Based Upon Stipulation of Facts Can a Wcj Award An Individual Commutation of Benefits and Dismiss Petition of Insurer for Reimbursement

In Commonwealth, Bureau of Workers' Compensation v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Old Republic Ins. Co.), 689 A.2d 372 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1997), McLaren suffered a work-related injury while working for the Stroudsburg Area School District (School District). McLaren began receiving benefits pursuant to a Notice of Compensation Payable. The School District filed a petition for modification of McLaren's benefits and alleged that she was capable of returning to employment as of May 11, 1990. The parties later entered into a stipulation of facts wherein they agreed that, as of August 22, 1990, McLaren was capable of returning to work at a reduced weekly wage and that McLaren remained partially disabled. Based upon the stipulation of facts, the Workers' Compensation Judge (WCJ) awarded McLaren's commutation of benefits, and, upon the motion of Insurer's counsel, dismissed the petition for review. This Court concluded that the stipulation (that McLaren was not entitled to full benefits) was not an arms'-length or adversarial type determination which could bind the Fund, therefore, the insurer was not entitled to reimbursement.