WORKERS’ COMPENSATION-IMMUNITY-CHILDREN OF DECEDENT

June 10th, 2022 by Rieders Travis in Workers' Compensation

Samantha Riemenschneider v. D. Sabatelli, Inc., 2022 Pa. Super. LEXIS 253 (June 7, 2022) (McLaughlin, J.)  David Scott Macleary was killed when the brakes failed on a dump truck he was operating and it began to roll.  He was within the course and scope of his employment.  A lawsuit was brought by his family, and it was dismissed based upon the exclusivity provision of the Workers’ Compensation Act.  Riemenschneider argued that she was within the class of individuals entitled to bring a claim under the Act.  The trial court determined that the exclusivity provision barred the suit and sustained POs.  The court relied upon Tooey v. AK Steel Corp., 81 A.3d 851 (2013).  Tooey held that injury that was outside the WCA’s statutory definition of a compensable injury could give rise to a suit in court.  Riemenschneider’s argument is that even though Macleary’s injury was compensable under the Workers’ Compensation Act, she ought to be allowed to bring suit in court because she is not among those claimants to whom the WCA provides benefits for that injury.  The WCA represents a legislative compromise under which employees injured in the course…

CONTRACTOR-SUBCONTRACTOR-WORKERS’ COMPENSATION IMMUNITY

May 2nd, 2022 by Rieders Travis in Workers' Compensation

Dobransky v. EQT Prod. Co., 2022 Pa. Super. LEXIS 158 (April 11, 2022) (Bender, P.J.E.)  Appellant, Eric Dobransky, appeals from the trial court's May 22, 2019 order granting summary judgment in favor of Appellees, EQT Production Company ("EQT") and Halliburton Energy Services, Inc. ("HESI") (referred to herein collectively as "Appellees"). After careful review, we vacate the trial court's order and remand. In addition, we deny Appellees' application to strike and preclude argument. The matter before us concerns whether HESI — and by extension, EQT — qualify as statutory employers under the Workers' Compensation Act ("WCA" or "the Act") and, as such, enjoy immunity from tort liability for injuries suffered by Mr. Dobransky.  By way of background, under the WCA, employers must pay workers' compensation benefits, regardless of negligence, to employees who sustain injuries in the course of their employment. See 77 P.S. § 431. In exchange for receiving these benefits without having to prove negligence, employees may not sue their employers in tort for injuries they incurred in the course of their employment. See 77 P.S. § 481(a). In other words, with respect to work-related injuries, the employers have immunity…

Workers’ Compensation

July 23rd, 2019 by Rieders Travis in Workers' Compensation

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION-IMMUNITY-SUBCONTRACTORS Coleman v. Chief Oil & Gas, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 48022 (M.D. Pa. March 17, 2022) (Brann, D.J.).  Chief gas drilling company hired pressure pumping and Coleman to perform work at a fracking site.  Coleman was seriously injured.  The work done was a regular part of Chief’s business.  Coleman and Western failed to produce evidence that the work was not a regular or recurrent part of Chief’s business.  There is no genuine factual dispute that Chief contracted with Universal to have work performed that is part of its regular work.  Therefore, Chief was immune from tort claims as a contractor.  This is based upon Workers’ Compensation Act immunity, 302(a). WORKERS’ COMPENSATION-INTERVENTION-STATUTORY LIEN Loftus v. Decker, 2022 Pa. Super. LEXIS 112 (March 10, 2022) (Pellegrini, J.).  Eastern Alliance Insurance Group, a workers’ compensation carrier, appealed from a Common Pleas decision denying its petition to intervene in an action commenced by a praecipe for writ of summons filed by Michele Loftus and her husband against Katrina Decker.  It sought to intervene and file a complaint on behalf of Loftus to seek damages out of which it could satisfy a statutory…

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION-SUBROGATION-DISABILITY BENEFITS AND MEDICAL EXPENSES

July 3rd, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Workers' Compensation

Whitmoyer v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board, 2018 Pa. LEXIS 2995 (June 19, 2018) Donohue, J.  The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act (“WCA”) makes an employer liable for paying the disability benefits and medical expenses of an employee who sustains an injury in the course of his or her employment. See 77 P.S. §§ 431 (disability), 531 (medical). This liability attaches without regard to the employer’s negligence. See id; see also Heckendorn v. Consolidated Rail Corp., 465 A.2d 609, 613 (Pa. 1983). Under section 319 of the WCA, however, employers (or their insurance carriers) are “subrogated to the right of the employe” and therefore entitled to reimbursement for certain expenses where a third party caused the employee’s injury. 77 P.S. § 671. The instant matter addresses a specific question about the scope of this reimbursement. Section 319 of the WCA provides, in pertinent part:  Any recovery against such third person in excess of the compensation theretofore paid by the employer shall be paid forthwith to the employe, his personal representative, his estate or his dependents, and shall be treated as an advance payment by the employer on account of any future instalments…