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The claimant's employment is principally localized in Pennsylvania when evidence is presented that the claimant spent a substantial part of his work time in the Commonwealth.

January 1, 2011
John D. Williams v. WCAB (POHL Transportation); 2422 C.D. 2009; filed July 29, 2010; by Senior Judge Flaherty

The claimant was a truck driver who was injured in an accident that occurred in Vermont. The claimant received workers' compensation benefits in the state of Ohio. However, the claimant filed a claim petition requesting benefits under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. The workers' compensation judge granted the claim petition and awarded benefits, concluding that the claimant's employment was "principally localized" in Pennsylvania in that he was domiciled in Pennsylvania and a substantial part of his work was conducted in the Commonwealth. The workers' compensation judge noted that the claimant was permitted to begin and end trips at his home in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and that trip logs showed that over one-third of the miles traveled by the claimant were within Pennsylvania, and that he did not regularly work at or from the employer's Ohio terminal. The Workers' Compensation Appeal Board reversed the workers' compensation judge's decision. However, the Commonwealth Court reversed the Appeal Board. The court concluded that under section 305.2 (d) (4) (iii) of the Act, the claimant's employment was principally localized in Pennsylvania. That sub-section provides that a claimant's employment is principally localized within the state if he establishes he is domiciled in Pennsylvania and spends a substantial part of his work time in the service of the employer in this Commonwealth. According to the court, the evidence showed that 38 percent of the claimant's work time was spent in Pennsylvania, 32 percent in Ohio, and 30 percent spent driving in 19 other states. In the court's view, this breakdown revealed that the claimant spent the largest portion of his time driving in Pennsylvania.

Case Law Alert, 1st Qtr 2011

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Francis X. Wickersham
(610) 354-8263
G. Jay Habas
Managing Attorney, Erie, PA Office
(814) 480-7802

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