COVID - 19

WCLA Updates:

July 7 - CompFile

Use the links to view the letter to WCLA from the CompFile Team and a flyer indicating that they will be going live on July 22nd for contract filing. You must register with CompFile in order to submit contracts for approval in all in cases except as it concerns Pro Se contracts.

June 23 - JULY 2020 SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCE COMMISSIONER MONTHLY REVIEW CALL PROCEDURES and JULY 2020 SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCE ARBITRATION PROCEDURES

By Order of the Chairman, the below listed Special Circumstance Procedures for both Review and Arbitration, that are listed for the month of June, 2020, will be carried over through the month of July, 2020.

An announcement relative to the continuing process for the month of August will be made near the end of the month of July.

A calendar, together with the WebEx information for the Call and hearing dates of each Commissioner and Arbitrator can be accessed from the IWCC website utilizing the links provided.

June 11 - Additional Pro Se Hearing Dates In Chicago

This is a reminder to all members of the Bar. When you appear at the IWCC, you must engage in social distancing. By this we mean that you must stand approximately six (6) feet apart. A horde of lawyers crowded into a small space at the IWCC is not social distancing.

Pro se litigants are in no way to be blamed for the Bar’s inability to engage in social distancing and or estimate a safe number of people in a confined area. It is the responsibility of the attorneys to make certain that all whom they invite act appropriately.

Due to the large number of attorneys and pro se litigants that appeared at the Commission, in Chicago, on Wednesday, June 10, 2020, we are forced to add additional dates for a pro se arbitrator. We originally scheduled Arbitrator Seal for each Wednesday in Chicago, during the month of June.

Arbitrator Seal will now be available for pro se settlements on Monday, June 15, Wednesday, June 17, Friday June 19, Wednesday June 24 and Thursday June 25, 2020. If additional dates are needed we will add them.

If there is a repeat of the overcrowding of the IWCC offices in Chicago, or for that matter any venue, we will take steps to limit the number of persons allowed into our offices.

July 10 - COMFILE TO GO LIVE IN JULY FOR CONTRACTS 

Using this link, please review the document from CompFile. Once they go “live” in July for contract submissions, paper submissions will no longer be accepted except for pro se settlements. If you are not yet registered, please register now. Information regarding registration is on our website.

June 9, 2020 - June Arbitration Location Schedule

The June Arbitration Location Schedule has been updated on the IWCC website.  Hearing location updates are as follows:

    1. Ottawa trials will be in OTTAWA on Friday, June 26th
    2. Bloomington trials will be held in Springfield on Monday, June 29th and Tuesday, June 30th
    3. Kankakee trials will be held in Chicago on Friday, June 19th
    4. Geneva trials will be held in Wheaton on Monday, June 15th, Tuesday, June 16th, and Wednesday, June 17th.

To access the complete “June Arbitration Location Schedule please go to the IWCC website homepage and scroll down to Click Here For The June Arbitration Location Schedule.

June 4, 2020 - June Hearings Scheduled for New Lenox are Moved to Chicago

All hearings that were scheduled to be held in New Lenox on June 9th, 10th and 11th have been moved to the IWCC offices at the Thompson Center. The date and time of the hearings will remain as previously scheduled. Please continue to monitor the IWCC website for further information.

June 3, 2020 - Commission Special Circumstances Procedures June 2020

Please follow this link to the Commission’s memo outlining Commission proceedings for the month of June.

Please note the Commission will reopen again tomorrow, June 4th, for limited proceedings and filing.

June 2, 2020 - Revised June 2020 Arbitration Calendar Including Webex and Phone Links

The June 2020 Arbitration Calendar that is posted as a link on the IWCC website has been updated to include Webex and telephone dial in links. In order to join the status call of any arbitrator for the month of June,  simply locate that arbitrator’s name in the "Arbitrator" column. You then have the option of joining the status call by either Webex or telephone by moving over to the "Webex Access" columns and clicking on either the "Phone" or "Web" option. You will then be connected directly to the status call. 

June 1, 2020 - IWCC EMERGENCY CLOSURE JUNE 2 & 3 and Documents 

Please be advised that the offices of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission will be closed on Tuesday, June 2, 2020 and Wednesday, June 3, 2020. This closure includes all facilities, not only at the James R. Thompson Center, in Chicago, but also IWCC facilities in Rockford, Springfield, Peoria and Collinsville.

This closure has been occasioned by the events of the last several days, throughout the United States, but in particular those in Chicago. It is hoped that we will reopen on Thursday, June 4, 2020. Please continue to check your email and the IWCC website for this notification.

Our WebEx monthly Arbitration Calls will go forward as planned. Decisions relative to in person trials will not be made until a later date.

Please continue to consult the IWCC website for future information.

We recognize these are trying times with much change and many emails outlining those changes. The purpose of this email also is to consolidate the documents for the June docket. Here are links to the following memos:

      1. June Procedures Memo
      2. Arbitration Location Schedule
      3. Arbitrator WebEx links

May 27, 2020 - (today's links can be found on the IWCC website)

June Arbitration Location Schedule - Use this link to view the schedule

WebEx - Please use this link for information concerning WebEx contact details.

May 27, 2020 - IWCC Repeals Emergency Rule

Please be advised that the Commission voted 10-0 today to repeal the emergency rule.  The Chairman indicated that the granting of the TRO would cause significant delay and create uncertainty for the rule.  He is creating a task force to review other avenues to address the issue.

May 21, 2020 - Legislative Update COVID-19 Presumption

Legislative Update COVID-19 Presumption

On May 21, 2020, the Illinois Senate passed HB2455. The bill has now been sent to the House for final passage which is expected to occur today. Click link below for the bill. The presumption created in the Workers’ Occupational Diseases Act begins on page 15.

http://ilga.gov/legislation/fulltext.asp?DocName=10100HB2455sam002&SessionID=109&GA=101&DocTypeID=HB&DocNum=2455&print=true

May 19, 2020 - June 2020 Special Circumstance Arbitration Procedures

Please use the link to review the memo from the Chairman outlining and explaining the procedures that will be in effect beginning June 1st.   Please note the following highlights:

      1. All status calls and pre-trials will take place via Webex.  Only actual trials and pro se approvals require appearances.
      2. All cases that do not receive a trial date (either via the call because they are above the line or motion) will be RTC’d regardless of whether they are above the line.
      3. All cases that receive a trial date will be set for the first half of the docket for pre-trial. All pre-trials will occur via Webex.
      4. If trial is desired, the arbitrator will set it for trial at a set time during the second half of the docket.
      5. The requesting party must provide notice of the trial date in writing of the scheduled hearing date.
      6. A copy of all motions must be emailed to the arbitrator no less than 48 hours in advance of the status call.
      7. Downstate pro se approvals are to be arranged with the Arbitrator for an appearance date via email.
      8. Chicago pro se approvals will be on Wednesdays.
      9. PPE is required for everyone for all appearances.

The calendar for June is attached along with the Chairman’s memo.  

May 5, 2020 - SAME DAY FILING SUSPENDED AT IWCC

Letter and memo provided by the Chairman.

April 24, 2020 - TRO Entered

On April 23,  Sangamon County Circuit Court Judge John M. Madonia entered a TRO temporarily prohibiting the enforcement of the IWCC emergency rule creating a rebuttable presumption for COVID-19 cases affecting first-responders, health care workers and other essential workers. The TRO was requested in a  lawsuit filed by the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association and the Illinois Retail Merchants Association on April 22, challenging the emergency rule. The Attorney General has been given until April 30 to file a response and the parties have been ordered to reconvene on May 4 for potential arguments. 

April 16, 2020:

WCLA NOTICE OF EMERGENCY AMENDMENTS

April 15, 2020:
        IWCC EMERGENCY AMENDMENT

April 13, 2020:

Notice of Emergency Amendments
March 27, 2020:
IWCC UPDATE: EMERGENCY CALL CONTINUES THROUGH 4/30/2020

March 23, 2020: 

The chairman has posted an update limiting the hours of in-person filing to between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm effective March 25th.  All mail-in filings are being processed as normal.  For the full memo, please click here.  

March 20, 2020: Emergency Motion Call for EMERGENCY motions, ONLY
Beginning Monday March 23, 2020, the Commission will move forward with the below Emergency Motion Call for EMERGENCY motions, ONLY.
An “Emergency Arbitrator” will be available at the locations and on the dates and times set in the below schedule (this will be updated on a weekly basis) for presentation of “valid” emergency motions only. “Valid” emergencies include issues involving the expiration of a statute of limitations, a party can reasonably be expected to suffer an unacceptable hardship, if not heard on an expedited basis. Motions which do not constitute “valid” emergencies will be stricken. Simply put, if the emergency basis of the motion is not a valid emergency that justifies the risk associated with holding an in-person hearing in the midst of a national emergency and global pandemic, the motion will be stricken.
Access to the Emergency Motion Call will be limited to one individual per party. Parties may be required to sign in and out of the facility. The Emergency Arbitrator is empowered to manage the Call in a manner he or she believes is reasonable to ensure the administration of justice and minimize the health and safety concerns connected to the COVID-19 pandemic. Refusal to follow the directions of the Emergency Arbitrator will be grounds for removal from the call and striking of the motion.

The following is a list of the locations for each of the Zones. Emergency Motion Calls will run from 9:00 AM to 12:00 Noon at the below locations on the indicated dates:

Chicago cases will be heard at the IWCC’s Chicago Office: Monday (3/23), Wednesday (3/25), and Friday (3/27)
Zone 1 cases will be heard at the IWCC’s Collinsville Office: Tuesday (3/24) and Thursday (3/26)
Zone 2 cases will be heard at the IWCC’s Springfield Office: Monday (3/23) and Wednesday (3/25)
Zone 3 cases will be heard at the IWCC’s Peoria Office: Wednesday (3/25) and Friday (3/27)
Zone 4 cases will be heard at the IWCC’s Chicago Office: Monday (3/23), Wednesday (3/25), and Friday (3/27)
Zone 5 cases will be heard at the IWCC’s Rockford Office: Tuesday (3/24) and Thursday (3/26)
Zone 6 cases will be heard at the IWCC’s Chicago Office: Monday (3/23), Wednesday (3/25), and Friday (3/27)
Pro Se settlements may be presented to the Emergency Arbitrator on the second day of the Call, only.
The Chairman advises that, prior to making use of the Emergency Motion Call, attorneys should engage in personal consultation and make reasonable attempts to resolve differences. The Chairman believes Illinois Supreme Court Rule 201(k) and Rule 3.4 of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct serve as appropriate guides for counsel during these exceptional times.
As these events continue to evolve, we will work with the Governor’s Office and Illinois Department of Public Health to address this rapidly changing situation. Until directed otherwise, all other Commission operations will continue as usual. Parties are advised that any statutory filing deadlines and statutes of limitations will not be affected by these measures, and the Commission will continue to process all usual documents and filings by mail, and in person delivery.
The Chairman’s Office will reassess the need to extend or expand these measures on an ongoing basis.
Chicago – Chicago – James R. Thompson Center, 100 W Randolph St. 8-200, Chicago, IL 60601
Zone 1 – Collinsville – 1803 Ramada Blvd STE B201, Collinsville, IL 62234
Zone 2 – Springfield – 4500 S. Sixth St, Springfield, IL 62703
Zone 3 – Peoria – 401 Main St 6th Floor, Peoria, IL 61602
Zone 4 – Chicago – 100 W Randolph St., 8-200. Chicago, IL 60601

FROM THE ARDC:

As an organization, the ARDC recognizes that participation in in-person educational activities may not be a healthy option for all. As a result, for the time-being we will not be scheduling any new in-person speaking engagements and we are evaluating whether our participation in currently scheduled speaking engagements is the healthiest option for attendees and our staff participants.

In an effort to continue to provide high quality educational opportunities to Illinois lawyers, please note that the ARDC has available 17.25 hours of free, on-line CLE-accredited courses, available 24/7 on the ARDC website. These remote offerings are all accredited CLE in the area of Professional Responsibility, including 1.25 hours of diversity and inclusion CLE and 2.25 hours of mental health and substance abuse CLE.

In addition to the ARDC offerings, the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism and the Lawyers’ Assistance Program (LAP) also have available accredited online distance learning courses.

Links below under "Resources for CLE"

March 18, 2020:

  • As this situation is constantly evolving, we are committed to keeping everyone updated. Please be advised that as it concerns pre-trials, any attorneys that who desire to move forward with one must go through the chairman’s office. This is the same process for emergency hearings. The chairman will determine what next steps to take as it concerns both pre-trial requests and emergency hearings. This will be the policy in place through March 31st. We are not certain what measures will be implemented thereafter. As information is available, we will update you accordingly.
  • As of tomorrow, the City’s 4 workers’ compensation attorneys will be working from home. If you have  recently mailed documents to them, please consider sending them again via email.  Especially if they are timely. They will be available via their work email addresses or cell phone. Their office numbers will forward to their cell phones.

March 16, 2020: 

March 13, 2020: 

Please note that there will be no workers’ compensation court appearances, hearings, or oral arguments throughout the State of Illinois through March 31st.  As the 31st draws closer and additional information is available, we will alert you to what the plan will be for status hearings and appearances starting April 1st. 

additional resources

Laura Hrubec,  President | Vitas J. Mockaitis, Vice President | Michelle Lafayette, Secretary | Catherine Doan, Treasurer

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