The Court’s workers compensation docket has been light in the last six years. The Court has decided only three workers compensation cases recently – two in 2015 and one in 2016.
All three of the Court’s latest workers compensation cases were won by the plaintiffs below.
Defendants who won at the Appellate Court were one win and zero losses at the Supreme Court.
Plaintiffs who won their workers compensation cases at the Appellate Court were winless at the Supreme Court, winning zero while losing two.
Overall, defendants have won all three workers compensation cases since 2014.
Next, we review the issues the Court decided in its workers compensation cases. The Court decided one case in 2015 involving the power and structure of the Workers Compensation Commission, one case involving compensability and one case involving procedural issues.
None of the Justices have cast votes for defendants in workers compensation cases since 2014. Justices Freeman, Garman, Kilbride, Thomas, Karmeier, Burke and Theis have all cast three votes against defendants.
Finally, we compare the Justices’ votes for the entire twenty-nine year period to the overall data regarding cases won by the defense side to determine which Justices were more likely to vote for the defense side than the Court as a whole. Justice Miller voted for defendants 65.63 percent of the time, Justice Moran did so in sixty percent of cases. Justice Nickels was 57.89%, Justice Rathje was 57.14%, Justice Heiple’s rate was 55.17%, Justice McMorrow’s was 52.5% and Justices Calvo and Cunningham voted with defendants half the time.
Finally, we review the Justices who were less likely to support defendants in workers compensation than the Court as a whole. First, we have Justice Fitzgerald at 47.62%. Three more Justices were in the forties – Justice Bilandic (46.43%), Freeman (41.07%) and Clark (40%). Four Justices were in the thirties – Thomas (39.13%), Garman (37.04%), Stamos (33.33%) and Ryan (33.33%). Justice Karmeier agreed with the majority only 27.78% of the time. Justice Burke did so in 27.27% of cases. Behind her were Justices Harrison (25.81%), Kilbride (23.08%) and Theis (16.67%). Justice Rarick did not even vote for workers compensation defendants.
Join us next Tuesday as we turn our attention to a new area of law.