Pennsylvania: Workers’ Compensation—Favorable Order in Case Involving Termination Petition

05/13/19

Rawle & Henderson LLP recently obtained a favorable Opinion and Order from the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania  which denied and dismissed a Claimant’s Petition for Review challenging a Workers’ Compensation Judge’s Decision which granted a Petition to Terminate compensation benefits and denied a Review Petition to expand the description of work injury.

The Commonwealth Court’s seven-page Opinion concluded that the Workers’ Compensation Judge did not commit any error of law in granting Employer’s Termination Petition which was based upon the credible and persuasive testimony of its medical expert, Dr. Steven Valentino, that Claimant was fully recovered from the work injury at the time of the independent medical examination.

On Appeal, Claimant had argued that Dr. Valentino’s testimony was incompetent as a matter of law.  In rejecting this appellate argument, the Commonwealth Court focused on Dr. Valentino’s testimony, noting that he based his opinion on his expertise as a practicing Board-Certified Orthopedic Surgeon and Fellowship-Trained Spine Surgeon, his thorough review of the numerous medical records and diagnostic studies and also on his review of surveillance video of Claimant.  The Commonwealth Court relied heavily on the two surveillance CD-ROMs which were viewed by Dr. Valentino and showed Claimant performing activities of daily living including driving, walking, shopping, and carrying grocery bags and packages without any visible sign of impairment or difficulty. 

As a result, the Commonwealth Court concluded that Dr. Valentino’s opinion was competent, credible and persuasive to support his full recovery medical opinion which formed the basis of the Workers’ Compensation Judge’s Decision granting the Termination Petition.