Governor Quinn Advances Workers Compensation Reform with Arbitrator Appointments Print
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Katelyn Tye   
Monday, 17 October 2011 12:15

All Arbitrators Vetted in Overhaul of System Following This Year’s Reforms

CHICAGO – October 14, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today announced the appointments of 29 arbitrators in Illinois’ workers’ compensation system. Arbitrators rule on claims filed under the state’s Workers Compensation Act. The appointments are part of a package of reforms to the workers’ compensation system that Governor Quinn pushed through the General Assembly and signed earlier this year.

The overhaul called for the Governor to make appointments or reappointments to fill all arbitrator positions, considering recommendations from the Workers’ Compensation Advisory Board. Members of the board - six representing employers and six representing workers - were appointed by the Governor earlier this year. Each appointed arbitrator also underwent a rigorous vetting process by the Advisory Board and the Office of the Governor.

“These arbitrator appointments are a key step in ensuring that our workers’ compensation system is professional, transparent, and fair for both workers and employers,” Governor Quinn said. “These reforms are crucial to improving Illinois’ business climate, and this new group of arbitrators will be the most credentialed and experienced group of professionals Illinois has ever had in place to judge workers’ compensation cases.”

In 2010, Illinois had the third highest workers’ compensation premium costs in the nation. This year’s reforms are projected to result in a nearly 9 percent decrease in compensation costs for employers, based on a filing with the Illinois Department of Insurance by the National Council on Compensation Insurance. Illinois employers are expected to save up to $500 million annually in premiums as a result of the overhaul package.

While only 4 percent of the roughly 50,000 claims filed with the commission each year involve state employees, recent reports of a high level of claims, awards and settlements involving state employees in certain jurisdictions have resulted in an ongoing investigation by the Illinois Department of Insurance. To avoid the possibility that long-standing relationships among parties could compromise the integrity of the process, the reform package included the random assignment of cases amongst arbitrators. In addition, arbitrators will now rotate among the Illinois’ statewide hearing sites every 90 days.

Under the new law, all newly-appointed arbitrators must be attorneys. Five sitting arbitrators who are not attorneys were reappointed based on their years of experience and exemplary performance, as allowed under the reform law. In total, 24 of the 29 total arbitrator appointees are attorneys.

Nine sitting arbitrators were not reappointed by the Governor: John Dibble, Gilberto Galicia, James Giordano, Kathleen Hagan, Robert Lammie, Andrew Nalefski, Richard Peterson and Joseph Prieto. One arbitrator, Charles DeVriendt, will be appointed to the Commission. Former arbitrator Jennifer Teague resigned as of July 30, 2011.

Governor Quinn has appointed:

 

Peter Akemann of Kane County has more than 10 years of experience in State government and has been with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission since 1994.  Previously Mr. Akemann worked as a regional claims manager for the Illinois Department of Transportation, is the President of the Children’s Theatre of Elgin / Fox Valley Theatre Co., and has been an active member of community organizations such as the YMCA and the Youth Leadership Academy.  He holds a master’s of education from Northern Illinois University, an M.A. from Northwestern University, and a B.S. from Brigham Young University.  Mr. Akemann has been appointed to a 1-year term as an arbitrator.

George Andros of Cook County has more than 30 years of experience practicing law and has been with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission since 2005.  Mr. Andros holds a J.D. from DePaul University and a B.S. in Management from Northern Illinois University.  Previously he was an instructor in real estate law at South Suburban and Moraine Valley Colleges, a senior member of the City of Palos Hills Planning and Zoning Commission, a speaker at the University of Chicago Center for Continuing Education on Medical-legal issues and a speaker for the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education.  Mr. Andros has been appointed to a 1-year term as an arbitrator.

Milton Black of Lake County has more than 30 years of experience in civil litigation with an emphasis on workers’ compensation, negligence and wrongful death.  Mr. Black has been with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission since 2004, while serving on the Board of Directors of the Workplace Injury Litigation Group, the American Bar Association Employer Liability Section and Trial and Insurance Practice Section.  He holds a J.D. from DePaul University. Mr. Black has been a lecturer at numerous workplace injury and workers’ compensation seminars and was appointed to the Select Committee of Judges and Lawyers by the Illinois Supreme Court.  Mr. Black has been appointed to a 3-year term as an arbitrator.

Kurt Carlson of Cook County has more than 15 years of experience as a workers’ compensation attorney, and has been an arbitrator with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission since 2004.  Previously he represented both employers and injured workers at the Macey, Chern and Diab, Teplitz & Bell, and Power & Cronin law firms.  Mr. Carlson also served in the U.S. Army Medical Corp before obtaining his B.A. from the University of Wisconsin and a J.D. from the John Marshall Law School in Chicago.  Mr. Carlson has been appointed to a 2-year term as an arbitrator.

Brian Cronin of Cook County has more than 20 years of experience in the finance and business, and has been an arbitrator at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission since 1996.  Previously Mr. Cronin was an independent and head trader, broker, trading floor manager and an options specialist for several firms, including the Chicago Board of Trade, Barclays Bank, and O’Connell & Piper Associates.  He holds an MBA in Finance and Business Policy from the University of Chicago, and an MBA in Management and Finance from the University of Notre Dame.  Mr. Cronin has been appointed to a 2-year term as an arbitrator.

 

Carolyn Doherty of DuPage County has more than 20 years of experience in workers’ compensation, insurance law, and has served as an attorney with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission since 1998.  Ms. Doherty also serves as an Arbitrator in Cook and DuPage County Mandatory Arbitration systems on a rotational basis.  She holds a J.D. from the John Marshall Law School and a B.A. from Marquette University, and previously worked as an associate at the Sedgwick, Detert, Moran and Arnold, Hanson & Peters, and Schoen & Smith law firms.   Ms. Doherty has been appointed to a 2-year term as an arbitrator.

Greg Dollison of Cook County has more than 20 years of experience with the Workers’ Compensation Commission as a review coordinator, and has moderated negotiations between employers and union representatives.  He has served as an arbitrator for the IWCC since 2004.  Mr. Dollison has B.S. in City and Regional Planning from the Illinois Institute of Technology and attended Roosevelt University.  Mr. Dollison has been appointed to a 2-year term as an arbitrator.

Anthony Erbacci of Cook County has more than 25 years of extensive experience in State government and insurance and labor law.  He has served as a staff attorney at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission since 1996 and has been an arbitrator since 1997.  Previously Mr. Erbacci served as the Deputy General Counsel of Office of the Special Deputy Receiver, Inc., as Deputy Director of Statewide Enforcement and Chief of Medical Prosecutions at the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation, and as Counsel for the Illinois Department of Labor.  He received a J.D. from the John Marshall Law School and a B.A. from DePaul University.  Mr. Erbacci has been appointed to a 3-year term as an arbitrator.

Robert Falcioni of Will County has served as a staff attorney and as Acting Commissioner at the Illinois Industrial Commission (Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission), and has been an arbitrator since 1997.   He has more than 20 years of law experience is an adjunct faculty member and instructor of the paralegal program at South Suburban College.  Previously Mr. Falcioni was managing partner at Falcioni and Britt, after serving as an attorney at the Charles R. Stone, Hyatt Legal Services and Zalutsky, Pinski and DiGiacamo law firms.  He holds a J.D. from Chicago-Kent School of Law at the Illinois Institute of Technology and a B.S. from Illinois State University.  Mr. Falcioni has been appointed to a 3-year term as an arbitrator.

Barbara Flores of Cook County brings more than five years of law experience as Corporate Counsel of Alden Management Services, previously in the Labor and Employment law department at the U.S. Postal Service, and as an Assistant Attorney General in the Labor and Employment Unit at the Office of the Attorney General.  Ms. Flores also previously worked at the firm Rock, Fusco and Garvey and at the AIDS Legal Council of Chicago.  She holds a J.D. from Chicago-Kent School of Law at the Illinois Institute of Technology, and a B.S. from the University of Illinois.  Ms. Flores has been appointed to a 2-year term as an arbitrator.

Joann Fratianni-Atsaves of Lake County has more than 30 years of workers’ compensation law experience, having served as a Commissioner (Public Member) for three years and as an arbitrator with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission since 1993. She previously has worked at the Anthony V. Fanone and Osterkamp, Jackson and Hollywood law firms, is a Fellow of the Illinois Bar Foundation, current assembly member of the Illinois State Bar Association, and a member of the Lake County Bar Association Board of Directors.  She received J.D. from Northern Illinois University and a B.A. from the University of Illinois.  Ms. Fratianni-Atsaves has been appointed to a 3-year term as an arbitrator.

Gerald Granada of Cook County has 17 years of experience of workers’ compensation law, and is currently an Associate Attorney at Ancel, Glink, Diamond, Bush, DiCianni & Rolek. Previously, he worked as a civil trial and workers’ compensation defense attorney at Meachum, Spahr, Cozzi, Postel, Zenz & Matyas, and as an associate attorney at Cullen, Haskins, Nicholson & Menchetti. Mr. Granada has been appointed to a 1-year term as an arbitrator.

 

Douglas Holland of LaSalle County has more than 20 years of experience with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.  Mr. Holland has served as an arbitrator with the Commission since 1989, and prior to that served for three years as a Commissioner.   He is a farmer and entrepreneur, and holds a B.A. from Sangamon State University, and attended Illinois Valley Community College.  Mr. Holland has been appointed to a 1-year term as an arbitrator.

 

Gerald Jutila of Cook County brings more than 30 years of experience representing injured or deceased workers and their families.  He has served as Acting Chairman of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, and has been an arbitrator since 2004.  Previously he was an attorney at May, Decker and Associates, managing partner at Collins, Jutila and Shovlain, and counsel at Gibson and Kopsick.  Mr. Jutila is a Life Fellow of the Illinois State Bar Association since 1996 and has been a member of numerous professional law associations.  He was honorably discharged from the U.S. Air Force Security Service, where he served as Staff Sergeant and Intelligence Analyst.  Mr. Jutila has been appointed to a 1-year term as an arbitrator.

David Kane of Cook County has 30 years of overall workers’ compensation law experience as a staff attorney and a former Acting Commissioner of the Illinois Industrial Commission (Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission).  He has been an arbitrator since 1990.   He holds a J.D. from DePaul University and a B.A. from Northwestern University.  Mr. Kane has been appointed to a 3-year term as an arbitrator.

Svetlana Kelmanson of Cook County brings eight years of law experience, having served as a staff attorney at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, and as a law clerk at the Appellate Court of Illinois First District.  Ms. Kelmanson also worked at the Law Offices of Chicago-Kent College of Law’s Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic and the Employment Discrimination / Civil Rights Clinic, and at the law firm Sachnoff  & Weaver.  She holds J.D. with high honors from Chicago-Kent College at the Illinois Institute of Technology and a B.S. from the University of Illinois. Ms. Kelmanson has been appointed to a 3-year term as an arbitrator.

Jacqueline Kinnaman of Cook County has served as a Commissioner of the Illinois Industrial Commission (Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission) for more than 10 years, and has been an arbitrator since 2004. Ms. Kinnaman previously represented public employees as an attorney for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 31, and as General Counsel of the West Virginia Education Association. She attended the University of Wisconsin Law School, during which she also worked in the legal counsel office of Governor Schreiber. Ms. Kinnaman has been appointed to a 1-year term as an arbitrator.

Edward Lee of DuPage County has more than 30 years of overall workers’ compensation law experience.  He served as a U.S. Army Armor Officer, representing soldiers or the Army in court martial cases.  Mr. Lee worked in private practice specializing in workers’ compensation law, representing both respondents and petitioners.  He has been an arbitrator at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission since 1997, and in 2004 served on the Review Board dealing with disciplinary issues concerning Arbitrators and Commissioners.  He holds a law degree from John Marshall Law School and attended Tulane University for his undergraduate studies.  Mr. Lee has been appointed to a 2-year term as an arbitrator.

Joshua Luskin of Cook County has 15 years of law experience and is currently a partner at the law firm Nyhan, Bambrick, Kinzie & Lowry, specializing in workers’ compensation. Previously, Mr. Luskin has served as an arbitrator with the Cook County Mandatory Arbitration program, a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps as a prosecutor, as counsel of the Champaign County State’s Attorney’s Appellate Prosecutor and a Champaign County Assistant State’s Attorney. He holds a J.D. from University of Michigan and a B.A. from Macalester College. Mr. Luskin has been appointed to a 2-year term as an arbitrator.

Molly Mason of Cook County has more than 25 years of workers’ compensation law experience, served as a Commissioner with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission since 2007 and as a staff attorney since 2003. Ms. Mason previously worked at law firms Corti, Freeman & Aleksy, and Burke & Burke, and has published several articles in the Illinois Bar Journal.  She holds a J.D. from Loyola University, and a B.A. from Harvard University.  Ms. Mason has been appointed to a 2-year term as an arbitrator.

 

Stephen Mathis of Sangamon County served for 10 years as Legal Counsel and Staff Analyst for the Illinois Senate Staff, and has been an arbitrator with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission since 1996.  He holds a J.D. from John Marshall Law School and a B.S from the University of South Florida and has more than 20 years of workers’ compensation law experience.  Mr. Mathis has been appointed to a 1-year term as an arbitrator.

Neva Neal Mundstock of Sangamon County has more than 25 years of experience in workers’ compensation and has been an arbitrator at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission since 1981. She has studied Administrative Law and the National Judicial College and holds a B.A. from the University of Illinois at Springfield. Ms. Neal Mundstock has been appointed to a 1­­-year term as an arbitrator.

Peter O’Malley of DuPage County has more than 20 years of workers’ compensation experience as a staff attorney of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission since 1995 and as an arbitrator since 2003.  Previously Mr. O’Malley represented petitioners and respondents in workers’ compensation cases at Kubiesa, Power &Cronin and Bullaro, Carton & Stone. He holds a J.D. from the John Marshall Law School and a B.S. from Marquette University.  Mr. O’Malley has been appointed to a 1-year term as an arbitrator.

Maureen Pulia of Cook County brings extensive experience in business, government and workers’ compensation.  She has been a staff attorney for Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission and has been an arbitrator since 2003.  Previously, Ms. Pulia was the Director of Access Health, Trustee of the Village of Westchester, and product manager of systems and management at Baxter Healthcare.   She holds a J.D. and a B.S. from DePaul University.  Ms. Pulia has been appointed to a 1-year term as an arbitrator.

 

Deborah Simpson of Kane County has more than 25 years of government and law, having served since 2000 in the Office of the Illinois Attorney General’s Administrative Review / Civil Prosecutions Unit.  Previously Ms. Simpson was attorney at the State’s Attorney’s Offices for Kane, Vermilion and Cook Counties.  She has been a part-time instructor at the Danville Area Community College, and is a member of several community organizations.  She holds a J.D. from the John Marshall Law School and a B.A. from DePaul University.  Ms. Simpson has been appointed to a 2-year term as an arbitrator.

 

Lynette Thompson-Smith of Cook County has been Special Assistant Attorney General of the Illinois Industrial Commission Bureau since 1989. Her previous experience includes working as an Associate at the City of Chicago’s Office of the Corporation Counsel prosecuting license violations, as a law clerk at the Circuit Court of Cook County and as a law clerk at the Office of the Cook County Public Defender. She received a Certificate of Completion from the International Workers’ Compensation College of the International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions at Salve Regina University, Rhode Island and received her Doctorate at Rutgers School of Law in 1983. Ms. Thompson-Smith has been appointed to a 3-year term as an arbitrator.

 

Jeffrey E. Tobin of Morgan County has been an arbitrator with the with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission since 2004. Mr. Tobin holds a J.D. from T.M. Cooley Law School. Prior to joining the Commission, Mr. Tobin worked at Pratt & Tobin, P.C. from 2000 through August 2002 resolving workers’ compensation claims. In 2002, Mr. Tobin was Partner at Thomson, McNeely & Tobin, P.C. handling workers’ compensation and personal injury claims. Mr. Tobin has been appointed to a 2-year term as an arbitrator.

 

Ruth White of Sangamon County has been an arbitrator with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission for the last 30 years.  Ms. White graduated from the University of Illinois, College of Law in 1973 and started working at the Law Office of Richard Grummon.  Ms. White served as special Assistant to the Attorney General from 1976-1978 and joined the Workers’ Compensation Commission (formerly known as the Industrial Commission) in 1979.  Ms. White has been appointed to a 1-year term as an arbitrator.

Robert Williams of Cook County has more than 30 years of experience practicing law in government and in the private sector, and has been an arbitrator with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission since 1997. Previously, Mr. Williams has served as Chief of the Chicago Industrial Commission bureau of the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, as legal counsel for the Illinois Office of the Comptroller and as corporate counsel in the City of Chicago’s law department. He also was an associate at Washington, Kennon, Bryant & Hunter, holds an MBA from the University of Illinois, a J.D. from Loyola University, and a B.S. from Le Moyne-Owen College. Mr. Williams has been appointed to a 2-year term as an arbitrator.

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