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 We look forward to hearing from you.

Firefighter’s Presumption Controls

The Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board errs when it ignores a Workers’ Compensation Judge’s finding that a claimant was entitled to the firefighter’s presumption under Section 108(o) of the Act and that, consequently, his heart disease disabled him from firefighting, according to the Commonwealth Court in Repash v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (City of Philadelphia).

December 2008 Edition
Volume II
Number 12

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Pension Benefits

The Commonwealth Court has issued a plethora of decisions relating to pension benefit offsets. In the companion cases of Jones v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (City of Chester) and Bingnear v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (City of Chester), the Court held that a Workers’ Compensation Judge has jurisdiction to entertain a review petition seeking to determine whether an employer is permitted to offset a claimant’s pension benefits in accordance with a Collective Bargaining Agreement, or whether any offset must be taken in accordance with the Workers’ Compensation Act. Then, in Department of Public Welfare v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Harvey), the Court affirmed that an actuarially assumed rate of annual return on an employer’s contribution to a pension from the State Employees’ Retirement System is sufficient to meet an employer’s burden in a petition to review pension benefit offset when the actual rate of return cannot be determined.

Res Judicata Applies When Claimant Fails to Raise an Issue

That’s the holding of the Commonwealth Court in Weney v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Mac Sprinkler Systems, Inc.), in which the Court held that a review petition seeking to amend a Notice of Compensation Payable is barred by the doctrine of technical res judicata when the claimant was aware of the injuries during a prior review petition and failed to raise their work-relatedness during the prior proceeding. Of course, this case also likely means that an employer also waives issues raised in a proceeding when it knew of the matters during an earlier proceeding.