PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION RESOLUTION OPPOSING THE TWELVE MONTH DIRECTIVE FOR COMPLETION OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION CASES

WHEREAS, the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Office of Adjudication has proposed to amend the Workers' Compensation Administrative Rules and Procedures outside the regulatory process by adding a Twelve Month Directive ("Directive"); and

WHEREAS, the proposed Directive would drastically shorten the time for a litigated case to proceed from assignment to a Workers Compensation Judge to resolution from eighteen months under the current Eighteen Month Guideline to only twelve months; and

WHEREAS, the Directive will diminish a litigant's right to due process by denying said litigant's ability to fully and completely litigate a matter before the Court; and

WHEREAS, the proposed Directive will place undue hardship upon Workers' Compensation Judges to decide cases within a reasonable time frame, diminishing said judges' ability to function efficiently and effectively; and

WHEREAS, the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in the Declaration of Rights, Article I, Section 11 provides all courts shall be open and that every person shall have the right to have "justice administered without sale, denial or delay;" and

WHEREAS, the proposed Directive will significantly impact the appellate courts by limiting a litigant's ability to present its case leading to an increase in appeals while also precluding full Appellate review; and

WHEREAS, the Directive will significantly limit a Workers' Compensation Judge's discretionary right under the "Act" to afford a party the right to present evidence; and

WHEREAS, the Directive will negatively impact the collegiality among members of the Bench, Bar and Administration; and

WHEREAS, the Directive will limit the responding party's right to adequately, thoroughly and efficiently present a defense to a claim; and

WHEREAS, the Directive will cause an unfair hardship on Workers' Compensation Judges sitting in locations with higher caseloads; and

WHEREAS, the Directive will lead to a lack of flexibility among Judges; and

WHEREAS, the Philadelphia Bar Association adopts and concurs with the position taken by the Montgomery County Bar Association.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Philadelphia Bar Association opposes the Workers' Compensation Office of Adjudication's proposed Twelve Month Directive upon Workers' Compensation Judges;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Chancellor and/or the Chancellor's designee(s) communicate the Philadelphia Bar Association's position on the Twelve Month Directive to the Governor, the General Assembly and the public and take whatever action is necessary to effectuate this resolution.

PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
ADOPTED: September 22, 2014