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11/13/97 TRI-UNION EXPRESS AND LIBERTY MUTUAL

November 13, 1997

TRI-UNION EXPRESS AND LIBERTY MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, PETITIONERS
v.
WORKERS' COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (HICKLE), RESPONDENT



Appealed From No. A95-2277. State Agency, Workers' Compensation Appeal Board.

Before: Honorable Dan Pellegrini, Judge, Honorable James R. Kelley, Judge, Honorable Emil E. Narick, Senior Judge. Opinion BY Judge Kelley.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kelley

OPINION BY JUDGE KELLEY

FILED: November 13, 1997

Tri-Union Express and Liberty Mutual Insurance Company (employer) appeal from an order of the Workers' Compensation Appeal Board affirming a decision of a workers' compensation Judge (WCJ). The WCJ granted William Hickle's (claimant) claim petition and ordered that claimant be paid compensation benefits from October 19, 1993 through and including March 30, 1994, that benefits be suspended from March 31, 1994 through and including July 19, 1994, and that benefits be terminated effective July 20, 1994. *fn1

The sole issue raised in this appeal is whether employer was bound to provide workers' compensation benefits under the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act *fn2 (Act) because of alleged representations made by a third party agent that the claimant, an independent contractor, would be provided with workers' compensation insurance coverage.

The relevant facts in this matter, as found by the WCJ, are as follows:

First: The Claimant, William Hickle, on November 18, 1993, filed a Claim Petition against [employer] alleging that the Claimant injured his neck and back in the course of his employment with [employer] on October 19, 1993 and was disabled as a result of those injuries.

Third: An answer was filed to the Claim Petition on December 27, 1993 by [employer] denying the allegations contained in the Claim Petition.

Fourth: The issues regarding this Petition are:

Whether the Claimant was an employee of [employer].

Is the Determination of whether there is an Employee-Employer relationship affected if [employer] or its agents advised the Claimant that the Claimant would be covered by Workers' Compensation Insurance.

To what extent the Claimant was disabled from the October 13, 1993 injuries.[ *fn3 ]

Fifth: In rendering this decision, this has considered the testimony of the Claimant and Patricia Parchem, the lease agreements dated April 7, 1992 and December 1,1992, the certificate of insurance dated February 24, 1992, and Claimant's 1992 tax return, [employer's] report of Claimant's ...


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