APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, THIRD DISTRICT, INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION DIVISION
539 N.E.2d 854, 183 Ill. App. 3d 864, 132 Ill. Dec. 291 1989.IL.817
Appeal from the Circuit Court of La Salle County; the Hon. Thomas R. Flood, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE McNAMARA delivered the opinion of the court. BARRY, P.J., and WOODWARD, McCULLOUGH, and LEWIS, JJ., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE MCNAMARA
Claimant Danny Hillyer and claimant John Woody each filed an application for judgment for interest and attorney fees under sections 19(g) and 19(n) of the Workers' Compensation Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 48, pars. 138.19(g), 138.19(n)). The two cases were consolidated, and the trial court granted motions to dismiss in favor of respondents, Owens Illinois Glass Company and Libby-Owens-Ford, pursuant to section 2-619 of the Code of Civil Procedure (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 110, par. 2-619). Claimants appeal.
In Hillyer, the arbitrator awarded four weeks' temporary total disability and 19 weeks' permanent partial disability benefits for the complete loss of the use of the left hand to the extent of 20% thereof. Owens Illinois filed a petition for review on January 4, 1985. Hillyer filed a petition for review several hours later. At the review hearing before the Industrial Commission (Commission), Owens Illinois argued that the arbitrator erred in finding a causal connection and in determining the nature and extent of the disability. Hillyer argued that the arbitrator erred in not finding a greater disability. Before the Commission, both parties submitted evidence and filed briefs. The Commission affirmed the arbitrator's award, and Owens Illinois paid it to Hillyer, but without interest. No further appeal was taken. On January 14, 1988, Hillyer filed a petition for entry of judgment and taxation of costs and attorney fees in the circuit court of La Salle County.
In Woody, the arbitrator awarded 54 weeks' temporary total disability and permanent partial disability to the extent of 30% loss of the man as a whole. Libby-Owens filed a petition for review on October 31, 1984. Woody filed a petition for review one week later. At the review hearing before the Commission, Libby-Owens argued that the arbitrator erred in finding causal connection and as to the nature and extent of the disability. Woody argued that the arbitrator erred with respect to the nature and extent of disability and wages, but urged that the award be affirmed. Before the Commission, both parties submitted evidence. The Commission reduced the award for temporary total disability to 51 weeks and reduced the award for permanent disability to 25% loss of the man as a whole. Woody requested a full written decision, and the Commission furnished a written decision several months later. Libby-Owens paid the award to Woody, but without interest. No further appeal was taken. On January 14, 1988, Woody filed a petition for entry of judgment and taxation of costs and attorney fees in the circuit court of La Salle County.
On June 2, 1988, the trial court consolidated the two cases. On August 22, 1988, the trial court dismissed the petitions pursuant to section 2 -- 619 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
On appeal, claimants contend that their filing of "cross-appeals" before the Commission does not preclude their entitlement to interest under section 19(n) of the Act. That section provides:
"After June 30, 1984, decisions of the Industrial Commission reviewing an award of an arbitrator of the Commission shall draw interest . . .. . . . However, when an employee appeals an award of an Arbitrator or the Commission, and the appeal results in no change or a decrease in the award, interest shall not further accrue from the date of such appeal." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 48, par. 138.19(n).) (Emphasis added.)
Similarly, the arbitrator's awards in both cases informed the parties that "should an employee's appeal of this case result in either no change or a decrease in this award, interest shall not further accrue from the date of such appeal."
Both claimants appealed the arbitrator's awards when they filed petitions for review before the Commission. Hillyer's appeal resulted in no change. Woody's appeal resulted in a decrease in the award. Under the plain language of the statute, therefore, interest shall not further accrue for either claimant from the date of those appeals.
Claimants maintain that respondents "initiated" the appeal and that claimants "sought no relief on review other than affirmance of the arbitrator's award." Moreover, the "cross-reviews" filed by claimants are "legal nullities." Claimants explain that where an employer initiates a review and the employee believes "there is even the slightest chance of obtaining an increase in the arbitrator's award, he has no choice but to cross-appeal." We know of no ...