We have four new Arbitrators and we lost one as Arbitrator Brandon Zanotti resigned in order to become a State’s Attorney.  Below are the biographies of the new Arbitrators per the IWCC.  Somewhat odd in that three of the four are more insurance company oriented per their background.  But until we see them in action as Arbitrators, we of course can have no real opinion on them.  Best of luck to them all.

Governor  Pat  Quinn  appointed four  new  arbitrators to  the  Commission:

Maria  Bocanegra is  an  attorney  at  Katz Friedman,  specializing  in  workers’  compensation.  She  previously  worked  as  a  judicial  assistant  to  the  Honorable  David  Furman  and  as  a  case administrator  for  the  United  States  Bankruptcy Court  in  the  District  of  Colorado. Ms.Bocanegra  was  also  appointed  to  the  Illinois  Department  of  Labor’s Labor  Advisory  Board  in  2013. She  holds  a  J.D.  from  DePaul  University  and  a  B.A.  from  Quincy  College.

Stephen  Friedman is  currently  a  Managing Partner  of  Rusin,  Maciorowski  &  Friedman,  Ltd., specializing  in  workers’  compensation defense. Previously,  he  was  an  associate  and a partner  at  Rooks,  Pitts  and  Poust  practicing  workers’ compensation  and  personal  injury  defense. He  earned  both  a  J.D.  and  a  B.A.  from  the  University  of  Illinois.

Steven  Fruth is  currently  a  trial  attorney  at  the  Chicago  Transit  Authority.    Previously,  he  served  as  a  Circuit  Judge  in  the  Circuit  Court  of  Cook  County  and  as  the  Staff  Counsel  at  Allstate  Insurance  Company.    He  holds  a  J.D.  from  the  John  Marshall  Law  School  and  a  B.A.  from  Southern  Illinois  University.

Michael  Nowak  is  an  attorney  at  Becker,  Paulson,  Hoerner  &  Thompson,  P.C.,  focusing  primarily  on  workers’  compensation  law.    Previously,  he  was  a  partner  in  his  own  firm,  representing  injured  workers.    Mr.  Nowak  has  served  as  an  arbitrator  for  the  St.  Clair  County  Arbitration  Center  as  well  as  a  member  of  the  Judicial  Nominating  Committee  for  the  U.S.  District  Court,  Southern  District  of  Illinois.    He  holds  a  J.D.  from  Northern  Illinois  University  and  a  B.A.  from  Eastern  Illinois  University.

Please  join  us  in  welcoming  these  new arbitrators to  the  Commission.