualitative basis.

A review of the relevant evidence demonstrates that the trial court's decision was not against the manifest weight of the evidence. Where an administrative order is against the manifest weight of the evidence or where an agency has acted arbitrarily or capriciously, a reviewing court should not hesitate to intervene. Southern Illinois Asphalt Co. v. Pollution Control Board (1975), 60 Ill. 2d 204, 207.

Pursuant to the statute, plaintiff was examined by three physicians selected by defendant, Drs. Baehr, Apfelbach, and Kroft (who was later replaced ...


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