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Conferring jurisdiction to Pennsylvania authorities under the Act for injury occurring in New Jersey.

April 1, 2019
Zachary Kreschollek v. WCAB (Commodore Maintenance Corp); 297 C.D. 2018; filed Jan. 7, 2019; by Judge McCullough

The employer was a subcontractor for the Delaware River Port Authority. The claimant, a Philadelphia resident, was hired out of his local union hall. On the date of the injury, the claimant had been working on both the Pennsylvania and New Jersey sides of the bridge. While working on the ground underneath the PATCO rail line on the New Jersey side, the claimant was injured. The employer accepted a New Jersey workers’ compensation claim and paid benefits to the claimant under New Jersey law. Later, the claimant filed a claim petition in Pennsylvania. The employer raised a jurisdictional defense since the claimant was injured in New Jersey, not Pennsylvania.

On appeal to the Commonwealth Court, the claimant argued that both Pennsylvania and New Jersey jointly owned the bridge as well as adjacent land and structures. Therefore, any injury on the joint territory occurs in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The court analyzed the joint compact entered into between Pennsylvania and New Jersey and noted that it did not make any reference to jurisdiction for purposes of workers’ compensation claims, let alone confer jurisdiction to Pennsylvania authorities under the Act for injuries occurring in New Jersey. According to the court, the claimant’s injury simply did not occur in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Therefore, under § 101 of the Act, the claim was not compensable. In addition, the court said that the § 305.2 extraterritorial provisions of the Act did not apply. The court affirmed the decisions below and dismissed the claimant’s appeal.

 

Case Law Alerts, 2nd Quarter, April 2019

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