Heyl Royster

 


Heyl Royster

 

New Commission Procedures Due to Recent COVID Surge

11/17/20

Chairman Michael Brennan has laid out his emergency plan of action for workers’ compensation cases (including pro se settlement contracts) in light of COVID-19. Effective November 16, 2020, all in-person hearings have been discontinued at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission for all venues. This includes all in-person trials, pro se settlement contract approval hearings, or review hearings. The Commission is continuing with virtual reviews hearings, status calls, and oral arguments. It is hoped that in-person hearings will resume after November 30, 2020.

The Chairman has provided a process, on an emergency basis, for requesting trials under Section 19(b) of the Act during this time period. A new Petition for Immediate Hearing pursuant to Section 19(b) of the Act must be served upon all parties and emailed to the “Emergency Arbitrator” for the assigned venue. Each Emergency matter must first be vetted by the “Emergency Arbitrator” and subjected to a virtual pretrial conference prior to receiving approval for an in-person trial. If, after proper vetting, the “Emergency Arbitrator” determines that a matter is an emergency and must proceed to trial, the “Emergency Arbitrator” will schedule an in-person hearing at a time and place convenient to the Arbitrator.

The following is a list of the locations for each of the Zones and the assigned “Emergency Arbitrator.”

  • Chicago cases will be heard at the IWCC’s Chicago Office
    and are assigned to Arbitrator Charles Watts.
  • Zone 1 cases will be heard at the IWCC’s Collinsville Office
    and are assigned to Arbitrator Linda Cantrell.
  • Zone 2 cases will be heard at the IWCC’s Springfield Office
    and are assigned to Arbitrator Dennis O’Brien.
  • Zone 3 cases will be heard at the IWCC’s Peoria Office
    and are assigned to Arbitrator Melinda Rowe-Sullivan.
  • Zone 4 cases will be heard at the IWCC’s Chicago Office
    and are assigned to Arbitrator Paul Seal.
  • Zone 5 cases will be heard at the IWCC’s Rockford Office
    and are assigned to Arbitrator Michael Glaub.
  • Zone 6 cases will be heard at the IWCC’s Chicago Office
    and are assigned to Arbitrator Stephen Friedman.

In regards to pro se settlement contract approval hearings, the Commission has announced that, on a limited basis, at the assigned Arbitrator’s discretion, pro se settlements may be considered for approval without an in-person appearance of the parties. Attorney for Respondent requesting a virtual approval hearing is to submit an affidavit to the assigned Arbitrator responding to required questions providing sufficient detail for the Arbitrator to assess the viability of approving the settlement agreement by virtual means. The affidavit should be signed by the responsible attorney. The affidavit is to be attached to a letter on the attorney’s or firm’s letterhead and emailed to the Arbitrator for consideration. Pro se settlements under these Procedures will require a virtual (e.g., Webex) appearance by the Pro Se petitioner.

As these events continue to evolve, the Heyl Royster team will continue to keep you updated as this is a rapidly changing situation. The Heyl Royster team is prepared and ready to take care of all necessary business on your behalf with the implementation of the Chairman’s emergency plan. Feel free to contact any Heyl Royster team member if you have questions.