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Joliet, IL 60432


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Fax: 312.277.3008
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Knell & Poulos Workers’ Compensation Trial Result

Case Name:  Michael Guyette v. Monarch Construction

IWCC No.:  05 WC 9095

Venue:  Joliet – Arbitrator Hennessy

Respondent’s Attorney:  Robert M. Harris

Petitioner’s Attorney:  Phil Turcy

SUMMARY:  RARE TOTAL VICTORY FOR EMPLOYER FROM ARB. HENNESSY: ARBITRATOR FOUND PETITIONER FAILED TO PROVE HE SUSTAINED ACCIDENTAL INJURIES ARISING OUT OF AND IN THE COURSE OF HIS EMPLOYMENT FOR RESPONDENT ON JANUARY 19, 2005; CLAIM FOR COMPENSATION WAS DENIED.

THE ARBITRATOR ALSO MADE A SPECIFIC FINDING THAT PETITIONER WAS NOT CREDIBLE.

ISSUES:  ACCIDENT, NOTICE, CAUSAL CONNECTION, MEDICAL, TTD, NATURE AND EXTENT.

FACTS:  Petitioner, a 38 year old union carpenter, claimed that on January 19, 2005, while pulling up floor joists to the second floor, he felt a pop in his right wrist to his elbow.  He alleged that he sustained a fractured wrist as a result of this incident. The facts surrounding this claimed accident and the alleged mechanism of injury were hotly disputed from the very beginning.

At trial, Petitioner’s version of the alleged events were revealed to be in stark contrast to what was found in the actual records in evidence, including all of his treating medical records;  indeed, the Arbitrator found that Petitioner’s accident history was not supported by any evidence in the record. In fact, the Arbitrator found that in clear and direct contradiction to his testimony, not a single piece of evidence in the entire record corroborated his testimony, while every single record in evidence operated against his claims, including the emergency department records and the treating records of his own physicians.

The Arbitrator was thoroughly persuaded by Respondent’s arguments and, accordingly, he adopted Respondent’s Proposed Decision of Arbitrator in its entirety, unedited.

The record reveals that Petitioner’s testimony was inconsistent, contradictory and against common sense.  He disingenuously tried to argue that the records all contained “mistaken” histories, yet offered no proof as to how they became so or why. He indeed looked foolish trying to argue that every medical record was wrong.  Petitioner had no way to escape the inevitable conclusion of what the records all clearly stated; that not a single record supported his claim of an accident sustained at work on January 19, 2005.

RESULTS:  In an unusual decision from this ardently liberal Arbitrator, he concluded that the actual evidence in the record showed that Petitioner was not credible and had failed to prove his claim.  Arbitrator Hennessy admittedly displayed uncommon intellectual and ethical courage and here decided the case based on a consideration of the actual evidence, rather than his well-known feelings of favoritism towards a Petitioner. But the truth is that the evidence was so favorable to the employer that even Arb. Hennessy had no choice but to rule in employer’s favor or risk an almost certain guarantee of an embarrassing Commission decision reversal on Review.

SIGNIFICANCEThis Arbitration Decision is a shining example of what should (and will) result when an Arbitrator renders a decision based on a review of the actual evidence in the record where a Petitioner is caught in a tangled web of lies and deceit and his credibility is roundly shredded by his own words and the treating medical and other records.

Further, the plain fact is that this case should not have proceeded to trial. Respondent was compelled to take this case to trial only after Petitioner rejected employer’s settlement offer, even though opposing counsel agreed that this case was a losing proposition. Opposing counsel further admitted that he was also compelled to take the case to trial in order to “save face” with the carpenter’s union, a big client of his law firm.

In clear fact, the evidence against Petitioner was overwhelming and straightforward, and unusually so.  Literally nothing can objectively be found in the record in his favor. The Arbitrator’s Decision makes this point clear, example by example.

Respondents’ attorneys must rise to the challenge and take a case to trial without hesitation (even when facing Arbitrators such as Hennessy) when the Petitioner is unreasonable and the evidence undoubtedly supports the employer. Employers must send the clear message to Petitioners and their attorneys that we will not be intimidated by the threat of trial (even before liberal Arbitrators) when we know the cause is just and the evidence is in our favor.

We will continue to keep you updated on this matter.  We do not know yet if Petitioner has or will file a Review to the Commission. If you should have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the undersigned.

Very truly yours,

KNELL & POULOS, P.C.

Bradley C. Knell