HANCOCK v. VILLAGE OF ITASCA

On May 2, 2016 the Second District Appellate Court issued its Opinion in Hancock v. Village of Itasca.  The plaintiff was a former police officer.  In 1992 the plaintiff injured his hand while on duty.  The plaintiff returned to duty in 1994.  In 2000 the plaintiff injured his hand while on duty.  In 2001 the pension board awarded the plaintiff a line of duty disability pension as a result of the 1992 injury.  In 2000 the plaintiff’s attorney contacted the village and requested PSEBA benefits for the plaintiff.  The village denied the request because the plaintiff’s injury occurred before the effective date of PSEBA (1997).  In 2003 the plaintiff’s attorney made a second request for PSEBA benefits and the village did not respond.  The plaintiff filed a complaint for mandamus and declaratory judgment.  The village filed a motion for summary judgment arguing (1) the plaintiff did not apply for benefits within the 5 year statute of limitations and (2) the plaintiff was not entitled to PSEBA benefits because his injury occurred before the effective date of PSEBA.  The trial court granted the village’s motion for summary judgment and held that the action was timely, but that the plaintiff was not entitled to PSEBA benefits because his injury occurred before the effective date of PSEBA.  The appellate court affirmed based on the 5 year statute of limitations.  The court held that the statute limitations started to run when the plaintiff new the facts of his injury and its cause.  The appellate court rejected the plaintiff’s argument that under the “discovery rule” he could not have known that his injury was “catastrophic” until after the pension board awarded him a line of duty disability pension in 2011.

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