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Preston v. Bell Trucking

April 09, 1998

ROBERT PRESTON, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
BELL TRUCKING, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court for the 10th Judicial Circuit Stark County, Illinois No. 96--MR--4 Honorable Bruce W. Black Judge, Presiding

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Breslin

THE COURT OF APPEALS OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS

In law, as in life, a few simple rules make everything run more smoothly. Two of those rules would have made a world of difference in the instant case: Read the instructions. Play by the rules. The defendant, Bell Trucking, failed to follow either of these rules. It failed to file an appearance with the Illinois Industrial Commission (Commission) before taking any action in a worker's compensation case. And it definitely did not follow the statute's mandate. As a result, we affirm the judgment of the circuit court in favor of the plaintiff, Robert Preston.

The facts in this matter are convoluted. To simplify them, we will note the important events according to date.

10/04/88 Plaintiff was injured at work.

09/19/90 Plaintiff filed an Application for Adjustment of Claim with the Commission. He was represented by two attorneys with different office addresses. The Commission mistakenly entered one of plaintiff's attorneys into its master file as defendant's attorney.

10/20/90 Defendant's attorney notified plaintiff's attorneys that he would be representing defendant.

05/15/91 Plaintiff's attorney reminded defendant's attorney to file an appearance with the Commission.

05/23/94 Plaintiff's attorney reminded defendant's attorney a second time to file an appearance with the Commission.

01/04/96 Arbitration hearing held.

01/29/96 Arbitrator's award filed with the Commission. Notice sent to both of plaintiff's attor neys. No notice sent to defendant.

02/05/96 Plaintiff's attorney received the decision of the arbitrator.

03/11/96 Plaintiff's attorney demanded payment ...


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