Subchapter A. GENERAL PROVISIONS


Sec.


131.1.    Purpose.
131.2.    Scope.
131.3.    Waiver and modification of rules.
131.4.    Applicability of General Rules of Administrative Practice and Procedure.
131.5.    Definitions.

§ 131.1. Purpose.

 (a)  The purpose of this chapter is to promote, consistent with fairness and due process, the orderly and expeditious determination of proceedings before judges under the act and the Disease Law to implement the remedial intent of the act and the Disease Law.

 (b)  Subsection (a) supersedes 1 Pa. Code §  31.2 (relating to liberal construction).

Authority

   The provisions of this §  131.1 amended under sections 401.1 and 435(a) and (c) of the Workers’ Compensation Act (77 P. S. § §  710 and 991(a) and (c)); 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).

Source

   The provisions of this §  131.1 adopted November 6, 1981, effective November 7, 1981, 11 Pa.B. 4015; amended March 29, 1991, effective March 30, 1991, 21 Pa.B. 1401; amended December 6, 2002, effective December 7, 2002, 32 Pa.B. 6043. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (207535).

§ 131.2. Scope.

 (a)  This chapter applies to proceedings before judges under the act and the Disease Law.

 (b)  Subsection (a) supersedes 1 Pa. Code §  31.1 (relating to scope of part).

Authority

   The provisions of this §  131.2 amended under sections 401.1 and 435(a) and (c) of the Workers’ Compensation Act (77 P. S. § §  710 and 991(a) and (c)); 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).

Source

   The provisions of this §  131.2 adopted November 6, 1981, effective November 7, 1981, 11 Pa.B. 4015; amended March 29, 1991, effective March 30, 1991, 21 Pa.B. 1401; amended December 6, 2002, effective December 7, 2002, 32 Pa.B. 6043. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (207535) to (207536).

§ 131.3. Waiver and modification of rules.

 (a)  The judge may, for good cause, waive or modify a provision of this chapter, except as otherwise provided in § §  131.59b(a) and 131.202 (relating to mandatory mediation; and first hearing information and stay), upon motion of a party, agreement of all parties or upon the judge’s own motion.

 (b)  Subsection (a) supersedes 1 Pa. Code § §  33.61, 35.18, 35.54 and 35.55 and also supersedes 1 Pa. Code Chapter 35, Subchapter D (relating to motions).

Authority

   The provisions of this §  131.3 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).

Source

   The provisions of this §  131.3 adopted November 6, 1981, effective November 7, 1981, 11 Pa.B. 4015; amended 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 (345972) to (345973).

Notes of Decisions

   Waiver Appropriate

   Employer does not argue how the late submission of the medical bills violated its due process rights or the notion of fair play. Employer’s argument addresses only that such submission was a clear violation of the Special Rules of Administrative Practice and Procedure Before Referees. A review of the introduced bills, which the referee permitted to be submitted into evidence reveals that they are, indeed, causally connected to the work injury and are reasonable and necessary. Since the referee has the discretion to waive the requirements of the special rules and employer has not shown any prejudice as a result, the referee did not err in permitting the introduction into evidence of those bills which were causally related to claimant’s work injury and were reasonable and necessary. Nevin Trucking v. Workmen’s Comp. Appeal Bd., 667 A.2d 262 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1995).

   Waiver of Rules

   Workers’ compensation claimant was not entitled to depose additional rebuttal expert in workers’ compensation proceeding, where claimant made deposition request approximately 1 week prior to scheduled close of record, employer objected to deposition, claimant had already deposed employer’s medical expert, and claimant had already deposed one rebuttal expert. Swigart v. W.C.A.B. (City of Williamsport), 131 A.3d 117 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2015).

   Because parties act in reliance of various time limitations in the rules, it was error to retroactively modify the time requests of §  131.65 (relating to objections to taking of oral depositions) without agreement of all parties. Plaugher v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board, 814 A.2d 1278 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2003).

   Although §  134.3 permits a workers’ compensation judge to waive or modify rules, the court looks with disfavor on oral amendment at the hearing to introduce new issues in special supersedeas cases. Hinkle v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board, 808 A.2d 1036 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2002), appeal denied 827 A.2d 1203 (Pa. 2003).

Cross References

   This section cited in 34 Pa. Code §  131.53a (relating to consolidated hearing procedure); 34 Pa. Code §  131.59b (relating to manadatory mediation); and 34 Pa. Code §  131.202 (relating to first hearing information and stay).

§ 131.4. Applicability of General Rules of Administrative Practice and Procedure.

 (a)  This chapter is intended to supersede 1 Pa. Code Part II (relating to General Rules of Administrative Practice and Procedure). The General Rules of Administrative Practice and Procedure are not applicable to activities of and proceedings before judges.

 (b)  Subsection (a) supersedes 1 Pa. Code §  31.4 (relating to information and special instructions).

Authority

   The provisions of this §  131.4 amended under sections 401.1 and 435(a) and (c) of the Workers’ Compensation Act (77 P.S. § §  710 and 991(a) and (c)); 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).

Source

   The provisions of this §  131.4 adopted November 6, 1981, effective November 7, 1981, 11 Pa.B. 4015; amended March 29, 1991, effective March 30, 1991, 21 Pa.B. 1401; amended December 6, 2002, effective December 7, 2002, 32 Pa.B. 6043. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (207536) and (289731) to (289732).

Notes of Decisions

   ‘‘Of Record’’

   Although there is no requirement that hearings be transcribed, they are still ‘‘of record,’’ and it is error to consider evidence for which there is no indication on the record that it was offered or admitted. Kimberly Clark Corp. v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Bullard), 790 A.2d 1072 (Pa. Cmwlth 2001).

§ 131.5. Definitions.

 (a)  The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

   Act—The Workers’ Compensation Act (77 P.S. § §  1—1041.4 and 2501—2708).

   Additional defendant—An insurance carrier, the Commonwealth or an employer, other than the insurance carrier or employer against which the original petition was filed, joined under this chapter, not including the Uninsured Employers Guaranty Fund.

   Adjudicating judge—A judge assigned to hold hearings and issue decisions relating to a petition or petitions.

   Board—The Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board.

   Challenge proceeding—A proceeding governed by §  131.50a (relating to employee request for special supersedeas hearing under section 413(c) and (d) of the act).

   Claim petition—A petition filed with the Department under section 410 of the act (77 P.S. §  751).

   Claimant—An individual who files a petition for, or otherwise receives, benefits under the act or the Disease Law.

   Defendant—An employer, insurance carrier and the Commonwealth, unless specifically designated individually, and the Uninsured Employers Guaranty Fund, except for purposes of joinder, penalties or assessment of counsel fees under section 440 of the act (77 P.S. §  996).

   Department—The Department of Labor and Industry of the Commonwealth.

   Department record—Official copies of documents received by the Department, on forms prescribed by the Department, if forms prescribed by the Department are available, or official copies of documents received by the Department on forms prepared by a party if forms prescribed by the Department are not available, which record transactions between the parties and which are determined by the judge to pertain to the case.

   Director of Adjudication—The individual specified in section 1402 of the act (77 P.S. §  2502).

   Disease Law—The Pennsylvania Occupational Disease Act (77 P.S. § §  1201—1603).

   Insurer—A workers’ compensation insurance carrier or self-insured employer, as applicable.

   Judge—A workers’ compensation judge assigned by the Office of Adjudication as provided in sections 401 and 401.1 of the act (77 P. S. § §  701 and 710) or assigned by the Office of Adjudication to determine a petition filed under the act or the Disease Law.

   Judge manager—A workers’ compensation judge with management responsibilities appointed under the Civil Service Act (71 P. S. § §  741.1—741.1005).

   Mandatory mediation—A mediation conducted by a mediating judge under §  131.59b (relating to mandatory mediation).

   Mediating judge—A judge assigned to mediate petitions in accordance with sections 401 and 401.1 of the act and this chapter.

   Mediation—A conference conducted by a judge, having as its purpose an attempt to reconcile any or all disputes under the act or this chapter existing between contending parties. Mediation can be either mandatory or voluntary.

   Office of Adjudication—The Office of the Department created under section 1401(a) of the act (77 P. S. §  2501(a)).

   Party—A claimant, defendant, employer, insurance carrier, additional defendant, health care provider and, if relevant, the Commonwealth and the Uninsured Employers Guaranty Fund. An act required or authorized by this chapter, to be done by or to a party, may be done by or to that party’s counsel of record.

   Penalty proceeding—A proceeding governed by section 435(d) of the act (77 P. S. §  991(d)).

   Records of work environment—Records and documents relating to work place health, safety, hazards and exposure, including records or documents which may be obtained under the Worker and Community Right-to-Know Act (35 P. S. § §  7301—7320) and 29 CFR 1901.1—1928.1027 (relating to Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Department of Labor).

   Resolution hearing—A procedure established by the Office of Adjudication with the sole purpose of providing a venue to present a compromise and release to a judge in an expedited fashion.

   Statement previously made—A written statement signed or otherwise adopted or approved by the persons making it, or a stenographic, mechanical, electrical, computer-generated or other recording, or transcription thereof, which is a substantially verbatim recital of an oral statement by the person making it and contemporaneously recorded. The term does not include statements made by parties which are protected by the attorney-client privilege or which are protected as the work product of counsel.

   Supersedeas—A temporary stay affecting a workers’ compensation case.

   UEGF—Uninsured Employers Guaranty Fund—The special fund established under Article XVI of the act (77 P. S. § §  2701—2708).

   UEGF claim petition—A petition filed with the Department under section 1604 of the act (77 P. S. §  2704)

   Voluntary mediation—A mediation conducted by a judge under §  131.59a (relating to voluntary mediation) upon the agreement of the contending parties and the judge.

   Writing—Includes electronic communications in a format as prescribed by the Department.

 (b)  Subsection (a) supersedes 1 Pa. Code § §  31.3 and 33.33 (relating to definitions; and effect of service upon an attorney).

Authority

   The provisions of this §  131.5 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).

Source

   The provisions of this §  131.5 adopted November 6, 1981, effective November 7, 1981, 11 Pa.B. 4015; amended 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 (345973) to (345976).

Notes of Decisions

   Application

   This regulation is substantive and will not be applied retroactively. Borman v. Workmen’s Compensation Appeal Board, 643 A.2d 780 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1994); appeal denied. Bechtel Constr. Co. v. Borman, 663 A.2d (Pa. 1995).

   Joinder

   A referee does not have jurisdiction to join an insurance agency in a workers’ compensation case. Additional defendants, joined by a referee, must be insurance carriers. Antimary v. Workmen’s Compensation Appeal Board, 655 A.2d 659 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1995).

   The referee did not commit error or an abuse of discretion in granting four continuances to an employer who encountered delay in submitting medical reports to its expert witness. Further, the petitioner failed to demonstrate that she had been prejudiced by the grant of the continuances. Kraushaar v. Workmen’s Compensation Appeal Board, 596 A.2d 1233 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1991); appeal denied 626 A.2d 1160 (Pa. 1992).

Cross References

   This section cited in 34 Pa. Code §  131.201 (relating to petitions).



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