Supreme Court Summaries
Opinions filed November 1, 2007
No. 101265 Wade v. City of North Chicago Police Pension Board
Appellate citation: 359 Ill. App. 3d 224.
JUSTICE KARMEIER delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.
Chief Justice Thomas and Justices Freeman, Fitzgerald, Garman, and Burke concurred in the
judgment and opinion.
Justice Kilbride took no part in the decision.
In 2002, this City of North Chicago policeman injured his knee when he fell down an
embankment while assisting with an arrest. Told by his doctors that he could no longer work as a
patrolman, and told by his employer that there were no desk jobs which he could fill, he applied
for a line-of-duty disability pension.
Pursuant to section 3–115 of the Illinois Pension Code, the police pension board selected
three physicians to examine the claimant. In addition to those doctors’ reports, evidence was
presented at a hearing as to claimant’s problems with his knee before the accident and his surgery
after it. The record also included the medical records of two other physicians who had treated the
claimant after the accident, including the operating surgeon. Of the three doctors selected by the
board to examine the claimant, two certified that he was disabled and one would not. The board
refused to grant a pension, and the circuit court of Lake County affirmed.
On review, the appellate court ultimately found that the denial of a pension was contrary to
the manifest weight of the evidence, a view also taken by the Illinois Supreme Court in this
decision. The supreme court agreed with the appellate court that the noncertifying doctor’s
conclusions were not credible and were not supported by the record.
However, the statute on the board’s selection of three doctors to examine the claimant had
induced the appellate court to conclude that all three of those doctors would have to certify as to
disability before a pension could be granted. In this decision, the supreme court said that this was
not the case and that it was sufficient if all three doctors gave consideration to the disability issue
and if the finding of disability was otherwise supported by the record, which the supreme court
found to be the case here.
The cause was remanded to the City of North Chicago Police Pension Board with directions
that it grant a line-of-duty pension.
http://www.state.il.us/court/Opinions/SupremeCourt/2007/November/Summaries/101265s.htm11/2/2007 10:01:35 AM