Articles & Updates

Division of Workers’ Compensation Operations Under COVID-19:

Missouri: Effective by DWC Order dated 4/2/20, all conferences, pre-hearings, and show cause dismissal settings will be cancelled from 4/20/20 through 5/29/20.

Scheduled Mediations – Will still take place. Parties are to contact the local office 48 hours before the mediation to coordinate a teleconference.

Scheduled Hearings – If the local office cannot host a scheduled hearing (due to stay-at-home orders and/or state offices closed to the public) then the hearing will be cancelled. I believe that the Missouri Governor’s order from 4/3/20 might have eradicated the potential for hearings to go forward.

Hardship Hearings – Considered on a case-by-case basis. Upon request, the parties can schedule a telephone conference with the ALJ to mediate the matter.

Duty Judges – Assigned each week to approve settlement documents, subpoenas, and Form 43’s. Check with your E&D attorney to determine who is assigned each week and how these documents can be quickly approved.

Pro Se Settlements – Handled differently by each venue, your E&D attorney will need to get in touch with the docket clerk at the particular venue to determine availability of the ALJ’s for scheduling. Several venues require signed documentation in advance (no notary needed on Pro Se settlements) along with medical documentation. These will be approved with all parties telephonically.


Kansas: The individual ALJ’s have been directing each hearing on a case-by-case basis, however there is no general guidance from the Division.  Statewide there is a stay home order in place until April 19th.  While legal services are exempt from the order, the ALJ’s have been out of office, or limited to one ALJ and one admin per division office.  It is unclear how long this practice will be in effect, but at least through the end of this week or next.

Practically, all filings continue to be submitted via e-filing, OSCAR, and hearings have continued forward telephonically:

Settlement Hearings – conducted by phone with all parties, Special ALJ, and reporter conferenced. 

Preliminary Hearings – conducted by phone with all parties, ALJ, and reporter.  If any testimony, the ALJ will set terminal dates for submission by deposition. If any evidence, it must be submitted via the e-filing website, OSCAR.

Pre-Hearing Settlement Conferences – conducted by phone with all parties and the ALJ, no reporter is necessary.

Regular Hearings – Same as preliminary hearings, the ALJ is only taking stipulations and setting terminal dates for evidence submission.  Impression is that the ALJ’s will set a 60/60 day terminal date unless otherwise agreed upon.

Post-Award Hearings – conducted the same as regular hearings.


Illinois: Pursuant to a 3/27/20 order of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, the Commission has suspended regular operations during the entire month of April 2020.  This has resulted in the cancellation of all docket calls in the month of April, and the automatic continuance of all cases to their next regularly scheduled 90 day continuance date.  Cases which were pending for oral argument or Hearing on Review before the Commission will be decided by the Commission so long as the parties waive oral argument. 

Other than cancellation of the docket calls, all other Commission operations are running normally.  All statutory filing deadlines and statutes of limitation are unaffected, and the Commission continues to process all filings and documents as usual, whether provided by mail or in-person delivery.  This means filings can continue to be made, and settlement contracts can be submitted for judicial approval as usual.

The Commission has set up a system of Emergency Motion Calls for Emergency motions only.  An emergency arbitrator is available at each of the Commission offices on specifically scheduled days of the week.  “Valid emergencies have been defined by the Commission as including “issues involving the expiration of a statute of limitations, a party can reasonably be expected to suffer an unacceptable hardship, if not heard on an expedited basis.”  The Commission has further indicated if the emergency basis of the motion is not a valid emergency justifying the risks associated with an in-person hearing in the midst of a national emergency/global pandemic, the motion will be stricken. The process of the emergency dockets is to have a motion filed with the Commission for the appropriate emergency docket date.  The parties then appear at the Docket and a determination is made of whether the issues are of sufficient emergency to justify a hearing.  If such a finding is made, the emergency hearing (by definition a 19(b) hearing) will occur.

Pro se settlement conferences can be held at the emergency dockets only on the second day of the emergency docket only. Parties can be expected to have their temperatures taken upon arrival at the Commission office, and social distancing guidelines should be followed to the extent possible.


Nebraska: The Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court has issued an Order stating that all trials and evidentiary hearings scheduled in April 2020 will be conducted by video or telephonic conference unless special permission is granted.  A party that prefers to appear in person can either make a special motion requesting such an appearance, or submit a motion to continue the hearing until the current Order is no longer in place and normal hearings have resumed.  No decisions have been made for trials or evidentiary hearings in May. 

This Order does not affect normal court operations including settlement review and approvals though court staff is working from home so a delay in responses can be expected.  All normal deadlines and filings with the court are proceeding as normal, whether submitted in person, by mail or electronically.  Previously scheduled telephonic conferences and hearings are proceeding as normal and will continue to do so.    


Iowa: On March 13, 2020 the Commissioner of the DWC issued an order suspending in-person hearings in all regular proceedings before the agency from 3/18/20 through at least 6/16/20.  All hearings previously scheduled during this period will be held via internet based video using CourtCall unless a motion is filed to continue the hearing. 

If the agency grants a continuance of in-person hearings they shall be rescheduled between 6/22/20 and 12/18/20 and take place in Des Moines, IA. 

All previously scheduled telephonic hearings will proceed as normal. 

The DWC will be closed to the public pending further notice.  All other normal court operations shall continue.

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