Heyl Royster

 


Heyl Royster

 

COVID-19 Update from the Commission and Our Firm

3/17/20

Chairman Michael Brennan of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission has recommended and placed into action a plan to deal with the COVID-19 situation here in Illinois. Beginning Tuesday, March 17, and lasting until at least Monday, March 30, the Chairman has suspended all workers’ compensation docket calls and trial calls. The suspension could be extended if necessary. There is a process for emergent situations, for example 19(b) and 19(b-1) Petitions,whereby a trial can be requested. Such petitions are to be sent to the Chairman with a request for trial. The Chairman will decide, based upon the facts and merits of the Petition, if such a trial date will be granted. If one is granted, the parties will be alerted to their Arbitrator and venue assignment. In the meantime, attorneys practicing before the Commission have been asked to work with one another and act reasonably in order to resolve issues which arise. Pro se settlements cannot be processed until further notice as these will not be considered emergent.

The Missouri Division of Workers' Compensation has indefinitely limited in-person settings to urgent matters only, such as hardship mediations and settings, to be determined on a case-by-case basis. All other routine matters, including prehearings and mediations, should be conducted by tele-conference or continued by email by agreement of the parties. The Division has asked parties to consider submitting filings electronically and noted that settlement contracts may be submitted by mail or email with the use of tele-conferencing at the request of the parties or for pro se claimants. A signed copy of the settlement may then be emailed to all parties.

Clearly, Workers' Compensation cases in both Illinois and Missouri will continue, in modified fashion, and we expect many petitioner's attorneys to remain aggressive. We also know you desire continued resolution of your claims. Heyl Royster's Workers’ Compensation Team remains fully functional during this time and will be protecting your interests. If you have not received it through other avenues, below you will find a communication from our managing partner, Craig Young outlining our Business Continuity Plan.

We also realize both with respect to your own business, and with respect to potential claims you manage, questions may arise as to exposure to COVID-19, and the potential compensability of the exposure. Please contact us with questions in that regard, and we will soon be providing a comprehensive analysis of these issues.

We are here for you, and that won’t change during this difficult time. Be safe out there. More updates to follow as we receive additional word from Chairman Brennan.

Toney J. Tomaso
Heyl Royster


COVID-19: Heyl Royster's Response

Dear Clients and Friends,
Clearly we are all going through a period where life will be different for a while given all the issues surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak. Our thoughts go out to you as you protect yourselves and your employees, and we want to do everything we can to assist you in that regard. We at Heyl Royster have also been monitoring the situation on an hourly basis, and we are taking appropriate measures to protect our employees. We support all measures to stop the spread of this virus, and we are doing our part, as I know you are as well.

As this evolves, I want to reach out and advise you regarding Heyl Royster’s Business Continuity Plan (BCP), and let you know what to expect from us during this period of changed working conditions. Our response, at every point, has been directed towards protecting our employees and limiting the spread of the virus, while at the same time continuing to fully meet the needs and requirements of our clients. To that end, please be aware of the following:

  • While this is a fluid situation, and may change, all of our eight offices remain open at this time. We have been in compliance with all CDC guidelines and have been monitoring all other reliable sources to make sure our employees are as protected as possible in the workplace. In compliance with all available information, we have taken all necessary steps to help prevent the contracting and spread of COVID-19, including measures regarding cleanliness and sanitation, as well as social distancing. This is our number one priority.
  • In the event this changes, for any reason, in any of our offices, you will see no interruption in our services. Every attorney in our firm has always had and will continue to have the ability to work remotely, with full computer, phone and support services. Regular mail processing will continue. You will be able to continue to contact us as normal through all means, and we will stay in contact with you. We have made preparations for staff and paralegals to be fully functional during this timeframe, either remotely, if necessary, or in specified support crews that will remain on site and functional. In short, other than face-to-face, and person-to-person contact, you will see no difference in Heyl Royster’s availability and service during this period.
  • We also have the ability, especially with a small amount of advanced notice, to arrange for face-to-face communication over video conference or other technologies as needed.
  • We are carefully monitoring all pronouncements by courts and administrative bodies, along with other entities before which your matters may be pending. Most of them have, or certainly will be, modifying their procedures and practices. Almost all of them, however, remain functional to some degree, and pending cases are ongoing and continuing. While most personal appearances involving depositions, hearings, and other matters are being continued, and while some deadlines are being extended, there is no pause in place for most situations. We will keep you advised of these developments, continue to protect your interests, and continue to advance resolution of your cases.
  • As part of our BCP, we have initiated daily, and sometimes more regular, leadership and administrative meetings to monitor the ongoing situation. To the extent any of this changes, we will keep you fully updated.

If you have questions on any of this, please feel free to contact me directly. Most importantly, be safe, be calm, and thank you for your continued confidence in our firm.

Craig Young
Heyl Royster Firm Managing Partner