Submitted April 4, 2014
Appealed from No. A11-0763. State Agency: Workers' Compensation Appeal Board.
Lester Krasno, Pottsville, for petitioner.
Robert Baker, Harrisburg, for respondent Logistics Express, Inc.
BEFORE: HONORABLE BERNARD L. McGINLEY, Judge, HONORABLE PATRICIA A. McCULLOUGH, Judge, HONORABLE ROCHELLE S. FRIEDMAN, Senior Judge. OPINION BY JUDGE McCULLOUGH.
PATRICIA A. McCULLOUGH, Judge
Richard Marek (Claimant) petitions for review of the October 30, 2013 order of the Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Board), which affirmed the decision of a workers' compensation judge (WCJ) denying and dismissing Claimant's penalty petition. We affirm.
The underlying facts of this case are not in dispute. Claimant sustained an injury to his back on July 17, 1995, in the course and scope of his employment with Logistic Express, Inc. (Employer). Employer issued a Notice of Compensation Payable on August 1, 1995, describing Claimant's injury as herniated nucleus pulpous at L1-2, L3-4, and L4-5. On several occasions in the subsequent years, Claimant returned to work at wages equal to or greater than his pre-injury wages and his benefits were suspended. However, Claimant often suffered a recurrence of symptoms related to his original work injury, which resulted in a reinstatement of his total disability benefits. Most recently, Claimant's benefits were suspended effective October 6, 2003, and a later petition seeking a reinstatement of benefits as of January 11, 2005, was denied by a WCJ's decision and order dated September 27, 2006. Although Claimant was not receiving wage loss benefits, Employer remained responsible for Claimant's medical expenses relating to his work injury.
On December 3, 2009, Claimant filed a penalty petition alleging that Employer had violated the Workers' Compensation Act (Act) by unilaterally ceasing payment of his medical bills. Specifically, Claimant alleged as follows:
IWP has contacted Claimant's counsel because bills have not been paid allegedly because there is a Utilization Review filed. Counsel has checked his file for the Utilization Review. Counsel has even ordered the Bureau documents and there is no Utilization Review. Penalties are requested by reason of the carrier
advising that they will not pay because of a favorable Utilization Review that we are unable to locate and which has not been appropriately served.
(Supplemental Reproduced Record (S.R.R.) at 2b.) Employer filed an answer denying Claimant's allegation. The case was assigned to a ...