Madison - St. Clair Record

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Employer claims Staunton man bypassed Workers’ Compensation Act with million dollar lawsuit

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Feb 16, 2016


Tristar Risk Management claims one of its employees filed a million dollar lawsuit involving a work-related injury rather than seek relief through the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.

William A. Billings filed the lawsuit on Sept. 25 against Tristar Risk Management and employee Barbara Hill.

According to the complaint, Billings claims the defendants displayed a willful disregard for injuries he allegedly sustained at work and deprived him of proper medical care.

Billings claims he was poorly treated by medical professionals assigned to him by his employer following his alleged workplace injury.

He alleges the defendants’ negligence aggrieved his injuries, allegedly causing more damage.

Billings filed an amended petition for personal injury on Nov. 5, where he increased his request for economic damages from $611,440 to $728,786. His requests for noneconomic damages remained the same at $550,000.

The defendants filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on Nov. 16. They argue that the plaintiff’s amended complaint contains one individual count against both defendants, making it “impractical” for the defendants to respond to the complaint.

“Because plaintiff has failed to plead his negligence and willful and wanton claims in separate counts, plaintiff has impermissibly commingled his claims …” the motion states.

They also allege that the complaint does not contain individual prayers for relief and those prayers for relief are not sustained by the allegations pleaded in the complaint.

Further, the defendants claim the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act provides exclusive remedy in this case because the allegations arise out of a work-related injury.

“Plaintiff is merely attempting to circumvent the administrative process provided for in the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act … by filing this suit in circuit court rather than with the Industrial Commission,” the motion states.

Billings responded by filing a motion to suppress the defendants’ motion to dismiss on Dec. 7. Billings voluntarily dismissed Hill as a defendant, stating that he never intended to commingle the two defendants. He also said her decisions are the responsibility of Tristar Risk Management.

He also dismissed his amended petition and chose to continue with the original complaint, stating that “any prayer for economic damages, in an effort to be made whole, shall be made at the end of trial, as damages accrue on a daily basis, and the same shall apply to any noneconomic damages.”

Billings claims his action does not arise out of a work-related injury. Instead, it arises out of the alleged wrongful removal from treatment by the defendant.

In a Dec. 18 order, Crowder granted the plaintiffs’ requests and set a case management conference for April 27 at 9 a.m.

Then on Dec. 21, Billings filed an amended petition against Tristar Risk Enterprise Management alone. He seeks damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress, intentional infliction of monetary damages and intentional infliction of adversity.

He alleges the defendant intentionally deprived him of the necessary medical treatment required following a work related injury.

On Jan. 13, Tristar Risk Management filed a notice of removal to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.

The defendant alleges that diversity of citizenship and the amount in controversy make removal proper.

Tristar Risk Management is represented by John Cunningham and Denise Baker-Seal of Brown & James in Belleville.

Billings is representing himself pro se.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 15-L-1240

Want to get notified whenever we write about ?

Sign-up Next time we write about , we'll email you a link to the story. You may edit your settings or unsubscribe at any time.

More News