Reported Cases

City of McKeesport v. WCAB (Miletti), 746 A.2d 87 (Pa. Supreme Ct., 2000)
Considered a landmark case. A firefighter died due to lung disease caused by exposures to irritants, heat, and toxins to which he was exposed on his job. The City refused to acknowledge his widow’s entitlement to weekly survival benefits. A claim petition was granted by the Worker’s Compensation Judge and affirmed by the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board. The City appealed the decision to the Commonwealth Court. The entire Commonwealth court reversed, determining that the firefighter’s widow was not entitled to benefits. The Court interpreted a provision of the Workers’ Compensation Act that extinguished a claim for survivor benefits if certain time limits were not met. As the firefighter had died more than 300 weeks after he worked as a firefighter and had not established a claim to benefits during his life time, the Court determined that the widow was not entitled to the survivor benefits.
Attorney Klein petitioned the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to hear the case, and the petition was granted. The Supreme Court then reversed the decision of the Commonwealth Court and granted the widow weekly survival benefits. The Supreme Court held that so long as it was established that the firefighter became disabled due to the occupational lung disease within 300 weeks of his last exposures on the job, the widow was entitled to benefits despite the fact that her husband had not established a life-time claim.

Crenshaw v. WCAB (Hussey Copper),. 645 A.2d 957 (Pa. Commonwealth Court, 1994)
The claimant worked as a laborer at a metal recycling foundry for many years. He then became disabled due to a degenerative back condition that his physician believed was caused by several years of performing heavy labor. The Workers’ Compensation Judge denied benefits, as the claimant had not experienced a specific injury at a specific time. The Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board affirmed the denial of benefits. Attorney Klein appealed the decision to the Commonwealth Court, which determined that the Judge had misapprehended the facts as applied to the law in denying benefits for cumulative trauma. The Court remanded the case to the Judge for a new decision. Another Judge then granted claimant benefits.

Signorini v. WCAB (United Parcel Service), Pa. Cmwlth, 664 A.2d 672 (1995)
The claimant suffered an injury on the job that had disabled him from performing his time-of-injury job. The claimant had returned to his regular job and was terminated for sufficient cause. The claimant filed a petition to reinstate benefits, as his physicians believed he was disabled again from performing his regular job. The Judge denied benefits which was affirmed by the Appeal Board. Claimant appealed to the Commonwealth Court, which reversed the denial of benefits. The Court held that even though he was terminated from the job, he was entitled to benefits.

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