Heyl Royster

 


Heyl Royster

 

New Legislation

5/22/19

On May 17, 2019, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law P.A. 101-0006 (SB 1596), which lifts the previous 25-year statute of limitations period on claims filed by individuals diagnosed with latent diseases after exposure to toxic substances such as asbestos, radiation, and beryllium in the workplace. The amendment added section 1.2 and modified sections 5 and 11 of the Workers’ Compensation Act, 820 ILCS 305/1.2, 5, 11, and similarly added section 1.1 and modified sections 5 and 11 of the Occupational Disease Act, 820 ILCS 310/1.1, 5, 11. The changes provide that the exclusive remedy provisions “do not apply to any injury or death sustained by an employee as to which the recovery of compensation benefits under this Act would be precluded due to the operation of any period of repose or repose provision.” 820 ILCS 305/1.2; 820 ILCS 310/1.1.

These amendments attempt to alleviate the impact of the Illinois Supreme Court’s holding in Folta v. Ferro Engineering, 2015 IL 118070, which held that a decedent, whose workers’ compensation/occupational disease claim was barred by the expiration of the 25-year statute of limitations, could not pursue a civil remedy against the employer due to the Acts’ exclusive remedy provisions.