Over the years I have represented more Illinois state workers than I can recall. Handling cases against the state and the AG’s office poses all sorts of unique problems. One of them makes absolutely no sense at all. Here it is:
In cases settled with by the state of Illinois, the terms of the settlement require us to wait 180 days from the date of approval of the contract before payment is made. That’s 6 months! Therefore, if we work out a fair settlement in late June, understand that we won’t get the check (assuming they don’t screw up and fail to send it on time) until January. If you want to settle your case then you must be prepared for this reality. Otherwise, make certain your lawyer is willing to try your case.
The 180 day policy resulted from Illinois’ budget problems and inability to pay debts on time. Illinois delays paying its debts. How does this make sense? Does the state think it will get a windfall of money in the next 6 months? Does it think the liability will be forgotten about? Or that a relative will die and leave it something in her will? Maybe the state should play the lottery.
The only solution is to aggressively litigate the case and hope the state doesn’t appeal. An award from an arbitrator (as opposed to a settlement) is paid timely, assuming the state does not appeal. If they do, then we wait another 6 months or more for the appeal to be heard and decided.
The lesson learned: whether its settlement or trial, in cases with the state of Illinois, patience is not just a virtue…it’s a requirement.