9-27-11; Is there anything in Illinois Workers Comp that states you cannot take the sworn deposition of the claimant?

The short answer is no. The reason they are not conducted is there is nothing in the IL WC Act or Rules that requires them. For example, if a claimant doesn’t attend a properly set IME, the Act allows you to cut off benefits.

And please understand, if we were to set a deposition and claimant and counsel attended and answered questions, it would not be “illegal.” The deposition could be used for whatever value it might have in later hearings.

The problem is that if we set a deposition of claimant and no one showed, we couldn’t take any action as the Act doesn’t say anything about it. In a common law proceeding, if a Plaintiff doesn’t show for a deposition, they can be barred from testifying and/or the claim can be dismissed by the court.

The IL WC Act has no similar provision or rule. Depositions in IL WC are set by agreement or via a weirdly named petition for what is called a “dedimus potestatem.” In law, dedimus potestatem (Latin for "we have given the power") is a writ whereby commission is given to one or more private persons for the expedition of some act normally performed by a judge. It is also called delegatio.

It was granted most commonly upon the suggestion that a party, who is to do something before a judge or in a court, was too weak to travel. The use of a dedimus potestatem was various, such as to take a personal answer to a bill in chancery, to examine witnesses, levy a fine, etc. In a dedimus filed in an IL WC claim, the Arbitrator basically orders the court reporter to take the deposition or recorded sworn statement of whoever is listed in the petition. We are confident there are very few claimant attorneys who would agree to have their client deposed.

If they wouldn’t agree and we filed for a dedimus, we are certain there are no Arbitrators who would order claimant to be deposed because there are no rules requiring it.