APPEAL BOARD AFFIRMS WCJ'S GRANT OF A PETITION TO TERMINATE BENEFITS

A claimant filed an Appeal from a Final Decision of a WCJ in Reading, Pennsylvania granting the employer/carrier’s Petition to Terminate Benefits filed by MLG Attorneys. The WCJ concluded that the employer/carrier met its burden of establishing through unequivocal medical testimony that the claimant fully recovered from all residuals of the accepted work injury pursuant to the opinions of the doctor who performed an Independent Medical Examination. The WCJ rejected the testimony of the claimant’s treating doctor and found the opinions of the IME doctor more credible than the claimant’s testimony of ongoing complaints of pain. The IME doctor did not disbelieve or discount the claimant’s complaints of pain; rather, he opined the complaints were unrelated to the accepted work injury. On Appeal, the claimant’s attorney argued that the IME doctor’s stated or at least tacit acceptance of the claimant’s pain complaints should have rendered the doctor’s testimony insufficient to support a grant of the Termination Petition. After oral argument and the submission of written briefs, the Appeal Board affirmed the WCJ’s Decision thus upholding the termination of all benefits. MLG Attorneys successfully argued to the Appeal Board that the IME doctor’s testimony was sufficient to support the Termination Petition since the doctor made it clear during his deposition that he did not believe the claimant’s complaints were related to the accepted work injury. Following the Appeal Board’s ruling, MLG Attorneys were able to seek reimbursement for its client a substantial amount of benefits paid to the claimant during the pending of the original Termination Petition before the WCJ.

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