Posted On: March 31, 2011 by Steven J. Malman

Federal Government Investigating State’s Handling of Its Own Employees' Illinois Workers’ Compensation Claims

Investigators from the federal government have opened a criminal investigation into the way the Illinois government deals with its employee’s workers’ compensation claims. Prosecutors in Fairview Heights and Springfield put out subpoenas last month asking for Illinois workers’ compensation claims that its government workers have submitted since 2006. The subpoenas were sent to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, the Department of Insurance, the Department of Central Management Services, and the Department of Corrections.

The investigation comes following a report by the Belleville News-Democrat that since 389 prison employees were paid over $10 million in Illinois workers’ compensation since 2008. 230 of the claimants were guards who said they suffered repetitive-stress injuries from manually unlocking and locking the doors of prisoner cells.

One subpoena presented called for records that were any way related to Illinois workers’ compensation claims filed by workers at the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Human Services, Central Management Services, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the Department of Health Care and Family Services, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and the Office of the Executive Inspector General. Emails, reimbursement documents, and personnel records related to John Dibble and Jennifer Teague, two Workers’ Compensation Commission arbitrators who were placed on paid administrative leave last month, were also requested.

Teague allegedly tried to keep the media away from the public hearing about ex-Illinois State Trooper Matt Mitchell’s worker’s compensation claim. Mitchell was the trooper whose vehicle hit two autos in November 2007, including one carrying the Uhl sisters. The Collinsville teenagers who died from their injuries. Teague would go on to deny Mitchell’s work injury claim seeking benefits. He is now appealing her decision.

The subpoenas also have requested records for arbitrator Andrew Nalefski, ex-Illinois attorney general’s office employee Bill Schneider, and CMS employee Susan J. LeMasters. Schneider dealt with Illinois workers’ compensation cases on behalf of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
Our Chicago workers’ compensation law firm is dedicated to making sure that injured employees get all of the work injury benefits that they are owed. If you are injured on the job, your employer’s insurer should pay you Illinois workers’ compensation benefits. It doesn’t matter who was at fault.

Feds open wide-scale probe into state workers compensation claims, Chicago Sun-Times, April 1, 2011

Ia href="">Illinois workers' comp under scrutiny, ABC Local, March 31, 2011

Feds reviewing Illinois workers' comp in wake of BND investigation, BND/AP, March 31, 2011

Related Web Resources:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

Illinois Department of Central Management Services

More Blog Posts:
Review of Denied Illinois Workers’ Compensation Claim Requested by Ex-State Trooper Involved in Car Crash that Killed Uhl Sisters, Chicago Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, March 24, 2011

House Votes to Audit State Employees' Illinois Workers’ Compensation Claims, Chicago Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, March 17, 2011

Over $1.5M in Illinois Workers’ Compensation Paid to Correctional Guards for Repetitive Strain Injuries, Chicago Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, December 15, 2010

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