Sunday, February 13, 2005

Commonwealth Employee Injured on the Job Cannot Sue Another Agency of the Commonwealth

In Kincel v. Comm. of PA, DOT, et al. the Commonwealth Court ruled on an issue of first impression -- whether an injured employee of the Commonwealth could sue a Commonwealth agency other than his employing agency for an injury sustained on the job.

The case involved a Pennsylvania State Police officer that was injured by a hazardous condition on a highway when he was investigating an accident. The trial court dismissed PennDOT's motion for summary judgment on the basis that PennDOT and the State Police are separate agencies of the Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth Court reversed and granted PennDOT's motion for summary judgment. The Court distinguished the exclusive remedy of the Workers' Compensation Act from other statutes or doctrines in which agencies of the Commonwealth can be treated differently. The Court said the Claimant's employer is clearly the Commonwealth, and it and all of its agencies are immune from suit.

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