Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Commonwealth Court Affirms Board Order Quadrupling Disfigurement Award

In General Motors Corp. v. WCAB (McHugh) The Board explained a disfigurement case almost in the manner the Court asked the Board to do in Lord & Taylor v. WCAB (Bufford) November 7, 2003 post. The Court affirmed the Board's modification of a disfigurement award from fifteen (15) to fifty-five (55) weeks.

The specifics: 3/4 in. scar right nostril -- WCJ 6 weeks, Board 15 to 25 weeks, awarded 20; 1/2 in scar right eyebrow -- WCJ 7 weeks, Board 3 to 5 weeks, awarded 5; "de mimimus" (per WCJ) deviation of bridge of nose to the left -- WCJ 2 weeks, Board 25 to 35, awarded 30.

The element of Lord & Taylor that the Court did not require in the instant case was the requirement that the Board explain how it arrived at the range most WCJ's would select. The Court declined to offer any guidance itself, recognizing this is within the province of the legislature. The Court also again stated the "rule of thumb" of ten weeks per linear inch has no precedential value. The Court indicated it would affirm the Board's determination of "acceptable" awards to pursue uniformity.

No comments: