Mediation is a growing area in Pennsylvania workers’ comp. As we have previously discussed, a mediation is when an independent party, in this context usually a Workers’ Compensation Judge [WCJ] (other than the assigned WCJ), meets with the parties in an informal setting in an effort to resolve the differences between the parties. The ultimate goal is to achieve a settlement to the case (usually done by “Compromise & Release Agreement”).
Since we at Brilliant & Neiman LLC work with injured workers every day, having constant contact with the Pennsylvania workers’ compensation system, we are well-versed in most aspects of how the system functions from day to day. We are proud that our knowledge and experience will be used by the PA Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, as the Bureau adjusts the system to change with the times.
Since the start of “Mandatory Mediation,” added to the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act in the 1996 amendments to the Act, the system has been relatively stagnant. Recently, the Bureau has sought a small working group to evaluate the mediation system and see what, if any, changes could be beneficial to the mediation process.
In the near future, a small group of attorneys will meet with Elizabeth Crum, the Bureau’s Director of Adjudication, The Honorable David Cicola (Judge Manager for the Western District), The Honorable Joseph Hagan (Judge Manager for the Southeastern District [Philadelphia and Upper Darby (Delaware and Chester Counties)]) and The Honorable Karen Wertheimer (Judge Manager for the Eastern District [Allentown (Lehigh County), Bristol (Bucks County), Lancaster (Lancaster County), Malvern (Montgomery County), and Reading (Berks County)]).
Both attorneys of Brilliant & Neiman LLC, Dina Brilliant and Glenn Neiman, will be involved in this meeting. The intention of the meeting will be to have an open discussion about the mediation process, where thoughts and concerns of the attorneys can be voiced and addressed, hopefully leading to the entire mediation system being improved.