Rawle & Henderson Workers’ Compensation Partner, Zachary Rubinich, recently received a favorable Order from the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, which, concluded that neither the Workers’ Compensation Judge nor the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board committed an error of law in denying and dismissing a Claim Petition and a Penalty Petition.
The case involved a Claimant who alleged that a co-worker assaulted him on the employer’s job site while he was signing out from his shift. The Court affirmed the Judge’s rejection of Claimant’s testimony regarding the assault as neither credible nor persuasive. The Court also affirmed the Judge’s rejection of Claimant’s medical expert, who opined that Claimant sustained a compensable, disabling work-related injury due to the alleged assault. Further, the Court also affirmed the Judge’s acceptance of the testimony of three employer fact witnesses, who directly disputed Claimant’s testimony about the alleged assault, as being within the Judge’s discretion. The Court also held that Judge did not err in accepting the testimony of Defendant’s medical expert that the alleged incident was not disabling and in relying on the evidence showing that Claimant did not sustain a work injury, was not assaulted by his co-worker, failed to timely report the incident, continued to work in a heavy duty capacity for a lengthy period of time after the alleged incident and did not see a doctor until almost one year later. This was a significant victory for the employer precluding payment of any wage loss benefits, medical benefits, counsel fees, penalties and litigation costs.