• Commonwealth Court Orders Claimant's Counsel to Refund Unreasonable Contest Attorneys' Fees to Employer
  • January 30, 2017 | Author: Francis X. Wickersham
  • Law Firm: Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, P.C. - King Of Prussia Office
  • In this case, the employer was successful with a 2007 suspension petition concerning the claimant’s 1993 work-related shoulder injury. A Workers’ Compensation Judge granted the petition, but the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board later reversed that decision and awarded unreasonable contest counsel fees. The Board’s basis for the reversal was that the employer was barred by collateral estoppel from pursing a suspension in light of a prior 2004 decision denying an earlier suspension petition. The Board remanded the case for a determination as to the amount of fees. On remand, the judge awarded counsel fees, which the Board then affirmed on appeal, with a modification of the attorneys’ fee amount. The employer then appealed to the Commonwealth Court and requested supersedeas in connection with that appeal. This request was denied by the court. However, the court did reverse the Board’s decisions, concluding that the Board erred in reversing the suspension of the claimant’s benefits on the basis of collateral estoppel and that the Board erred in awarding counsel fees since the claimant was not the prevailing party.