Sunday, December 31, 2006

Three Supreme Court Cases

The Supreme Court held in Pitt Ohio Express v. WCAB (Wolff) that a job the Claimant rejects in bad faith remains available in perpetuity (unless the facts of the original job offer show otherwise).

The Claimant's benefits were suspended based on his rejection of a modified duty job with the Employer. Benefits were then reinstated after surgery. The Employer filed a subsequent Petition for Suspension alleging the Claimant recovered to the point where he could have performed the modified duty job. The job was not available. The WCJ suspended, the WCAB reversed, and the Commonwealth Court reversed the WCAB.

The Supreme Court stated the Claimant's earning power was adversely affected through fault of his own. Under these circumstances, the Employer does not have the burden to show job availability.

The Supreme Court addressed a fact specific course of employment case in Brookhaven Baptist Church v. WCAB (Halvorson)

The Court also affirmed per curiam the Commonwealth Court decision in Motor Coils MFG/WABTEC, v. WCAB (Bish). The Court did not disturb the Kachinski analysis applied to a post Act 57 modified job offer with the Employer, including the requirement that the job be within reasonable commuting distance of the Claimant.

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