A former Illinois workers' compensation arbitrator, who lost her state job after an attorney regulatory agency determined she sent inappropriate emails and tried to stop a public hearing in a controversial case, will begin a two-year law license suspension on April 5.
On Friday, the Illinois Supreme Court upheld the suspension of Jennifer Carril, who was known as Jennifer Teague when she acted as a Collinsville-based arbitration judge for the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission.
But a workers' compensation settlement of $25,233 awarded last June based on Carril's claim that typing caused her to develop a repetitive trauma injury has not been paid.
Due to an objection of the payment filed by the Illinois Attorney General's Office, the cash settlement will now depend on a decision by the Fifth Appellate District Court in Mount Vernon.
Carril has stated in the past that she will not comment.
"We continue to believe the award is not supported by law and the facts at hand. We've asked the Appellate Court to review the decision," said Natalie Bauer, spokeswoman for Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
Carril's actions as an arbitrator became widely known through a series of stories by the Belleville News-Democrat that began with articles about hundreds of guards at the Menard Correctional Center filing similar repetitive trauma claims that differed only in that they claimed turning keys and operating locking mechanisms caused their injuries. More than $10 million was paid out by taxpayers because the state is self-insured.
In November, the Attorney Registration and Discipline Commission hearing panel found the former workers' compensation arbitrator committed misconduct in three of four counts.
Carril, of Shiloh, was accused in a four-count complaint of making improper statements to opposing lawyers about other lawyers who appeared before her and attempting to hide a hearing from the media in a high-profile workers' compensation case involving Illinois State Trooper Matt Mitchell, who earlier pleaded guilty to reckless homicide in the deaths of two teenage sisters from Collinsville. Mitchell also filed a workers' compensation claim in connection to injuries he suffered in the crash, which was denied.
Carril wrote in an email to her court reporter that she intended to hold the hearing on Mitchell's compensation claim "On the sly with no press." That email was later obtained by the News-Democrat through a Freedom of Information request.
The panel did not find that Carril attempted to use her position to speed payment of her own workers' comp case.