16 Mar 2020

From the Illinois Worker’s Compensation Commission:

In light of the unprecedented severity of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, in the interests of health and safety, at the Monday March 16, 2020, meeting of the Workers’ Compensation Commission, Chairman Michael J. Brennan will be calling for a vote to suspend all normal in-person arbitration and Commission review operations for a two-week period. This period will run from Tuesday March 17, 2020, through Tuesday March 31, 2020.

The Commission will vote pursuant to its authority under Section 16 of the Act and Section 9020.60 of the Administrative Rules to temporarily suspend hearing operations and automatically continue all cases scheduled for in-person appearance (e.g. status, trial, etc.) for a period of 90-days. Chairman Brennan is confident this vote will carry unanimously.

The Chairman’s Office may make space available as needed for emergency
hearings or other extremely time-sensitive matters on a case-by-case basis, to be scheduled or conducted at the IWCC’s Chicago, Collinsville, Rockford, Peoria, and Springfield hearing sites. The Chairman has no doubt that all members of the Bar will continue to work together and communicate with one another on any aspects of their clients’ cases that would regularly be conducted by mail, email, or phone during this unprecedented period.
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. But until directed to proceed 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 email.
The Chairman’s Office will reassess the need to extend or expand these measures on an ongoing basis.

As we posted last week, with the our world going into various levels of shutdown due to COVID-19 and with our governments strongly recommending limited contact with others, we are expecting to receive updated directives from the courts and the workers’ compensation agencies regarding the handling of docketed cases for the next few weeks. This may impact our ability to conduct business in the venues we cover. Our office will update everyone via our blog as these changes occur (you can also follow us on Twitter at @InmanFitzgibbon for updates.).   In the meantime we will continue with business as usual, and our office will not shut down in the weeks ahead as we’ve prepared for this and will continue working through this challenging time.