The Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) has posted an “Action Alert”.

Date: September 28, 2006

The Senate is about to begin full consideration of House Bill 2738, a Workers’ Compensation reform bill.  The Pennsylvania Bar Association generally stands in support of this legislation.  There are, however, two very troubling developments with the bill that have broader ramifications than workers’ compensation.

First, the original legislation proposed the professionalization of the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board.  It would have required standards for Appeal Board members that are consistent with the existing requirements for Workers’ Compensation Judges: being an attorney in good standing before the Supreme Court, five years of Workers’ Compensation practice before administrative agencies or equivalent experience, and annual continuing professional development requirements.  Workers’ Compensation adjudication involves making sophisticated evidentiary rulings, reviewing fact patterns in light of an increasingly complex statutory scheme and understanding of an ever-growing body of complex case law. It is unconscionable that a non-attorney can be responsible for reviewing a decision of a judge who is an attorney and meets certain standards. Second, HB 2738 has been amended to eliminate the salary correction for Workers’ Compensation judges that would bring them to a level of compensation comparable to other administrative law judges.  The elimination of this salary parity provision is a political response to the Court’s pay raise decision, despite the fact that this Worker’s Compensation issue is wholly unrelated to the controversy of judicial pay.  There is no defensible reason to punish a small group of Worker’s Compensation judges in a Worker’s Compensation measure that is completely separate from the judicial pay political issue.  Such action serves no useful purpose, even to inform. We ask you to write to your Senator.  Request that the professional requirements for the Worker’s Compensation Board of Appeals and that simple pay parity for the small class of Workers’ Compensation Judges be reinserted in HB 2738–issues of integrity and professionalism for Pennsylvania’s Worker’s Compensation system and the legal profession, generally. We have made it easy to communicate – go to the PBA’s Legislative Action Center (click here) and compose a Message to Your Legislator on Workers’ Compensation Reform (click on Write Your Legislators).  Complete your Contact Information, and the Legislative Action Center will help you through an easy step-by-step process to edit, and send an e-mail message or download a letter for mailing.  The site has bullet points and a sample letter for you to personalize. Please try to personalize the form message before you send the e-mail or letter. If you choose, you may Compose Your Own Message, using the bullet point arguments noted above, (by clicking on Write Your Legislators under the Compose Your Own Message heading).

Attorney Tom Cummings

Joe Price
Attorney Joe Price is a seasoned Trial Lawyer serving Northeast, Central and Southeast Pennsylvania for the past forty (40) years. He has handled serious personal injury cases in courts throughout the Federal system including New Jersey and New York. Attorney Price is A.V. Rated by Martindale Hubble. He is Board Certified in Civil Practice by the National Board of Trial Advocacy since 1996.