Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Workers' Compensation Commission Division
from the Circuit Court of Cook County Nos. 12 L 51452 14 L
50862 14 L 50908 16 L 50296 16 L 50303 Honorable Robert Lopez
Cepero and James M. McGing, Judges, Presiding.
JUSTICE HOFFMAN delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Presiding Justice Holdridge and Justices Hudson,
Harris, and Overstreet concurred in the judgment and opinion.
1 Sysco Food Services of Chicago (Sysco) appeals from an
order of the circuit court of Cook County which reversed an
October 24, 2012, decision of the Illinois Workers'
Compensation Commission (Commission), awarding the claimant,
Michael Donohue, inter alia, permanent partial
disability benefits under section 8(d)2 of the Workers'
Compensation Act (Act) (820 ILCS 305/8(d)2 (West 2010)) for a
torn meniscus in his left knee but denying the claimant
benefits for the degenerative condition of his left knee, and
remanded the matter back to the Commission with directions to
award the claimant wage differential benefits under section
8(d)1 of the Act (820 ILCS 305/8(d)1 (West 2010)). Sysco also
appeals from the Commission's decisions following remand
and the circuit court's orders entered following the
Commission's decisions on remand. For the reasons which
follow, we: reverse the circuit court's order of December
23, 2013, which reversed the Commission's original
decision of October 24, 2012; vacate the Commission's
decisions of October 28, 2014, and April 15, 2016, entered
following remand from the circuit court; vacate the circuit
court's orders of August 10, 2015, and February 16, 2017,
entered following the Commission's decisions on remand;
and reinstate the Commission's original decision of
October 24, 2012.
2 The following factual recitation is taken from the evidence
adduced at the arbitration hearing held on September 7, 2011,
and November 4, 2011.
3 At all times relevant, the claimant was employed by Sysco
as a delivery driver. His duties included delivering food
products to customers by truck and unloading the products
from the truck using a two-wheeled dolly and a ramp. The
claimant testified that, on November 6, 2009, as he was
maneuvering a load of food products inside of his truck, he
fell out of the back of the truck and landed on both knees.
4 On November 12, 2009, the claimant sought medical treatment
from Dr. Quinn Regan at the Illinois Bone and Joint
institute. Following his examination of the claimant, Dr.
Regan diagnosed left knee pain and contusions following a
slip and fall.
5 After again examining the claimant on November 19, 2009,
Dr. Regan recorded an impression of very mild joint line
narrowing of the left knee, possibly meniscal pathology and
possible left knee contusion. Dr. Regan administered a
Cortisone shot to the claimant's left knee.
6 When Dr. Regan examined the claimant's left knee on
December 7, 2009, he noted no effusion and a range of motion
from 0 to 135 degrees. He again administered a Cortisone shot
to the claimant's left knee and recommended that the
claimant have an MRI scan of his left knee.
7 The claimant underwent the recommended MRI on December 28,
2009. The scan revealed bone marrow edema of the medial
aspect of the femoral condyle and tibial plateau, consistent
with a contusion; a tear at the posterior horn of the medial
meniscus; small joint effusion; and a soft tissue contusion
at the medial aspect of the knee.
8 Dr. Regan's notes of a visit on January 4, 2010, state
that he reviewed the MRI and diagnosed left knee pain and
internal derangement, secondary to a meniscal tear and bone
bruise. Dr. Regan recommended that the claimant have surgery
to repair the meniscal tear.
9 On January 20, 2010, the claimant underwent surgery to
repair the meniscal tear in his left knee. Dr. Regan's
postoperative diagnosis was a medial meniscal tear in the
posterior horn of the claimant's left knee with
chondromalacia of the medial femoral condyle.
10 When he examined the claimant on January 28, 2010, Dr.
Regan noted that the claimant's pain had improved and his
surgical wound was progressing nicely. Dr. Regan recorded his
intention to see the claimant in about three weeks with a
view to returning him to work at that time.
11 According to the claimant, he remained off of work
following surgery until he was given a full duty release by
Dr. Regan. He returned to work at Sysco on February 22, 2010.
12 On March 29, 2010, the claimant presented to Dr. Regan
complaining of significant pain in his left knee. On
examination, Dr. Regan noted swelling of the claimant's
left knee "2 effusion" and flexion to 90 degrees.
Dr. Regan aspirated the claimant's left knee and
administered a Celestone shot. As of that visit, Dr. Regan
noted his impression of "status post knee arthroscopy
with an effusion for overuse" and authorized the
claimant to remain off of work.
13 When the claimant saw Dr. Regan on April 1, 2010, he
reported a flare-up of his left knee symptoms after twisting
his knee a week earlier. Dr. Regan recommended that the
claimant remain off of work.
14 When the claimant saw Dr. Regan on April 12, 2010, he
complained of left knee pain. On examination of the
claimant's left knee, Dr. Regan found no erythema, no
redness, no numbness, no effusion, and a range of motion from
0 to 90 degrees. In his notes of that visit, Dr. Regan ...