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Springfield Urban League v. Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Fourth District

April 23, 2013

SPRINGFIELD URBAN LEAGUE, Appellant,
v.
THE ILLINOIS WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION et al. (Cass Kohlrus, Appellee).

Rule 23 Order filed April 23, 2013

Rule 23 Order withdrawn June 17, 2013

Held [*]

The Workers’ Compensation Commission’s finding that the knee injury claimant suffered when she tripped and fell on a bunched or kinked mat while walking out of a meeting she was attending arose out of her employment was not against the manifest weight of the evidence, since she had to attend the meeting as part of her employment, the meeting place was controlled by her employer, and she was performing tasks required by her work, and the Commission’s order requiring her employer to pay her medical expenses and provide documentation regarding the fee schedule calculations complied with the statutory procedures mandated in the Workers’ Compensation Act.

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Sangamon County, No. 11-MR-113; the Hon. John Schmidt, Judge, presiding.

Kenneth S. Bima (argued), of Livingstone, Mueller, O'Brien & Davlin, P.C., of Springfield, for appellant.

John V. Boshardy and Andrew Ricci (argued), both of John V. Boshardy & Associates, P.C., of Springfield, for appellee.

Panel JUSTICE HARRIS delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Holdridge and Justices Hoffman, Hudson, and Stewart concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

HARRIS JUSTICE

¶ 1 On February 22, 2008, claimant, Cass Kohlrus, filed an application for adjustment of claim pursuant to the Workers' Compensation Act (Act) (820 ILCS 305/1 to 30 (West 2006)), seeking benefits from the employer, Springfield Urban League, for injuries suffered to her left leg on January 2, 2008. Following a hearing, an arbitrator found claimant suffered a "left knee injury and left distal fracture" on January 2, 2008, arising out of and in the course of her employment with the employer. Further, the arbitrator found "the accident of January 2, 2008[, ] caused an aggravation to a pre-existing left knee degenerative arthritis and that a combination of the Petitioner's accident of January 2, 2008[, ] and her pre-existing left knee degenerative arthritis combined to cause her need for a left knee total replacement." The arbitrator awarded claimant temporary total disability (TTD) benefits of $214.60 per week for 10 5/7 weeks; permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits of $193.14 per week for 86 weeks, representing 40% loss of use of the left leg (see 820 ILCS 305/8(e)(12) (West 2006)); and $50, 328.90 for medical services.

¶ 2 The employer filed a petition for review of the arbitrator's decision before the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission (Commission). On review, the Commission modified the arbitrator's decision, finding claimant failed to prove a causal connection between her work accident on January 2, 2008, and her "knee injury (and prospective total knee replacement) and aggravation of her pre-existing degenerative arthritis." The Commission otherwise affirmed and adopted the arbitrator's decision.

¶ 3 Thereafter, the employer filed a petition seeking judicial review in the circuit court of Sangamon County and the court confirmed the Commission's decision.

¶ 4 The employer appeals, arguing (1) the Commission's finding that claimant suffered an accident on January 2, 2008, arising out of her employment with the employer is against the manifest weight of the evidence and (2) this court must remand to the Commission for a determination of a dollar amount owed to claimant pursuant to the medical fee schedule. We affirm.

¶ 5 I. BACKGROUND

ΒΆ 6 The following factual recitation is taken from the evidence presented at the arbitration hearing on March 2, 2010. The 77-year-old claimant testified she had been employed by the employer as a bus driver for approximately 10 years. On January 2, 2008, claimant attended a mandatory meeting of the employer's employees at St. Cabrini School in Springfield, Illinois. Approximately 200 employees attended ...


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