Dobbs Tire & Auto v. IWCC and Peggy Stolte v. IWCC.  

2018 Ill. App.5th 16297WC

 

 

On February 16, 2018, the Fifth District of the Illinois Appellate Court issued its decision in Dobbs Tire & Auto v. IWCC and Peggy Stolte v. IWCC.  In both cases, the Commission found favorably for the claimant and the employer sought Commission review, which the Commission affirmed.  Thereafter, both employers sought judicial review in the Circuit Court and ultimately in Appellate Court.  All along the way, the holdings upheld the original Arbitrator’s award.  

 

In both cases, both employers tendered payment of the award in accordance with the Arbitrator’s and including Section 19(n) interest.  However, both claimants sought additional interest pursuant to Section 2-1303 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure at 9% per annum.  

 

In the Stolte case, the Circuit Court dismissed the Motion for Section 2-1303 interest holding that the award had not been reduced to a judgment at the time the employer paid the award.  In contrast, in the Dobbs Tire & Auto case, the Circuit Court ordered the employer to pay the 9% interest on the award from the date that the Circuit Court affirmed the Commission’s Decision on Review.  

 

The Appellate Court considered both cases as the issue was the same.  The issue on appeal was whether the 9% judgment interest rate set forth in Section 2-1303 of the Code of Civil Procedure applies to a Commission award prior to the award being reduced to a judgment by a Circuit Court pursuant to Section 19(g) of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.  

 

The Appellate Court reviewed the cases de novo and rejected the proposition that the Circuit Court’s affirmation of the Commission’s Decision on Review was the equivalent of a judgment, thus triggering the 9% interest rate.  The Appellate Court concluded that Section 2-1303 interest at the 9% rate only applies where an employer fails or refuses to pay a final award determined by the Arbitrator, which becomes the Commission’s decision and, once no further appeal is taken, a claimant may file a Petition in the Circuit Court pursuant to Section 19(g) of the Act to reduce the award to an enforceable judgment.  

 

In both cases, the Appellate Court noted that the employers made timely payment of the award and the awards were never reduced to a judgment pursuant to Section 19(g).  Accordingly, the Appellate Court denied the 9% interest.

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