Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Scimeca v. Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Second District, Workers' Compensation Commission Division

December 21, 2017

VICTOR R. SCIMECA, Plaintiff-Appellee,

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of McHenry County No. 13-MR-150 Honorable Michael T. Caldwell, Judge, Presiding.

          JUSTICE HUDSON delivered the judgment of the court. Presiding Justice Holdridge and Justices Hoffman, Harris, and Overstreet concurred in the judgment.



         ¶ 1 Held: The trial court correctly determined that the decision of the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission awarding benefits to claimant was contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence where opinions of respondent's experts lacked a reasonable foundation.

         ¶ 2 I. INTRODUCTION

         ¶ 3 Respondent, the Village of Hebron, appeals an order of the circuit court of McHenry County that set aside a decision of the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission (Commission) as contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence. The trial court further ordered that the decision of the arbitrator be reinstated in its entirety. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the trial court. We also remand for further proceedings, if any, in accordance with Thomas v. Industrial Comm'n, 78 Ill.2d 327 (1980).

         ¶ 4 III. BACKGROUND

         ¶ 5 The following evidence was presented at the arbitration hearing. Claimant testified that he was employed by respondent as a patrol officer. His duties included those of a "traditional police officer." On February 3, 2011, he was working for respondent. His shift started the night before. There was a snowstorm, and an order was in effect closing all roads. Claimant was dispatched to assist a stranded motorist. He located the motorist after checking on another vehicle that was on the side of the road. As he walked around the first vehicle, he was struck by a passing truck and thrown over the hood of the parked vehicle. Visibility was limited, and claimant could not see what the truck was doing before it struck him. Claimant stated that he was "a little sore, " but, as he was cold and numb, he did not appreciate the extent of his injuries. He then located and assisted the stranded motorist and finished his shift.

         ¶ 6 Claimant subsequently notified his supervisor and sought medical care at the Condell Acute Care Center (February 6, 2011). He reported that he was having problems with his lower back and ribs. He was evaluated and X rays were taken. Claimant was given medication and a shot. He was also taken off work and told to follow-up in a few days. On February 8, 2011, he returned to Condell and reported numbness in his left leg in addition to his back pain. He further stated that "it felt like the rib was pushing out of [his] chest, and [he] could actually see it push the skin forward." However, X rays did not show a break. Claimant underwent an MRI on February 9, 2011. He was then advised to see a neurosurgeon.

         ¶ 7 Accordingly, claimant sought care from Dr. Jonathan Citow. He first saw Citow on February 25, 2011. Citow recommended "an injection and some medication." On May 6, 2011, claimant again saw Citow. Citow recommended surgery on claimant's lumbar spine. While claimant was waiting for respondent's workers' compensation carrier to approve the surgery, claimant was asked to be evaluated by a doctor on respondent's behalf. He was directed to see Dr. Sean Salehi. Claimant underwent surgery on June 6, 2011.

         ¶ 8 Claimant next saw Citow on June 29, 2011. Citow directed claimant to continue taking anti-inflammatory medication and muscle-relaxers. He also ordered physical therapy. Claimant started physical therapy at Colletti Physical Therapy. Claimant only went to Colletti three to five times, as he felt they were too aggressive. Claimant contacted Citow, and Citow referred him to Alliant Physical Therapy. He completed the prescribed four weeks of therapy, but did not have "good relief" from his pain and numbness. He reported this to Citow. Citow re-evaluated claimant on August 31, 2011. Citow recommended an orthopedic evaluation of claimant's ribs. Citow also wanted claimant to undergo a second MRI, but claimant could not obtain approval to get one. The second MRI was not performed until May 2012. Claimant also could not obtain approval to see an orthopedic specialist, as recommended by Citow. Instead, respondent's worker's compensation carrier sent claimant for a second evaluation by a doctor acting on respondent's behalf-Dr. J.S. Player. Claimant saw Player in December. As of the time of the arbitration hearing, claimant had not been evaluated by an orthopedic specialist.

         ¶ 9 The second MRI was performed on May 18, 2012. Citow reviewed it. Citow recommended further treatment (a hearsay objection was sustained as to the nature of that treatment and a copy of Citow's report was admitted into evidence), but it was never approved by respondent's workers' compensation carrier. Citow has never released claimant to return to full-duty employment.

         ¶ 10 On cross-examination, claimant testified that, in August 2011, he told a therapist he needed to take frequent breaks to alleviate pain in his hips. Claimant acknowledged that in September 2011, he helped his neighbor transport two jet skis to a service shop. Claimant denied climbing onto the trailer. He stated he did not attempt to move them around. He assisted his neighbor unhitch the trailer. He has refused requests to assist others due to his medical condition. On redirect-examination, claimant explained that unhitching the trailer did not require any lifting. Claimant does not own a jet ski or a trailer.

         ¶ 11 Mark T. Drong, a private investigator, testified for respondent. He was hired by respondent to surveil claimant. In September 2011, he was watching claimant at claimant's home. On September 10, 2011, he followed claimant to a nearby resort (claimant lives in a lake community). He pulled in, and a trailer was hitched up to claimant's vehicle. Someone was with claimant in the vehicle. Claimant bent over to hitch the trailer to his vehicle. They then proceeded to a mechanic's shop. Unhitching the trailer involved further bending. He also observed claimant adjusting the jet skis on the trailer. The trailer was left at the shop. Drong did not recall claimant actually getting onto the trailer. During the time he surveilled claimant, Drong did not observe claimant having problems moving about. ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.