Employer's Motion to Strike or Open a Judgment of a Workers' Compensation Award
In Campagna v. Brandon Knitwear, Inc., 797 A.2d 405, 408, (Pa. Cmwlth. 2002), an employer sought to open a judgment on the basis that it was entitled to offsets or credits against the award.
In rejecting that claim, the Court stated:
In the instant appeal, Employer presents one issue for our review: whether the trial court erred as a matter of law or abused its discretion in failing to strike or open the judgment at issue due to Employer's assertions that certain offsets and/or credits are due to it that are not reflected in the amount of the judgment. . . .
Employer's Motion to Strike, and subsequent appeal to this Court, ignores one of the primary purposes behind the judgment entry remedy supplied by Section 428 of the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act (Act)?: to provide recourse for a situation where an employer has been found liable to pay benefits to a claimant, but does not.
As we have previously stated in regards to a motion to strike or open a judgment in the context of a workers' compensation award, "if we were to accept Employer's argument to address the merits of the underlying award, then we would be forced to disregard their violations of the Act, i.e., the unilateral cessation of Claimant's benefits." Horner v. C.S. Myers & Sons, Inc., 721 A.2d 394, 398 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1998), petition for allowance of appeal denied, 559 Pa. 682, 739 A.2d 545 (1999) (holding that trial court did not err in denying petition to strike or open default judgment where question of employer's liability for claimant's benefits was still pending on employer's termination petition, due to validity of WCJ's original award of benefits under which employer was required to pay, but failed to do so).
Horner's reasoning is especially applicable to the instant case, where Employer has not merely ceased paying benefits to Claimant, but has never actually begun to pay Claimant as ordered by the WCJ.