Thursday, September 24, 2009

An Entertaining Mediation Primer

Richard H. Ralston has compiled a list of thirty things to say in mediation. It is kind of a list of things not to say, or most accurately, a list of things you will hear yourself say and wish you hadn't.

I have heard all but a few of these. I have not heard Statement #5 "They are not negotiating in good faith." Not saying this about a colleague and knowing it won't be said about you is one of the reasons we practice workers' compensation law in Pennsylvania. Statement #4 "They are not being realistic." is the way we say it, and we mean they are just missing something.

Take note of Statement #12 "That's the most we're going to pay.", Statement #25 "Let's just cut to the chase, quit playing games and make our best offer." and Statement #26 "This is my final offer [or demand]." None of these connote a legitimate settlement number.

When you make these and any of the statements in the top twenty, you have deviated from a reasoned analysis of the issues of the case.

Statement 22, 27, 28, and 29 deal with arguing the case. When the parties in mediation discuss risk it must be with an eye toward seeking agreement on the quantity of risk. Seeking to impose risk on a party is disenfranchising and counterproductive to a negotiated agreement.

The author suggests parties should refer to the comments by number to expedite these detours from productive mediation.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Commonwealth Announces G-20 Closings

A press release issued by the Governor's office gives all Pittsburgh state office closings for September 23-25. The release states:

The Workers' Compensation Office of Adjudication (WCOA) office will be closed. If an emergency arises relating to an Allegheny or Beaver County worker's compensation case, call the Johnstown office.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Facebook, MySpace, etc. Evidence

In a article, workers' compensation claims investigators recall their favorite stories of Claimants' Facebook and MySpace activities. The Claimants in these examples were caught in demonstrably inconsistent behavior.

More often than not Facebook and MySpace evidence amounts to character evidence which is not as helpful to the WCJ.

Claimants' counsel might recommend this site to their clients:

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Commonwealth Court Reaffirms Employer is Responsible to Maintain Orthopedic Appliances

In Equitable Resources v. WCAB (Thomas) the Employer provided modifications to a bathroom. A water leak damaged the bathroom and finished basement. The Commonwealth Court applied Zuback v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Paradise Valley Enterprise Lumber Company) 892 A.2d 41 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2006) to state the employer was responsible for repairs. The rule of Zuback is that the Employer is responsible to repair or replace orthopedic appliances that are subject to normal wear. Zuback Post