Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Commonwealth Court Affirms WCJ Authority Over Credibility and Awards Atty Fees

Newcomer Products, et al. v. WCAB (Irvin) is a hearing loss case where the Claimant established a prima facie case, and the Employer put on a substantial defense with medical, industrial hygiene and supervisor testimony. The WCJ rejected the Employer's witnesses as not credible, and explained his reasons for doing so. The Employer's argument on appeal was that the WCJ capriciously disregarded competent evidence.

The Commonwealth Court went so far as to state it might not have agreed with the WCJ's reasoning, but held that the WCJ's reasoning is outside the Court's scope of review. Accordingly, the Court went on to hold that the Employer was only seeking review of the WCJ's credibility determinations, found the appeal was frivolous under Pa. R.A.P. 2744, and awarded attorney's fees of four hours at $150.00 per hour.

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