On February 18, 2014 the First District Appellate Court issued its Rule 23 Order in Tavitas v. Retirement Board of the Firemen’s Annuity & Benefit Fund of the City of Chicago. The trial court affirmed the pension board’s decision denying the firefighter’s application for disability pension benefits. The appellate court, citing its recent decision in Howe, vacated the trial court’s order and remanded the matter to the Pension Board to “…take valid final action by approving a specific written decision by a majority affirmative vote.” In order for a pension board to issue a final administrative decision subject to administrative review, the pension board must prepare a written decision and vote to approve the written decision.
On February 14, 2014 the First District Appellate Court issued its Opinion in Carrillo v. Park Ridge Firefighters’ Pension Board. The Pension Board denied the firefighter’s application for a line of duty disability pension and awarded the firefighter a not in duty disability pension. The trial court and the appellate court affirmed the Pension Board’s decision. The appellate court noted that the opinions of 2 doctors who concluded that an act of duty did not cause or contribute to the firefighter’s disability constituted competent evidence supporting the Pension Board’s decision.
Chicago Tribune – A Look At Legal Firepower Arrayed Against State’s Pension Overhaul Law
On February 7, 2014 the Second District Appellate Court issued its Rule 23 Order in Fox v. Wood Dale Firefighters Pension Board. The Pension Board denied the plaintiff’s application for a line of duty disability pension. The circuit court affirmed. The appellate court reversed and ordered the Pension Board to grant the application. The appellate court determined that the Pension Board’s credibility determinations were against the manifest weight of the evidence and that the Pension Board’s interpretation of one doctor’s opinion to conclude that the plaintiff was not disabled was against the manifest weight of the evidence. Additionally, the appellate court concluded that the plaintiff’s refusal to undergo surgery did not constitute an intervening cause of the plaintiff’s disability.