Justia Public Benefits Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Illinois Supreme Court
Gaffney v. Bd. of Tr. of Orland Fire Prot. Dist.
Firefighters, who suffered career-ending injuries during required training exercises, obtained line-of-duty disability pensions and sought continuing health coverage under the Public Safety Employee Benefits Act, 820 ILCS 320/10, which requires employers of full-time firefighters to pay health insurance premiums for the firefighter and family if the firefighter suffers a catastrophic injury as a result of a response to what is reasonably believed to be an emergency. The trial court dismissed a declaratory judgment action by one firefighter and affirmed denial of the insurance benefit for one firefighter. The appellate court affirmed. The supreme court held that an "emergency" means an unforeseen circumstance calling for urgent and immediate action and can arise in a training exercise. The other firefighter had obtained a declaratory judgment, which was affirmed by the appellate court. The supreme court distinguished the situation because, although he was instructed to "respond as if it were an actual emergency," he was not injured while making an urgent response to unforeseen circumstances involving an imminent danger to person or property. View "Gaffney v. Bd. of Tr. of Orland Fire Prot. Dist." on Justia Law
Nowak v. City of Country Club Hills
For 12 months following his injury, plaintiff, a police officer injured on duty, received salary under the Public Employee Disability Act. For a short time thereafter, he received salary through a combination of accrued sick and vacation time, light duty, and temporary total disability payments under the Workers’ Compensation Act. While plaintiff received salary under PEDA, the city deducted 20 percent of his health insurance premiums from his paycheck, in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement. After PEDA benefits expired, plaintiff continued to pay 20 percent of the premiums. When he was awarded a line-of-duty disability pension under the Illinois Pension Code, the city began paying 100 percent of the premiums, as required by the Public Safety Employee Benefits Act, 820 ILCS 320/10(a). Plaintiff's request for reimbursement for premiums paid since the date of injury was refused. The circuit court entered summary judgment for the city. The appellate court reversed. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed the appellate court. Under PSEBA, an employer's obligation to pay the entire health insurance premium for an injured officer and his family attaches on the date that it is determined that the injury is "catastrophic," the date it is determined that the injured officer is permanently disabled and eligible for a line-of-duty disability pension. View "Nowak v. City of Country Club Hills" on Justia Law