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June 2, 2014

Not entitled to big payout

Jennifer Carril epitomizes the workers' comp culture in Illinois state government. The workers' comp arbitrator until her firing in 2011 is still fighting to get a $25,000 payout for a permanent disability, even though no right-thinking person would believe she's permanently disabled. The record shows that she was back on the job two weeks after cubital tunnel surgery. She even testified that her injury and recovery caused her "no hindrance whatsoever." And yet she's seeking money for a 15 percent permanent disability of her right arm.

We understand why Carril might think she's entitled. She awarded a lot of money to other state workers and no doubt thinks it is her turn. But why did the hearing officer assigned to her case agree? Because it was his first case? Because he told her he liked her management style? Or because he has bought into the culture also?

Carril's case is before the appellate court in Springfield now; it probably would cost Illinois less to pay the settlement than for the attorney general's office to fight back. But this is a matter of principle. It's time to change the culture. Carril doesn't deserve a gift from the taxpayers.

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