APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION DIVISION
538 N.E.2d 830, 182 Ill. App. 3d 983, 131 Ill. Dec. 455 1989.IL.687
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Alexander White, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE WOODWARD delivered the opinion of the court. BARRY, P.J., and McNAMARA, McCULLOUGH, and LEWIS, JJ., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE WOODWARD
This is an appeal from an award of benefits under the Workers' Occupational Diseases Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 48, par. 172.36 et seq.) on remand from the appellate court. Initially, claimant, Phillip Stice, filed an application for adjustment of claim under the Workers' Compensation Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 48, par. 138.1 et seq.) for an incident occurring on September 5, 1979. The arbitrator found an accident but no causal connection based on the workers' compensation application. The arbitrator denied claimant's motion to add an occupational disease claim. The Industrial Commission (Commission) affirmed the arbitrator's decision but allowed the claimant to add an occupational disease claim. The circuit court confirmed the Commission's decision. The appellate court entered an order remanding the case to the commission for a hearing on the occupational disease claim. On remand, the Commission awarded 183 2/7 weeks temporary total disability and $10,114.33 in medical expenses under the Occupational Diseases Act. The circuit court confirmed the Commission's decision. This appeal followed.
At the arbitration hearing held on February 17, 1982, only the claimant testified; on March 11, 1983, claimant and Dr. Schiff, his psychiatrist, testified before a member of the Commission. The following statement is taken verbatim from the statement of facts in claimant's brief:
"Phillip L. Stice was born in Chicago in 1928. He served his country in the United States Navy from 1945 to 1947. From 1949 to 1951 he attended Wilson Junior College and then in 1955 enrolled in Chicago Teacher's College from where he was graduated in 1957. That same year he took a position with the Chicago Board of Education teaching at Beale Elementary School.
Mr. Stice taught at Beal for 22 years. During that time he maintained excellent physical health -- he had been a recreational boxer for several years until 1956 or 1957, and played handball three times a week from 1948 to 1978.
However, sometime during the late Summer and early Fall of 1978, Mr. Stice began experiencing deepening depression and frustration over his job, which was requiring him to become a disciplinarian rather than a teacher. Dr. Sheldon Schiff, a Board Certified Psychiatrist, testified that Mr. Stice essentially 'was teaching less and less, being insulted more and more, and being in situations which were undoing everything in increasing amounts.' He withdrew from all his social and recreational activities. Dr. Schiff testified that over a 12 to 16 month period, Mr. Stice was becoming 'more and more psychiatrically vulnerable' because of job frustrations.
During this period, Mr. Stice developed a non-disabling depression. On September 5, 1979, it became an acute suicidal depression after an 8th Grade girl slapped Mr. Stice in the face in the Beale lunchroom. Within one week he was seen and examined by Dr. Schiff, who thereafter began seeing him weekly and then bi-weekly. Mr. Stice never returned to work.
Based on his treatment, Dr. Schiff testified that Mr. Stice suffered from a post-traumatic depressive neurosis with phobic features. He found that Mr. Stice's job frustrations had rendered him increasingly depressed and vulnerable. Dr. Schiff determined that the depression and vulnerability developed as a consequence of Mr. Stice's work environment, and that this depression, vulnerability and professional frustration in large part caused the condition for which he treated Mr. Stice. Dr. Schiff found the slapping incident to be the acute precipitating cause of his condition, i.e., the 'straw that broke the camel's back.' Mr. Stice has been 'unremittingly' totally disabled since September 5, 1979.
The Board presented no evidence. It did ask Dr. Arthur Price to examine Mr. Stice prior to the hearing, but did not offer Dr. Price as a witness. As a result, Mr. Stice offered Dr. Price's report into evidence, which the Arbitrator admitted over the Board's objection. The Board made no issue on appeal of the admission of Dr. Price's report, and therefore, it can be assumed that the objection was waived. Dr. Price's report contained this Conclusion:
'Then all the responsibilities and stresses of life must have come to bear upon him and he has felt a grave sense of failure only to get more responsibility and "topped" by the humiliating insult, physical and mental, inflicted by only a child, resulted in a profound depression, manifested by despair, fear and thoughts of suicide -- running ...