Judge’s ruling clears way for workers’ comp medical records release

A Cook County judge on Friday ruled that medical tests involving Menard Correctional Center guards who received disability settlements at taxpayers’ expense must be turned over to the public.

Circuit Judge Michael B. Hyman heard arguments from the three parties involved — Central Management Services, the Illinois attorney general’s office and the Belleville News-Democrat.

As part of a newspaper investigation, the reporters investigated hundreds of workers’ compensation cases since Jan. 1, 2008, filed by guards at Menard, who claimed they developed repetitive trauma by turning keys and operating cell locking mechanisms. The taxpayer-funded claims totaled more than $10 million, and many guards received settlements ranging from $20,000 to more than $100,000 for carpal tunnel syndrome of the wrist and cubital tunnel syndrome of the elbow.


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