Ohlrich v. City of Palatine
Congratulations to the City of Palatine and John Fassola for their successful defense of a “rebuttable presumption” cardiac claim in the case of Ohlrich v. City of Palatine. The claimant was a firefighter/paramedic who was diagnosed with coronary artery disease and underwent a quadruple bypass, precluding his ability to return to work as a firefighter. Under the law, the claimant’s condition was presumed to be related to his employment as a firefighter, and we were required to disprove the contention with credible evidence. In addition, claimant had been granted a duty disability pension, which claimant’s counsel argued was further evidence in support of his claim. However, we were able to present an expert opinion from a cardiologist supporting the contention that claimant’s condition was related to personal health factors (including chronic hypertension, high cholesterol, and a family history of heart disease) rather than the risks of firefighting. The Arbitrator agreed and denied any benefits to the claimant. Mr. Fassola is one of the only attorneys in Illinois who has successfully defended firefighter rebuttable presumption claims in multiple venues across the State.