Saturday, July 26, 2008

Statute of Limitations Waiver and Workers’ Compensation

A article reports many companies are using and enforcing a waiver limiting statutes of limitations for employment claims to six months. The waiver is executed in the job application. The article refers to employment discrimination claims. The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act provides parties can’t alter the provisions of the Act except in collective bargaining.

The impact would be that the claimant would have to pursue claims during the first six months of treatment and recovery from the work injury. Although claimants typically waive employment law claims for minimal or no consideration as part of a compromise and release, they certainly would receive no consideration if these claims are barred.

Article on Introductory Joint Session in Mediation

Mediator Robert A. Steinberg recently published an article on opening statements in mediation with several tips for parties to interact with each other in joint sessions. This is particularly valuable given the current discussion suggesting more joint sessions should occur in mediation.

I have been using more joint sessions as opposed to caucuses. All the parties and counsel can put their heads together on the issues discussed. I don’t have to repeat information that needs to be shared, and I don’t run the risk of miscommunication.

Joint sessions are less comfortable for the parties. This article will help counsel and the client to ease this discomfort.

Thanks to Phyllis G. Pollack via Featured Blogs for reproducing this article.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Commonwealth Court Remands in Serial Termination Case

In M. Prebish v. WCAB (DPW/Western Center) the Commonwealth Court accepted the Claimant's argument that the Employer must show a change of condition to prevail in a serial termination petition.

The Employer's expert opined the Claimant's injured right knee was not different than the left knee with findings of preexisting arthritis. In the prior decision, the WCJ found the Claimant's symptoms were primarily right sided. The Employer's expert also had the benefit of a new diagnostic study and additional medical records. The Employer's expert ultimately concluded the Claimant was fully recovered from a strain that occurred at the time of the injury.

The Court nevertheless stated the WCJ could make a finding the Claimant's condition did not change materially since the first WCJ's decision based on the record. The Court stated it is "abundantly clear" a finding that the Claimant's condition changed is required, citing Lewis v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Giles & Ransome, Inc.), 591 Pa. 490, 919 A.2d 922 (2007). The matter was remanded to the WCJ to make a determination on the existing record.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Mediation Practice Well Represented in Blogs

Mediators have the ambition and the aptitude to produce very useful blogs on the subject. One place to sample this information is at The World Directory of ADR Blogs. Another is’s Featured Blogs