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West Bend Mutual Insurance Co. v. TRRS Corp.

2019 IL App (2d) 180934 (Ill. App., 2019)

Words & Phrases

Declaratory Judgment: Timing

Trial Judge

Thomas A. Meyer

Appellate Judge



Circuit court had no authority to stay worker’s compensation claim while declaratory judgment action was pending.

Fact Summary

This consolidated interlocutory appeal concerns the propriety of a circuit court’s order staying the proceedings on a claim filed before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC). Plaintiff, West Bend Mutual Insurance Company (West Bend), filed a declaratory judgment action in the circuit court of McHenry County, seeking a ruling that it had no duty to defend or indemnify defendants TRRS Corporation (TRRS) and Commercial Tire Services, Inc. (Commercial Tire), against an IWCC claim filed by defendant Gary Bernardino due to late notice. Shortly thereafter, West Bend filed an emergency motion in the circuit court, requesting a stay of the IWCC proceedings pending the resolution of the declaratory judgment action. Relying on the doctrine of primary jurisdiction, and over Bernardino’s objection, the circuit court granted West Bend’s motion and entered an order staying the IWCC proceedings. Pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 307(a)(1) (eff. Nov. 1, 2017), Bernardino filed an interlocutory appeal in case No. 2-18-0934. Bernardino subsequently filed a motion to vacate the circuit court’s stay order. When the circuit court continued the hearing on the motion, Bernardino filed another Rule 307(a)(1) interlocutory appeal in case No. 2-18-1009. We granted Bernardino’s motion to consolidate the two appeals.    We now reverse the circuit court’s stay order in appeal No. 2-18-0934, and we dismiss appeal No. 2-18-1009 for lack of jurisdiction.