Special Alert—COVID-19 and Workers’ Compensation Litigation Update for Pennsylvania

Immediately after Governor Wolf ordered the COVID-19 quarantine in March, workers’ compensation hearings and mediations scheduled for the remainder of the month were promptly canceled. Uncertainty reigned as practitioners wondered if and when cases would be rescheduled. In April, there was more clarity as judges began conducting hearings and mediations telephonically. For the foreseeable future, the plan is to continue holding hearings and mediations remotely, including via Skype or Webex, especially when testimony from a witness is being presented. This is subject to change as restrictions are lifted throughout the state. We will advise you of any policy revisions made by the Office of Adjudication.

As for appeals, the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board remains operational but is not hearing oral argument. After the quarantine was imposed, the Board announced that oral argument hearings were canceled and cases would be decided on briefs only, unless a party specifically requested a hearing for a future date. Briefing schedules were maintained, and it was expected that they would be followed, unless a proper request for an extension was filed. For now, the Board’s policy on appeals remains in effect.


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