§ 131.52. First hearing procedures.

 (a)  The purpose of this chapter is to provide a fair and prompt hearing process, to allow all parties to introduce appropriate evidence and to receive a timely decision from the judge. When practicable and appropriate, the entire record relating to any petition shall be completed at the initial hearing, recognizing that the hearing process may differ based upon several variables including geographic location, number of parties involved, case volume and availability of experts for testimony.

 (b)  The hearing process chosen in any specific case, including a determination of whether testimony will be accepted at the initial hearing, is within the discretion of the judge. At or before the initial hearing by written order or on the record, the judge shall establish:

   (1)  Specific deadlines for the presentation of evidence by the parties.

   (2)  Dates for future hearings.

   (3)  Specific date and time for the mediation conference unless, for good cause shown, the judge determines at the first hearing or subsequently that mediation would be futile.

   (4)  Dates for setting any medical examinations to be scheduled consistent with §  131.53(g) (relating to procedures subsequent to the first hearing).

 (c)  The moving party, at the first hearing, shall advise the judge and opposing parties of the following:

   (1)  Allegations and issues of fact and law involved in the moving party’s petition.

   (2)  Proposed amendments to pleadings.

   (3)  Stipulations of fact.

   (4)  Names, addresses and method of presentation of witnesses.

   (5)  Whether the items and information specified in §  131.61(a) (relating to exchange of information), which are intended to be used as evidence or exhibits, have been provided to the responding party at or before the first hearing.

   (6)  Dates of depositions.

   (7)  Estimate of hearing time.

   (8)  Other subjects which may aid in the disposition of the proceeding.

 (d)  The moving party, at the first hearing, unless otherwise directed by the judge, shall offer and have marked for identification available exhibits of the moving party.

 (e)  The parties shall identify and provide, if not otherwise electronically available to the judge, all documents required by law to be filed with the Department and which are relevant to issues in dispute with the same injury date and pertaining to the same claim. The judge will place those documents in evidence along with any other documents required to be filed by law with the Department or prior judges and which the judge deems relevant to the proceeding. The judge and the employee may not introduce the First Report of Injury into evidence.

 (f)  Evidence furnished under this section does not become part of the record, unless otherwise admissible.

 (g)  Unless otherwise ordered by the judge, the moving party shall present testimony.

 (h)  Subsections (a)—(g) supersede 1 Pa. Code § §  35.123, 35.125—35.128, 35.155, 35.164 and 35.169.


   The provisions of this §  131.52 amended under sections 401.1, 435(a) and (c) and 1608 of the Workers’ Compensation Act (77 P.S. § §  710, 991(a) and (c) and 2708); section 2205 of The Administrative Code of 1929 (71 P.S. §  565); and section 414 of The Pennsylvania Occupational Disease Act (77 P.S. §  1514).


   The provisions of this §  131.52 adopted March 29, 1991, effective March 30, 1991, 21 Pa.B. 1401; amended December 6, 2002, effective December 7, 2002, 32 Pa.B. 6043; amended October 16, 2009, effective October 17, 2009, 39 Pa.B. 6038; amended December 19, 2014, effective December 20, 2014, 44 Pa.B. 7837. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (345995) to (345997).

Notes of Decisions

   Failure to Move or Admit

   Where the record is devoid of any indication that a surveillance video was offered or admitted into evidence, it cannot be used as the basis for the workers’ compensation judge’s decision. Kimberly Clark Corp. v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board, 790 A.2d 1072 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2002).


   Where the employer failed to file its answer to the claim petition in a timely manner, the matter was properly considered a noncontested proceeding and there was no need for claimant to move the admission of the claim petition. William J. Donovan Sheet Metal v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board, 789 A.2d 344 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2001); appeal denied 800 A.2d 936 (Pa. 2002).

Cross References

   This section cited in 34 Pa. Code §  131.53 (relating to procedures subsequent to the first hearing).

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