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Knell & Poulos Workers’ Compensation – Trial Result

Case Name:  Curtis Lovejoy v. Monarch Construction Co.

IWCC No.:  06 WC 36426

Accident Date:  1/12/05

Venue:  Arbitrator O’Malley – Wheaton

Respondent’s Attorney:  Jack O’Grady

Petitioner’s Attorney:  Craig Mielke

SUMMARY:

After succeeding in limiting this arbitration award to a low amount, Knell & Poulos appealed to the IWCC and (1) recovered $14,000 in TTD credit that the arbitrator failed to allow at trial and in post-trial motions; and (2) successfully withstood the petitioner’s appeal for $3,700 in medical expenses. This is yet another example where Knell & Poulos left “no stone unturned” in the fight to protect the employer’s pocketbook.

FACTS:

On the verge of retirement and looking to get Monarch Construction Co. to pick up the tab for a brand new shoulder, the petitioner (an exterior trim-carpenter) allegedly sustained a rotator-cuff tear while using a crowbar to tear down a roof. The entire claim was suspect, and Knell & Poulos vigorously challenged the petitioner’s credibility at trial. Just a few examples:

1.While he claimed that his shoulder injury left him significantly disabled, he was forced to admit that he was fit enough to build his downstate retirement home by hand, virtually from scratch.

2.While he claimed that he notified Monarch of his injury within the required 45-day period, he was forced to admit that the only supervisor he notified was his own son, who basically kept the accident a secret for 121 days, while the petitioner piled up medical bills and inched toward retirement.

3.While he portrayed himself as somewhat inexperienced regarding the claims process, he was forced to admit to having recovered over $188,000 for 3 prior workers’ compensation claims between 1986 and 1991.

RESULTS:

Although the arbitrator ruled in favor of the petitioner, Knell & Poulos was able to limit the permanency award to just 25% impairment of the arm, an extremely low award in light of the extensive surgery involved here (which included a complicated acromioplasty procedure, where part of the shoulder bone is surgically removed). Knell & Poulos’ vigorous defense certainly had an effect in leading to this extremely low award.

The arbitrator also agreed with Knell & Poulos’ objection to certain medical bills (of $3,700) that the petitioner submitted at trial. Because there was no evidentiary foundation for the pile of bills, Knell & Poulos saved Monarch from having to pay the bills.

However, Knell & Poulos obtained more great results by appealing to the IWCC regarding the issue of TTD Credit. Originally, the arbitrator denied any credit to Monarch for prior TTD payments. Even after Knell & Poulos filed a post-trial Section 19(f) Motion, the arbitrator still refused to correct the original Decision.

On appeal, the IWCC vacated the arbitrator’s TTD award, which should have originally been considered a “wash” since Monarch was entitled to credit for having already paid the TTD. To top it all off, the IWCC denied the petitioner’s appeal in which he asked for the $3,700 in medical bills to be paid by Monarch.

So, in the end, Knell & Poulos limited Monarch’s trial exposure to just 25% impairment of an arm; kept Monarch from having to pay medical bills; and made sure that Monarch got back $14,000 in TTD Credit to which it was entitled.

SIGNIFICANCE:

There is nothing flashy about this trial/appeal result, and there is no magic formula. It all comes down to experience, hard work, good trial preparation, and utilizing every litigation tool available, whether it be at trial or in post-trial motions or on appeal.

Knell & Poulos is vigilant in protecting the employer’s interests, with the goal of achieving the best, most economical result.

Very truly yours,

KNELL & POULOS, P.C.

Bradley C. Knell