Eddward v. IWCC: Case Law


Two issues addressed by this decision: (1) in order for the Commission to review Arbitrator decisions, State Courts require strict compliance with the provisions of the Act; and, (2) a perfected Petition for Review needs to be filed within 30 days of the corrected decision date.

Claimant filed an Application for Adjustment for a right shoulder injury sustained on 11/21/10. The matter proceeded to hearing and the Arbitrator found that claimant suffered an injury that arose out of and in the course of employment and that her current condition was related to the 11/21/10 work incident. The Arbitrator awarded TTD, PPD, and reasonable and necessary medical services.

Respondent received the Arbitrator’s decision on 9/13/13 and on 9/26/13 filed a Motion pursuant to 19(f) of the Act to correct a clerical error regarding the language awarding medical expenses. On 10/7/13, the Arbitrator granted Respondent’s Motion and issued a corrected decision on 10/9/13.  Respondent filed a Petition for Review on 11/5/13 that asked, “to review the Arbitrator decision for this case filed on 8/29/13 and received on 9/13/13.”

The Commission reversed the Arbitrator’s decision, finding that claimant failed to prove the 11/21/10 arose in and out of the course of employment. Claimant appealed and the Circuit Court confirmed the Commission decision. After, the claimant filed an appeal to the Appellate Court questioning the Commission’s jurisdiction over the Petition to Review that was filed by Respondent on 11/5/13

The Court analysis focused on the fact that an Arbitrator decision becomes final under the Commission unless a proper Petition for Review is filed within 30 days of receipt of the Arbitrator decision. Under Section 19(f), when a corrected decision is issued, those 30 days begin to run on the date the Arbitrator’s corrected decision is received.

In this case, the Court found that Respondent did filed a Petition to Review within the 30-day time limit, but it requested review of the original decision issued and not the corrected decision. Respondent argued that they still had substantially complied with the Act since the improper date given in the Petition was a technical error that did not affect the rights of either party. The Court disagreed and found that the error was more than a mistyped date, but a request to review a nonfinal decision that could not be appealed. Respondent’s failure to file a perfected Petition for Review referring to the corrected decision fell short of the Act’s requirements. As such, the Commission lacked jurisdiction to review the Arbitrator’s decision. Therefore, all subsequent findings were moot, and the Arbitrator’s corrected decision finding for claimant was re-instated and became final under the Commission.

Key Take-Away:

- A Perfected Petition for Review must not only be filed within the proper timeframe but refer to the final Arbitrator decision to give the Commission proper jurisdiction.

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