What’s Hot in Workers’ Comp, Vol. 25, No. 5, May 2021

What's Hot In Workers' Comp - News and Results*


Please join us in welcoming shareholder Michael Sebastian to the firm in our Scranton office. Michael brings more than 20 years of experience in defending employers, insurance carriers and third-party administrators in workers’ compensation claims, working together with his clients to achieve their desired result. Michael can be reached at (570) 496-4601 or masebastian@mdwcg.com.

Michele Punturi (Philadelphia) and Judd Woytek (Allentown) presented “Workers’ Compensation Spring Fling” to staff at Everest Insurance. Topics included an in-depth review of the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation LIBC Forms and a discussion on recent case law.

Michele Punturi (Philadelphia) is speaking at the 2021 CLM Worker’s Compensation and Retail, Restaurant & Hospitality Conference to be held virtually on May 12-14. In “Changing the Employee Safety and Wellness Mindset to Reduce Workers’ Compensation Costs and Avoid Liability,” Michele is part of a panel discussion that will focus on changing the claims management mindset surrounding employee safety and wellness to drive down workers’ compensation costs and avoid liability exposure. Today’s litigious environment, particularly considering COVID-19, calls for an innovative approach that might include self-reporting programs and dedicated medical case management teams to help employers spot issues before they become costly claims. For more information, click here.



Estelle Kokales McGrath (Pittsburgh) and Audrey Copeland (King of Prussia) won an appeal on behalf of a newspaper before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which denied the claimant’s petition for allowance of appeal on March 30, 2021. The claimant, a newspaper delivery person, filed a claim petition in 2018 alleging that he suffered serious injuries to his right leg after slipping and falling on ice when he was delivering newspapers. The newspaper asserted that the claimant was an independent contractor. The case was bifurcated to determine whether the claimant was an employee. After fully litigating the issue, the judge found in favor of the newspaper and found that the case was not so different than the seminal case of Johnson v. WCAB (DuBois Courier Express), 631 A.2d 693 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1993), where the court held that a thirteen-year-old newspaper carrier was an independent contractor because the newspaper did not exercise substantial control over his activities.

The claimant appealed to the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board. After hearing argument and reviewing the parties’ briefs, the Board affirmed the judge’s decision and order. The claimant appealed to the Commonwealth Court, urging the court to consider the evolving nature of the newspaper delivery business in rendering its decision. The court refused to do so and highlighted the lack of control by the newspaper because there was no prohibition on delivering competing newspapers or enlisting a substitute without prior notice or permission. The claimant’s suit ended when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied the petition for allowance of appeal.

*Prior Results Do Not Guarantee A Similar Outcome


What’s Hot in Workers’ Comp is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent legal developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide legal advice for a specific situation or to create an attorney-client relationship. We would be pleased to provide such legal assistance as you require on these and other subjects when called upon. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING pursuant to New York RPC 7.1 Copyright © 2021 Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, all rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reprinted without the express written permission of our firm. For reprints or inquiries, or if you wish to be removed from this mailing list, contact tamontemuro@mdwcg.com.