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Burden of proof on Reinstatement Petition subsequent to economic layoff where claimant was performing time of injury job which fell within his physical capabilities

Issues: Burden of proof on Reinstatement Petition subsequent to economic layoff where claimant was performing time of injury job which fell within his physical capabilities

Case Name:Folk v. W.C.A.B. (Dana Corp.), 338 C.D.2002 filed 07-22-02

Synopsis: FACTS: The claimant was provided a fifty pound weight limitation by his physician. He returned to work to his regular job without limitation since his regular job did not exceed the fifty pound lifting limitation. Thereafter, claimant was laid off due to an economic downturn.

DECISION Reinstatement of benefits denied.

REASONING: The Court determined that claimant was not entitled to the presumption that his loss of earning subsequent to his layoff was causally related to his work injury. Importantly, the Court noted that since the claimant's time of injury job did not exceed his physical capabilities, it was as though the claimant returned to work without restrictions. Thus, the presumption of causation which is applicable where a claimant returns to work with restrictions to a modified job (not a time of injury position) Crowell v. W.C.A.B. (Johnson Dairy Farm), 655 A.2d 30 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1995). does not apply.

Practice Points:In order to take advantage of the Folk rationale, it is critical that the physical requirements of the time of injury job be identified to determine if a true work restriction exists.