eNotes: Workers’ Compensation – October 2022 – Pennsylvania
October 21, 2022
SIGNIFICANT CASE SUMMARIES
PA CASE SUMMARY
Wolfe v. Martellas Pharmacy (WCAB)
Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania
No. 432 C.D. 2021
Decided; August 31, 2022
Employers may subsequently litigate a termination petition by proving a change in a claimant’s condition, but the allegations in the termination petition may not contradict the admissions in the MO-NCP.
The claimant here argued that a previously-issued TNCP automatically converted to a full NCP, despite the employer having issued a subsequent and timely MO-NCP, because the employer failed to also issue a Notice of Stopping Temporary Compensation Payable (“NSTC”). The claimant next argued that the Court must deny the employer’s termination petition because the petition alleged claimant had fully recovered from the work injury as of a date that preceded the issuance of the MO-NCP.
The Court applied Raymour & Flanigan in holding in the employer’s favor. The MO-NCP satisfies Section 121.17(d)(1) by notifying the claimant that the employer will continue paying medical benefits, but not indemnity benefits. The TNCP thus did not convert to a full NCP and the MO-NCP became the controlling document. The Court then applied Butler in finding that the termination petition could be granted. The date of an MO-NCP does not preclude termination, suspension, or modification of benefits as of a date that predates the filing of an NCP. The question, rather is if the allegations in the termination petition “disavow or repudiate” any admission or agreement set forth in the MO-NCP. Here, the termination petition did not contradict the binding MO-NCP, as it did not “disavow or repudiate” the admission of a work injury occurring, but rather simply alleged full recovery from said work injury.
If you issue a timely MO-NCP, a previously-issued full TNCP will not convert to a full NCP. If you admit to a work injury in the MO-NCP (or in a NCP), you can still allege full recovery in a termination petition, as doing so does not disavow or repudiate the binding admission that a work injury occurred.
Questions about this case can be directed to Cailey Farinaro, Esq. at (610) 332-7008, or email@example.com.