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STEPHEN I. RICHMAN v. WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (01/07/75)

decided: January 7, 1975.

STEPHEN I. RICHMAN, GREENLEE, RICHMAN, DERRICO & POSA, APPELLANTS,
v.
WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD, U.S. STEEL CORPORATION AND BUREAU OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY, APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Lloyd E. Myers v. U.S. Steel Corporation, No. C.F. 2284.

COUNSEL

Stephen I. Richman, with him Greenlee, Richman, Derrico & Posa, for appellant.

James N. Diefenderfer, for appellee, Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board.

James D. Strader, for appellee, U.S. Steel Corporation.

Donald G. Swartz, Assistant Attorney General, with him Herbert W. Hoffman, Assistant Attorney General, and Israel Packel, Attorney General, for appellee, Bureau of Employment Security.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Wilkinson.

Author: Wilkinson

[ 16 Pa. Commw. Page 595]

The facts of this case are essentially undisputed. The appellant is the law partnership of Greenlee, Richman, Derrico & Posa. This firm had been retained by Lloyd E. Myers, claimant, to represent him in a workmen's compensation claim against appellee United States Steel Corporation.

[ 16 Pa. Commw. Page 596]

Claimant had been injured on April 2, 1971. Appellee corporation denied that a compensable accident had taken place, but in lieu of workmen's compensation, had paid claimant sickness and accident benefits during the period of his disability. Also during this period, the claimant received unemployment compensation benefits from the other appellee, the Pennsylvania Bureau of Employment Security.

On October 19, 1972, the parties were notified by the referee that claimant had proven a compensable accident did occur and claimant, therefore, was entitled to workmen's compensation benefits from appellee corporation, a self-insurer, in the amount of $3437.15. The referee's order further established that subrogation rights were granted to both appellee corporation and appellee bureau for all payments of social insurance benefits ($2340.00) and unemployment compensation benefits ($900.00) that had been paid to claimant. There was no appeal from any part of this order.

On November 20, 1972, appellee corporation mailed appellant a check for $197.15 as the balance due to claimant after deduction of the two subrogation claims of the appellees. Appellant then, on March 16, 1973, submitted invoices to both appellees for their respective pro-rata share of appellant's charges for legal services and costs advanced in prosecuting claimant's case. Both appellees refused to honor appellant's bill and on April 12, 1973, almost six months after the referee's award, appellant filed a "Petition for Award of Counsel Fees" with the Workmen's Compensation Board, requesting that the Board order payment of appellant's expenses and legal fees properly due from each subrogee.

The Board denied appellant's petition, holding that the request for counsel fees is in the nature of an appeal from the referee's award and under Section 423 of the Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act, Act of June ...


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