Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Commonwealth Court Holds Parties Can't Look Behind The Last Supplemental Agreement

In Sharon Tube Company v. WCAB (Buzard) the Commonwealth Court restated the principle that the parties cannot look behind the last Supplemental Agreement when requesting relief from the WCJ. The Claimant attempted to return to work, but then went off again. The Employer issued a Supplemental Agreement reinstating temporary total disability benefits. The Supplemental Agreement did not provide for a reservation of the employer’s right to file a modification petition based on the Claimant’s return to work.

The Employer later filed the modification petition. The WCJ denied the Claimant’s motion to dismiss based on the admission of total disability in the Supplemental Agreement. The WCJ found the Employer’s testimony credible and granted modification.

The Board reversed, and the Court affirmed the Board. The basis was that only the last agreement of the parties could be reviewed. Because the Employer did not produce evidence of a medical release and available work after the date of the Supplemental Agreement, no modification could be awarded.

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