Governor Pat Quinn today announced the appointment of three additional arbitrators to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC) to review workplace injury claims. The arbitrators will join the 27 arbitrators the Governor appointed in 2011, all of whom were appointed following a rigorous vetting process by the Workers’ Compensation Advisory Board and the Office of the Governor. The appointments were part of a package of comprehensive reforms to the workers’ compensation system that the Governor signed into law last year.
“The vetting and appointment of arbitrators was a critical step in our overhaul of Illinois’ workers’ compensation program, and I am pleased appoint these additional arbitrators to the IWCC,” Gov. Quinn said. “These arbitrators bring years of professional experience to judge workers’ compensation cases, and are an important part of the reform process that will help improve Illinois’ business climate.”
The workers’ compensation reforms called for the Governor to make appointments to fill arbitrator positions, considering recommendations from the Advisory Board, which comprises six members representing employers, and six members representing workers. Arbitrators rule on claims filed under the state’s Workers’ Compensation Act.
Before last year’s reforms, Illinois had some of the highest workers’ compensation premiums in the nation. The reform package is projected to decrease compensation costs for employers by nearly nine percent, based on a filing with the Illinois Department of Insurance by the National Council on Compensation Insurance. Illinois employers are expected to save at least $500 million annually in premiums as a result of the overhaul.
The new law requires that all newly-appointed arbitrators must be attorneys and that both arbitrators and commissioners follow the rules and ethical practices of judges. Arbitrators and commissioners must also take at least 20 hours of training every two years while in office regarding professional and ethical standards, detection of fraud, evidence-based medical treatment, and Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis.
Governor Quinn has appointed the following arbitrators to the IWCC:
Brandon J. Zanotti of Jackson County comes to the Commission from private practice. At Feirich/Mager/Green/Ryan, Mr. Zanotti worked as an attorney specializing in workers’ compensation cases representing both petitioners and respondents. In addition to his time in private practice, Mr. Zanotti was a congressional clerk to Sen. Richard Durbin in Washington, D.C. and clerked for Judge Joseph M. Leberman in the First Judicial Circuit County of Illinois. Mr. Zanotti graduated summa cum laude from Southern IllinoisUniversity with a B.S. in Finance and also has a J.D. from Washington University School of Law. Mr. Zanotti has been appointed to a one-year term as an arbitrator.
D. Douglas McCarthy of Macon County brings more than 30 years of legal experience to the Commission. At McCarthy, Rowden and Baker, Mr. McCarthy specialized in workers’ compensation and social security disability law. He has appeared before the Commission, state circuit and appellate courts and in federal administrative hearings. Mr. McCarthy graduated from Illinois State University with a B.A. in Communications, received an M.A. in Public Affairs Reporting from Sangamon State University and a J.D. from Southern Illinois University. Mr. McCarthy has been appointed to a two-year term as an arbitrator.
William R. Gallagher of St. Clair County brings 35 years of legal experience to the Commission. Mr. Gallagher most recently worked as a solo practitioner, specializing in workers’ compensation law in Illinois and Missouri. Mr. Gallagher has also worked as In-House Counsel at the Kemper National Insurance Company, specializing in workers’ compensation and products liability cases, and as an attorney at the Harry J. Nichols Law Office, working on workers’ compensation claims in Illinois and Missouri. Mr. Gallagher has a B.A. in Political Science and Economics and a J.D. from Southern Illinois University. Mr. Gallagher has been appointed to a two-year term as an arbitrator.