On December 5, 2019 the Second District Appellate Court issued its Rule 23 Order in Olson v. Lombard Police Pension Board, et al. The plaintiff, a police officer, applied for a line of duty disability pension. The pension board granted the Village’s petition to intervene. Following a hearing, the pension board denied the plaintiff’s application for a line of duty disability pension. The trial court and the appellate court affirmed the pension board’s decision.
The plaintiff claimed he injured his back and leg during a foot chase. The plaintiff complained of leg pain, but not back pain, after he apprehended the suspect. Prior to the incident, the plaintiff had also suffered back pain on three separate occasions while off-duty. Contrary to plaintiff’s testimony that he received back treatment after the incident, the Form 45 and plaintiff’s initial doctor’s report do not reflect any back treatment.
Two workers’ compensation IME providers examined the plaintiff. One workers’ compensation IME provider opined the plaintiff required surgery and that the surgery was related to the on-duty injury. Another workers’ compensation IME provider opined the plaintiff’s surgery was unnecessary and that plaintiff’s back pain was due to his failed surgery as opposed to the on-duty injury.
The pension board selected three IME providers to examine the plaintiff. One doctor concluded the plaintiff’s subjective pain complaints were unreliable and the back surgery was unnecessary. One doctor concluded the plaintiff was disabled without rendering a causation opinion. One doctor concluded plaintiff was disabled but that it was not related to the on-duty incident.
The pension board concluded the plaintiff was disabled but that the disability was not caused by an act of duty. The Appellate Court held the pension board’s decision was not against the manifest weight of the evidence. First, the plaintiff failed to complain of low back pain immediately following the on-duty incident. Second, the plaintiff did not receive physical therapy for low back pain. Third, at least four doctors concluded the on-duty incident did not cause the plaintiff’s low back pain. Fourth, the pension board’s finding that plaintiff was not credible were not against the manifest weight of the evidence.
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