CASO v. WCAB
On December 30, 2003 the PA Supreme Court Overuled the Commonwealth Court's decision in Caso v. WCAB. In that case, the Commonwealth Court held that a claimant could not be compelled to meet with a Vocational Expert to perform a Labor Market Survey or Earning Power Assessment, if that Expert had not yet been approved by the Bureau of Workers Compensation. Although the law changed in 1996 with regards to the type of testimony permissible to establish "job availability," the Bureau of WC had never established a list of persons who were qualified to act as "Vocational Experts." Although the Comm Ct. held that the Workers Compensation Judges did not have the authority to "approve" these experts in the absence of a "list" established by the Bureau of WC, the PA Supreme Court Disagreed, and held that the WCJ does have such authority.
As a result of the Comm Ct decision, we were not permitting our clients to meet with Vocational Experts for vocational interviews, if their sole purpose was to proceed with a Labor Market Survey, and not actually find our clients "real" jobs. Now as a result of the Caso decision and the soon to be enacted House Bill 88, the WC Carriers will be able to choose their own Vocational Experts ( even ones that work for the Ins Co.) regardless of whether or not they have been approved by the Bureau and the WCJ will be able to render a determination as to whether or not the individual is qualified to be an expert.