Workers' Comp In-Cites
Welcome to the latest edition of Schaff & Young's Workers' Comp In-Cites. Designed to provide our clients with practical insight, Workers' Comp In-Cites outlines recent developments in Pennsylvania workers' compensation law and explains how those decisions impact our clients and their cases. Barbara Young, Michael Schaff and the other attorneys at Schaff & Young, P.C. are always available to discuss these cases – or any other questions or concerns you might have. Just give us a call at (215) 988-0090 or send an email to info@schaffyoung.com. We look forward to hearing from you.


No Litigation Costs if Claimant Fails to Establish Disability

That’s the holding in Reyes v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (AMTEC), in which the Commonwealth Court ruled that, when the only contested issues in a case are the nature of any injury and the extent of disability, and claimant fails to prove that a work-related injury resulted in disability, the claimant is not entitled to an award of litigation costs.


April 2009 Edition
Volume III
Number 4
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When the Experts Agree, A Judge Cannot Disagree

When all medical experts reach the same diagnosis, a Workers’ Compensation Judge’s finding that the claimant did not suffer from the diagnosed condition is not supported by the record and cannot be used as a basis for denying the claimant benefits, according to the Commonwealth Court in Liveringhouse v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (ADECCO).


Subrogation Applies to Governmental Employers

In Fox v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Peco Energy Co.), the Commonwealth Court affirmed that Section 23 of the Act does not make a governmental employer immune from subrogation from a claimant’s tort recovery, and “does not even remotely affect an employer’s Section 319 right to seek reimbursement from a claimant from a tort recovery that the claimant received from a governmental entity for the same work-related injury that employer paid compensation.”


No COBRA Reimbursement

The Commonwealth Court, in Calex, Inc. and Inservco v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Vantaggi), ruled that the Act does not require an employer to reimburse a claimant for premium payments made to secure comprehensive health insurance, e.g., COBRA premium payments.


More Pension Offset Decisions

In City of Philadelphia v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Grevy), the Commonwealth Court affirmed its prior holdings that an Employer is only entitled to an offset/credit against workers’ compensation benefits to the extent that it funded claimant’s service-connected pension benefits, and not for the entire amount of the pension benefits paid to claimant, even if the pension payments are made in lieu of workers’ compensation.

In Consolidation Coal Co. v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Albani), the Court also affirmed that, pursuant to Pennsylvania State University v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Hensal), actuarial testimony is sufficient to support an employer’s right to an offset for Claimant’s receipt of a multi-employer defined benefit disability pension.

Finally, the Court ruled in City of Philadelphia v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Calderazzo) that when an employee’s injury occurred prior to the1996 amendments to Section 204(a), the employer is entitled to an offset/credit against workers’ compensation benefits for service-connected disability pension benefits paid to a claimant to the extent that it funded claimant’s pension benefits. Also in Calderazzo, the Court ruled that penalties and an assessment of unreasonable contest are appropriate when an employer unilaterally suspends benefits without following the Act’s formal procedures.



No Reinstatement for a Suspended Claimant

A claimant bears the burden of proving that worsening of a work related condition affects his or her ability to perform a job previously found to be within his or her capabilities for which the claimant failed to apply in good faith, according to the Commonwealth Court in Ward v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (City of Philadelphia). Absent credible and persuasive proof addressing this issue, claimant does not meet his or her burden.


No Job Available – No Suspension or Termination, Even With a Full Recovery

In Consol PA Coal Company – Enlow Fork Mine v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Whitfield), the Commonwealth Court ruled, applying Landmark Constructors, Inc. v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Costello) 560 Pa. 618, 747 A.2d 850 (2000), that an employer fails to carry its burden of proof if it employer does not provide evidence of work availability even if a claimant is released to any employment without conditions.