On June 13, 2016 the Fifth District Appellate Court heard oral arguments in Martin v. Board of Trustees of the Shiloh Police Pension Fund. The issue in the case is whether the pension board erred when it determined that the plaintiff’s disabling injury was not incurred in or did not result from the performance of an act of duty. The trial court reversed the pension board’s decision. The plaintiff was in a police vehicle and injured in a car accident after having lunch. The plaintiff was returning from a state’s attorney’s office to the police department. PGM will post the court’s decision once it is issued.
On August 4, 2015 the Second District Appellate Court heard oral arguments in Krott v. Carol Stream Firefighters’ Pension Board. The Pension Board denied the plaintiff firefighters’ application for an occupational disease disability pension or a line of duty disability pension. The trial court affirmed and the plaintiff appealed. The issue is whether the plaintiff’s coronary artery disease resulted from or was incurred in the performance of an act of duty or from the cumulative effects of acts of duty. The record indicates that the plaintiff was overweight, smoked cigarettes, suffered from high blood pressure, suffered from high cholesterol, and had a family history of coronary artery disease. However, the plaintiff argued that notwithstanding these risk factors, the evidence supported a conclusion that the plaintiff’s fire service was a contributing cause to the development or progression of her coronary artery disease. The plaintiff argued that all the doctors in the case ultimately opined that the plaintiff’s fire service was a contributing factor and that the Pension Board’s decision was therefore against the manifest weight of the evidence.
On December 2, 2013 the Second District Appellate Court heard oral argument in Peterson v. Village of Oak Brook. The plaintiff is the son of former police officer Drew Peterson who was convicted of murdering his ex-wife. The Village of Oak Brook subsequently fired the plaintiff from his job as a police officer for alleged misconduct involving the concealment of evidence related to his father’s case. The trial court affirmed the Village’s decision.
PGM wishes to extends its condolences on the passing of firefighter Daniel Bower. Dan was a firefighter with Freeport Local 441 and 7th District Commander with the AFFI Honor Guard. PGM had the privilege of representing Dan before the Freeport Firefighters’ Pension Board. Our thoughts are with his wife Abigail, their three children, and his fellow firefighters. Arrangements can be found at www.affi-iaff.org.
On March 5, 2013 a firefighter with the Hudson Community Fire Protection District was killed in the line of duty. The District’s press release can be viewed here.
The staff of PGM offers its condolences to the friends, family, and co-workers of this Hudson Community Fire Protection District firefighter. Our thoughts are also with the other first responders injured as a result of this accident.
The Illinois Public Pension Fund Association will hold its annual holiday party at the Union League Club of Chicago on December 7, 2012.
On November 21, 2012 the First District Appellate Court issued its Opinion in Hoffman v. Orland Firefighters’ Pension Board. In a 2-1 decision, the Appellate Court affirmed the trial court’s decision reversing the Pension Board’s decision to terminate the plaintiff’s disability pension. The Court held that Section 4-112 provides that a disability pension may only be terminated “upon satisfactory proof to the board that a firefighter on the disability pension has recovered from disability.” The Court noted that the record only contained evidence of a doctor that the plaintiff “was never disabled”, not that the plaintiff had “recovered” from disability. The Court held, “We are presented with no authority under the Code that the nonexistence of medical evidence showing a disability, based on the testimony and report of the Board’s expert, is tantamount to satisfactory proof of recovery.”
The dissent agreed with the majority’s legal conclusion that the Board was required to obtain evidence of recovery from disability. However, the dissent held that the Board had the right to accept the doctor’s opinion that the plaintiff is not now permanently disabled and to reject the doctor’s opinion that the plaintiff never had a disability.
Although not at issue in the case, the Court also noted that the Pension Code “bars examination to verify continuance of disability after age 50.” This case provides further support to the position that physical examinations to verify continuance of disability are precluded after age 50. Therefore, a Board would have no authority to terminate a disability pension after age 50.