The Pa. Commonwealth Court (our intermediary court here in Pennsylvania) has decided that the Rules of Civil Procedure do not apply to workers’ compensation cases. I know that some workers compensation lawyers have a chip on their collective shoulders the size of the Workers Compensation Act already, and we have generally felt inferior to those who practice in the “real” courts of common pleas (even though we do more medical depositions and have more actual court time that most other lawyers), but now our intermediate appellate court tells us not to worry about the Pa. Rules of Civil Procedure.
According to the Court: “Claimant’s reliance on the Rules of Civil Procedure is misplaced because those rules do not govern workers’ compensation proceedings.” I always thought that the Rules of Civil Procedure could be used as some guidance to the lawyers who handle the lowly workers compensation case, but, alas, I was mistaken (silly comp lawyer).
Now, all we need to do is look to the Special Rules of Administrative Practice and Procedure Before Workers’ Compensation Judges, 34 Pa. Code §§131.1-131.122. The system calls them the “Special Rules.” And yes, it is true, attorneys who handle workers compensation cases are special. And we have our special rules that only apply to us and no one else. So rest easy now fellow comp lawyers. We don’t need to worry about those darn complicated Rules of Civil procedure according to the Commonwealth Court.
The decision is found here on Google Scholar: