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.

Commonwealth Court Upholds Denial of a Claim Petition for Violation of Employer Work Rule

In a case sure to be cited by employers, the Commonwealth Court ruled that a claimant was not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for violating an employer’s work rules. In Miller v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Millard Refrigerated Services and Sentry Claim Service), an employee was injured while operating a forklift even though he was not certified to do so, and was aware of the employer’s policy against using forklifts without proper certification. The Court affirmed the denial of the Claim Petition because (1) the employee knew of the rule, and (2) the activity was outside the scope of his employment.

July 2012 Edition
Volume VI
Number 6

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Statutory Employer Defense Applies Only When All Elements Are Established

If (1) a claimant is clearly designated as an independent contractor of a third party, (2) the third party is not in the same business as the claimant, and (3) the third party did not remove the claimant’s ability to choose the means and methods of completing work, the defendant in a third party claim is not entitled to immunity as a statutory employer under the Workers' Compensation Act. So ruled the Superior Court in Gillingham v. Consol Energy, Inc.

Business Owners May Exclude Themselves From Workers’ Compensation Coverage

In Wagner v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Anthony Wagner Auto Repairs & Sales, Inc.), the Commonwealth Court affirmed that an executive officer of a corporation may elect to be excluded from the company's workers' compensation insurance coverage by executing the appropriate forms.

Pension Offset Upheld Based Upon Actuarial Evidence

In Marnie v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Commonwealth of PA/Dept. of Attorney General), the Commonwealth Court affirmed that an employer's credited, actuarial testimony is legally sufficient to establish the extent to which employer funded a claimant's defined-benefit pension for purposes of establishing the entitlement to an offset to benefits.

Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Case Involving Filing Deadlines

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has agreed, in Cozzone v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (PA Municipal/East Goshen Township), to decide the following issues:

  • Whether the Commonwealth Court erred as a matter of law when it held that petitioner's petition to reinstate was barred by § 413 of the Workers' Compensation Act, 77 P.S. § 772, when he filed the petition within three (3) years from the last date of payment of compensation paid pursuant to a supplemental agreement, payments were ongoing when the petitioner filed the petition to reinstate, and East Goshen Township unilaterally ceased payments while the petition was pending?

  • Whether the Commonwealth Court committed an error of law when it held that East Goshen Township did not violate the Act and thereby denied petitioner's penalty petition when the Township unilaterally ceased payment of compensation on January 25, 2009 after it had entered into a supplemental agreement providing for payment of partial disability at the rate of $318.52 effective November 28, 2007 and there was no order of the WCJ or agreement of petitioner suspending payment?