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Workers’ Compensation COVID-19 Presumption Challenged in Court by Big Business

Written by Brent Eames

April 25, 2020

As we recently discussed on this blog, on April 13, 2020, the Rules of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission were amended by the approval of an EMERGENCY RULE specifically to benefit first responders and other front line workers. This emergency rule amendment provides that any claim being brought which resulted from exposure to the COVID-19 virus during a COVID-19-related state of emergency will be rebuttably presumed to have arisen out of the worker’s employment, and also rebuttably presumed to be causally connected to the hazards or exposures of the petitioner’s employment.  You can read the full details here. This emergency rule was met with considerable outrage and opposition by corporations and insurance companies.

Then, on April 22, 2020, a lawsuit was filed by the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association and Illinois Retail Merchants Association in Sangamon County seeking an emergency restraining order preventing the new rule from being enforced. The lawsuit alleges that Chairman Michael Brennan and the IWCC exceeded their statutory authority by enacting the rule. Two days later, on April 24, 2020, Judge John Madonia granted the temporary restraining order which prevents the new rule from taking effect. The parties are next scheduled to meet on May 4, 2020 for a status on pleadings and the next steps in this litigation process.

The basis of the lawsuit and the challenges by big business are rooted in the allegation that the Commission exceeded its authority in adopting the new rule, and any such change would need to come from the legislature. We are monitoring this lawsuit closely and will continue to provide updates moving forward.

The content of this blog is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute or establish an attorney-client relationship, nor constitute legal advice. If you wish to discuss any further aspect of the material contained herein, please contact an attorney at Eames Law Group, Ltd.   

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