By: Mark Glennon*
Late yesterday the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS) filed a lawsuit against Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan alleging she is refusing to discharge her duty to properly defend the state against certain workers compensation claims.
The complaint, styled Tyrell v. Madigan, is linked here. The lawsuit was brought in the name of Tom Tyrell in his capacity as Director of CMS. It pertains to home care workers called “personal assistants.” According to the complaint, there are about 30,000 personal assistants in Illinois who have filed hundreds of workers compensation claims against the state resulting in “millions of dollars in benefit payments improperly flowing through CMS to individuals who are not employees of the state.”
The central assertion is that Madigan is refusing to put up an obvious and easily supported defense on behalf of taxpayers — that personal assistants are not employees of the state. CMS recites, in the complaint, a list of reasons to support its position, including the recent United States Supreme Court Decision in Harris v. Quinn. That decision, as CMS describes in the complaint, held that personal assistants are private sector employees for all purposes except collective bargaining over wages.
“In addition to refusing to perform her personal, professional and constitutional duties in accordance with law,” the complaint says, Madigan has refused requests by CMS for appointment of a special assistant attorney general to properly defend the claims.
The lawsuit asks the court, essentially, to throw Madigan off the case and appoint a special assistant attorney general to do the job.
The lawsuit is centered on workers’ comp claims by one particular personal assistant named Stephanie Yancer-Price, but is clearly intended to set a precedent for how all similar claims should be defended.
Thank you to the reader who alerted us to the filing of the complaint.
*Mark Glennon is founder of WirePoints. Opinions expressed are his own.