Judge rules against Berks County mushroom worker.
In a case of relative first impression in Pennsylvania, we successfully defended a mushroom harvesting company. The claimant sustained a work-related injury to the right shoulder. She underwent surgery and was released to modified duty. The employer offered her a modified job. The claimant returned to work and continued at restricted duty. She was ultimately found to be fully recovered by a renowned Philadelphia shoulder surgeon. The defense then filed a termination petition, alleging full recovery of the right shoulder. The claimant responded by filing a claim petition, alleging a new injury to the opposite shoulder that totally disabled her from employment. After cross examining the claimant, it was determined that she purposely exceeded her work release restrictions upon return to work, despite the employer’s directive to the contrary. The claimant alleged that her voluntary acts exceeding her restrictions caused her new injury. The judge ruled that the claimant was not in the course and scope of employment when she exceeded her restrictions, and that the alleged injuries to her left shoulder were degenerative, not work-related. The judge also found the claimant to be fully recovered from the previously accepted right shoulder injury.