November 11, 2015
On November 4, 2015, in the case of Folta v. Ferro Engineering, 2015 Il 118070 (2015), the Illinois Supreme Court strengthened the exclusivity provision of the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act and Illinois Occupational Diseases Act ("the Acts"). The Court reversed the Court of Appeals, finding that the exclusivity provisions of the Acts prevent employees from bringing civil tort claims against their former employer even when they are precluded from bringing a Worker's Compensation claim due to the passage of time.

The Court's ruling significantly narrows the exceptions to the exclusivity provisions in the Acts, making it difficult for an employee to sue his or her employer within the tort system for an occupational disease arising from their employment. As a result, former employees who develop occupational diseases within the Acts will not be permitted to proceed in tort against their previous employer, even when the time for bringing a claim under the Acts has expired.

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