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May 20, 1994


Appeal from Circuit Court of Cook County. NO. 92L50852. Honorable Joanne L. Lanigan, Judge Presiding.

Released for Publication July 14, 1994.

Woodward, McCULLOUGH, Rakowski, Slater, Rarick

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Woodward

JUSTICE WOODWARD delivered the opinion of the court:

On February 16, 1988, claimant, Humberto Valdez, filed an application for adjustment of claim pursuant to the Workers' Compensation Act (Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 48, par. 138.1 et seq.). Therein, he alleged injuries to his lungs, left ankle, bowels, and back arising out of and in the course of his employment with Ford Aerospace and Communication Services, Inc. (the employer). The arbitrator found that there was jurisdiction over the case within Illinois. Claimant was awarded $246.72 per week for 111.66 [sic] weeks, pursuant to sections 8(d)2 and 8(e) of the fAct. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 48, pars. 8(d)2 and (e).) On review, a majority of the Industrial Commission (Commission) affirmed and adopted the arbitrator's decision. The Dissenting Commissioner argued that the majority's decision regarding jurisdiction was manifestly erroneous. The circuit court of Cook County set aside the decision of the Commission, finding that its decision regarding jurisdiction was against the manifest weight of the evidence. This timely appeal followed.

The only issue before this court is whether the Commission erred in determining that it had jurisdiction over the instant cause of action.

The following evidence was adduced at the arbitration hearing held on April 29, 1991. Claimant testified that he was in the United States Air Force from 1981 to 1986. He was an automatic tracking radar specialist. Sometime after his discharge, claimant sent his resume to the employer's Nevada office. During the first week of March 1987, claimant was contacted by Larry Shepherd, who apparently worked in the employer's Nevada personnel department. Over the telephone, Shepherd stated that, if claimant was interested in an "automatic tracking radar" position, he would send the latter an application. Claimant stated his interest in the position and, subsequently, received a packet including an application from Shepherd.

Claimant was living in Chicago at the time he completed the application and sent it back to Shepherd. The two-page application, which was signed by claimant on March 12, 1987, contained the following paragraph at the bottom of the second page.

"I understand that I shall not become an employee of Ford Aerospace & Communications Corporation or any of its subsidiaries until I have signed an employment agreement with the final approval of the employer and that such employment will be subject to verification of previous employment data provided in my application, and any related documents or resume; and will be contingent on my submitting to a physical examination and satisfying the physical qualifications for employment as determined by the Employer. I authorize educational institutions, employers, law enforcement authorities, organizations and individuals having relevant information concerning me to release such information and I release all concerned from any liability in connection therewith. I understand that an investigative report may be made which might include information concerning my character, general reputation, personal characteristics, and mode of living (whichever may be applicable) and that I can make a written request of the consumer reporting agency for additional information as to the nature and scope of the report if one is made. I understand that if I am employed, evidence of U.S. citizenship or U.S. resident status and a birth certificate or other evidence of date of birth is required." (Emphasis added.)

Another document in the packet sent to claimant read in pertinent part:

"This is to confirm my acceptance or rejection of employment. I understand that I am hired for the Nellis O & M Program as a Tech Fld A, Requisition No. 432A, at a salary of $1722.93 per month.

I further understand that this offer is contingent upon my ability to satisfactorily complete a pre-employment Physical Examination and that the granting of a Security Clearance is a prerequisite for utilization of my services in the position for which I am being employed. In the event that a Security Clearance has not been granted within six months of my hire date, I understand that it will be necessary that I will be Released At Corporate Option on the expiration of that six month period. I will be eligible for reinstatement within two years after termination or within a period equal to the length of service, whichever is shorter.

I acknowledge that this offer constitutes the terms and conditions of employment for this position and there are no other arrangements, agreements, or understandings related thereto."

Claimant confirmed his acceptance of employment and signed this form on March 12, 1987. Apparently, the form was mailed to the employer's Nevada office along with claimant's application for employment. Also, claimant was examined by Dr. Juan Zabaleta, who completed the pre-employment physical form sometime in the first half of March 1987. He decided not to mail this form to the employer due to his concern ...

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