Rawle’s Reports

Rawle’s Reports: Snyder receives Law Alumni Award; WC Alert; Einstein Fundraiser; Quaker Classic

ST. JOSEPH’S UNIVERSITY LAW ALUMNI AWARD

Jack Snyder, a partner in the Philadelphia office of Rawle & Henderson LLP, received the Honorable Francis X. McClanaghan ’27 Award on November 23, 2015, from St. Joseph’s University at its annual Law Alumni Awards Dinner at the Union League in Philadelphia. The award is given to honor an alumnus for accomplishments in the field of law, as well as the distinction that the alumnus has brought to St. Joseph’s University throughout a distinguished career.  He was a scholar-athlete at St. Joseph’s University and the Captain of the basketball team in 1971.  He received a B.A. in Political Science from St. Joseph’s in 1971 and earned a J.D. from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law in 1975.

Jack Snyder (center) with his daughter, Stephanie Gahagan, and Dr. Francis Graham Lee, professor emeritus of political science and former pre-law advisor and director of the legal studies program at Saint Joseph’s University, at the Law Alumni Awards dinner. Snyder received the McClanaghan Law Alumni Award for his distinguished law career and his commitment to St. Joseph’s University. He was introduced at the award presentation by his daughter. Stephanie is also a St. Joseph’s alumnus and earned a J.D. from Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law.  (photo: Melissa Kelly Photography)

Jack is Chair of the Catastrophic Loss and Medical Professional Liability Sections at Rawle & Henderson LLP.   He focuses his practice on the defense of catastrophic losses, with particular emphasis on construction, industrial, pharmaceutical, medical malpractice and product liability matters. He is regularly retained in high exposure cases (demands commonly in  the $30 million to $80 million range), often weeks to several months before trial, to try a case to verdict. He successfully defended Ride The Ducks International in the maritime litigation arising out of the allision of a tug-driven barge and a tourist duck boat on the Delaware River in 2010. He is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates. For six years, Jack was a Hearing Committee member of the Disciplinary Board of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. He was also liaison counsel to the Medical Care Availability & Reduction of Error Fund (M-Care), formerly CAT Fund, on behalf of physicians in the Philadelphia Phen-Fen litigation. Jack is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. He has been rated AV by Martindale-Hubbell and has been selected as a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer every year since 2004.

Jack can be reached directly at: (215) 575-4220 • jsnyder@rawle.com

PENNSYLVANIA
Workers’ Compensation Alert: Decision Regarding Impairment Rating Evaluations


On September 18, 2015, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania issued a 4-3 decision in Protz v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Derry Area School District), which held that the use of the 5th and 6th Editions of the American Medical Association (AMA) Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment to determine an injured worker’s level of impairment under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act (PA WC Act) is an unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority. The Commonwealth Court decided that an Impairment Rating Evaluation (IRE) under Section 306(a.2) of the PA WC Act must utilize the 4th Edition of the AMA Guides which is the latest edition approved by the General Assembly. In summary, the Commonwealth Court held that IREs are unconstitutional if they are or were performed using any edition of the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment other than the 4th Edition.

By way of brief background, when the PA WC Act was amended in 1996 to include Section 306(a.2), the 4th Edition of the AMA Guides was in effect. Under Section 306(a.2) of the PA WC Act, an employer may request an employee to submit to an IRE in order to attempt to reduce future exposure to a period of 500 weeks of partial disability benefits. The Act provides that the degree of impairment shall be determined pursuant to the most recent edition of the American Medical Association Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment. Since that time, the AMA Guides have undergone changes and the most recent edition is the 6th Edition. The Commonwealth Court analyzed Article II, Section 1 of the Pennsylvania Constitution which vests legislative power in our General Assembly. The Court decided that the legislature cannot delegate legislative authority to a private party, the AMA, since the legislature would not review or approve each new edition of the AMA Guides. As such, the Court declared that Section 306(a.2) is unconstitutional.

The Commonwealth Court’s decision will impact any Petition to Modify compensation benefits pending before a workers’ compensation judge based on an IRE. A request should be issued to the IRE physician to provide an additional IRE Determination and rating utilizing the 4th Edition of the AMA Guides.

The decision will also impact any cases in which an IRE has been requested but not yet performed. In this situation, a request should be made to the IRE physician to confirm he/she is trained and certified to perform IREs under the 4th Edition of the AMA Guides. A specific request should also be made to the IRE physician to provide two (2) IRE ratings: one under the 4th Edition and one under the 6th Edition in the event Protz eventually gets reversed by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

Furthermore, the decision may also affect cases in which a claimant’s compensation benefit status has been changed from total disability to partial disability based upon IRE ratings issued under either the 5th Edition or 6th Edition of the AMA Guides. It is anticipated that claimant’s attorneys will most likely proceed with the filing of a Petition to Review or Petition to Reinstate or Petition to Modify compensation benefits to resume payment of total disability benefits.

Mary Ann Protz v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Derry Area School District), Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, No. 1024 C.D.2014. Decided September 18, 2015.

Zachary M. Rubinich, a partner in our Philadelphia office, focuses his practice on the defense of insurance carriers, self-insured entities and third-party administrators against workers’ compensation claims in Pennsylvania. Based on his extensive experience, the Pennsylvania Bar Association Workers’ Compensation Law Section has certified him as Specialist in the practice of workers’ compensation law. Zach has handled all aspects of litigation before workers’ compensation judges, the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board, the Commonwealth Court and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.  He routinely counsels employers, insurance carriers and third party administrators on claims management, workplace safety, return-to-work programs, employment practices and risk management. He was recently selected as a member of the American Bar Association’s Tort Trial and Insurance Practice (TIPS) Workers’ Compensation and Employers’ Liability Law Committee for 2014-2015. Zach is rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell. He has been selected as a Pennsylvania Rising Star by Super Lawyers from 2010 to 2014. He earned his J.D. degree from Widener University Commonwealth Law School and a B.A. degree in political science and government from Lycoming College.

Zach can be reached directly at: (215) 575-4340 • zrubinich@rawle.com

EINSTEIN HEALTHCARE FUNDRAISER

Rawle & Henderson LLP supported the Auxiliary of Einstein Healthcare Network’s 63rd Annual Harvest Ball on November 7, 2015. The event helped raise funds to benefit enhancements to emergency care throughout the Einstein network and was held at the Hyatt at the Bellevue in Philadelphia.  Rawle & Henderson LLP attorneys Patrice O’Brien, Mary Ann Capriotti, Michael G. Sabo, William C. McGovern and Arthur B. Keppel attended the Harvest Ball.

(L.-r.) William C. McGovern, Patrice O’Brien, Mary Ann Capriotti and Michael G. Sabo at the Auxiliary of Einstein Healthcare Network’s 63rd Annual Harvest Ball.

Patrice O’Brien (215-575-4222; pobrien@rawle.com) is an associate and has practiced as a civil trial lawyer for over 20 years in the areas of medical malpractice, products liability and environmental, toxic and mass torts.  Mary Ann Capriotti (215-575-4226; mcapriotti@rawle.com) is an associate and focuses her practice on the defense of catastrophic loss, personal injury, product liability cases, construction and industrial accidents, premises liability, motor vehicle cases and medical malpractice.  Michael G. Sabo (215-575-4229; msabo@rawle.com) is a partner and focuses his practice in the areas of catastrophic loss, medical malpractice, product liability, construction accidents, industrial accidents and general liability.  William C. McGovern (215-575-4236 ;  wmcgovern@rawle.com) is an associate and concentrates his practice in the areas of medical malpractice, nursing home liability, pharmaceutical and catastrophic injury cases, as well as appellate arguments.  Arthur B. Keppel (215-575-4256; akeppel@rawle.com) is an associate and focuses his practice on defending medical and nursing professional liability actions, pharmaceutical products liability actions, casualty and premises liability actions, and maritime matters including claims arising from cargo damage, and dock and pier damage, as well as claims for reimbursement from the National Pollution Funds Center under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, and maritime liens.

QUAKER CLASSIC MOCK TRIAL TOURNMENT

Rawle & Henderson partners Nigel A. Greene and Fred B. Buck sat as Judges at the University of Pennsylvania Law School’s 13th Annual Mock Trial Tournament, The Quaker Classic Invitational, on November 14, 2015. Students from different schools competed in four rounds of competition, during which their performance was assessed by the scoring judges. The Quaker Classic has grown to become one of the biggest collegiate mock trial tournaments in the country.

Nigel A. Greene served as an Assistant District Attorney in Philadelphia as a prosecutor in the Major Trials Unit, where he successfully tried numerous cases, including jury trials, involving major felonies. Now, Mr. Greene focuses his practice on the defense of commercial motor vehicle companies and their insurers, complex commercial litigation and casualty and premises liability matters. In addition, he serves as an arbitrator in Philadelphia County. He is admitted to practice in the state courts of Pennsylvania, the United States District Court for the Eastern and Middle Districts of Pennsylvania and the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Third Circuit. He received his law degree in 1994 from Georgetown University Law Center, where he was active in Moot Court competition. He achieved Quarterfinalist status in the Advocacy Competition. He earned his undergraduate degree in 1989 from the Virginia Polytechnic and State University.  Mr. Greene currently serves as Vice-Chair of the ABA Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) Commercial Transportation Litigation General Committee.

Nigel can be reached directly at: (215) 575-4278 • ngreene@rawle.com

Fred B. Buck, Chair of the firm’s Professional Liability Section, has been an active litigator and trial lawyer for over 30 years. He has represented clients in high exposure cases in many diverse areas of the law including general negligence, civil rights, product liability, professional liability, commercial motor vehicle, and construction site accidents. He has tried many jury and nonjury cases in the Courts of Common Pleas of Philadelphia, Berks, Bucks, Delaware, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Pike and York Counties as well as in the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Middle Districts of Pennsylvania.  He has argued appeals in the Pennsylvania Appellate Courts and in the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.  Fred is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates. He is an adjunct professor of law at the Villanova University School of Law.  He earned a J.D. from Temple University School of Law in 1980 and an A.B., cum laude, from Georgetown University in 1974.

Fred can be reached directly at: (215) 575-4317 • fbuck@rawle.com

 

  RRV19N12.pdf