Madison - St. Clair Record

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Fifth District tosses ACT appeal of worker's comp commission ruling due to lack of jurisdiction


By Charmaine Little | Jun 22, 2018

MOUNT VERNON – The Agency for Community Transit's (ACT) attempt to have a circuit court's reversal of an Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC) ruling appealed didn’t get far in the Appellate Court of Illinois for the 5th District because of lack of proper jurisdiction.

The appeals court ruled June 13 that it lacked jurisdiction as the Circuit Court of St. Clair County’s order was not absolute when it reversed the commission's decision and the court should have remanded the case back to the commission. 

The order was written by Justice John Barberis Jr.

ACT’s appeal came after the circuit court reversed the IWCC’s decision. The court ruled that the commission's decision "was against the manifest weight of the evidence where it found that the claimant, Eddie Andrews, had failed to prove a repetitive trauma injury that arose out of and in the course of his employment, and that his condition of ill-being was not causally related to his employment with ACT."

Andrews filed his first application for an adjustment of his claim against former employer Cerro Cooper in November 2007 after allegedly suffering an injury to his hands while working with an ANM machine. He was let go from the company in August 2007. 

In July 2013, he filed another application for adjustment of claim against ACT, alleging that injuries to his elbows, hands and wrists were a result of his job responsibilities as a bus driver.

An arbitrator agreed with Andrews the following September and determined his injuries were related to his work at ACT. He was given temporary total disability benefits and permanent partial disability benefits after he lost 8.5 percent use of his right hand and permanent partial disability benefits for 6.5 percent loss of his left hand.

ACT then submitted a petition of its own, requesting the IWCC evaluate the arbitrator’s ruling. The commission agreed with ACT and reversed the arbitrator’s decision, stating that Edwards didn’t verify with evidence that the injury was a direct result of his employment. The circuit court then reversed the commission’s decision under the notion that “the Commission’s order was against the manifest weight of evidence,” according to the order.

The appeals court ruled the case should be remanded to the commission to review temporary total disability benefits and permanent partial disability awards.

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