Case Law Update | Byfield v. WCAB (Pa. Cmwlth. July 26, 2016) | PA Work Injury

July 26, 2016

Byfield v. Workers Compensation Appeal WCAB (Philadelphia Housing Authority) where the Court concluded the WCAB’s order that claimant is barred from recovering costs and attorney’s fees through a separate petition is final and cannot be collaterally attacked by a subsequently filed review petition.

 

Here, the WCJ granted employer’s petition and suspended claimant’s compensation benefits. Claimant appealed to WCAB seeking reversal of the WCJ’s decision and specifically requested interest and unreasonable contest attorney’s fees. WCAB reversed the WCJ’s decision; however, despite acknowledging claimant’s request for attorney’s fees, the request was not addressed in the opinion. Neither party appealed. Less than a month later, claimant filed a review petition, seeking litigation costs and attorney’s fees incurred during litigation of the suspension petition. A different WCJ concluded that claimant’s proper recourse would have been to appeal the WCAB’s order or request a rehearing. Because claimant did neither, he was barred from recovering those costs and attorney’s fees through a separate petition. Claimant appealed to the WCAB, which affirmed the WCJ’s order.  

 

The court concluded that claimant had standing to appeal the WCAB’s order. Although claimant prevailed before WCAB in his appeal of the suspension order, he only prevailed in part. The court explained that because WCAB did not address his request for costs and attorney’s fees, its order did not entitle him to receive payment for expenses he incurred in defending employer’s suspension petition.  As a result, and because an award of attorney’s fees is not automatic, claimant was adversely affected by the WCAB’s decision (i.e., he was aggrieved).  Claimant’s proper remedy was to request reconsideration by WCAB or file an appeal to the Commonwealth Court.  Claimant failed to do either. Consequently, the WCAB’s order is final and cannot be collaterally attacked by a subsequently filed review petition.

 

Link: http://www.pacourts.us/assets/opinions/Commonwealth/out/2002CD15_7-26-16.pdf?cb=1

 

Select an attorney

Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation

If you get hurt on the job, you’re entitled to compensation for your injuries. Our attorneys will help you file your claim successfully.
Learn More

Social Security Disability

If you have a medical condition and can not work, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. Contact us today for a FREE consultation.
Learn More

My Case Status for Existing Clients

All current clients have access to My Case Status. This website allows them access to check the status and progression of their case, update their information, securely send and receive medical and case-related documents, contact their legal team, and watch helpful videos.

Click here to access My Case Status.

Learn More