Section 440 of the The Workers' Compensation Act - the Costs of Litigation

In Phillips v. Workmen's Comp. Appeal Bd. (Century Steel), 554 Pa. 504, 721 A.2d 1091 (1999), however, our Supreme Court held that Pa. R.A.P. 2744 did not support an attorneys' fee award against workers' compensation claimants. In essence, the Court concluded that the failure to provide for such an award in the Workers' Compensation Act made such award in a case brought under the Act improper. "Because the clear intent of Section 440 of the the Workers' Compensation Act is to protect claimants from the costs of litigation, but not to provide comparable protection for employers," an attorneys' fee award against the claimant's lawyer was improper, the Court concluded. Id. at 510-11, 721 A.2d at 1094. Justice Saylor dissented, finding Section 440 did not preclude an appellate court from assessing counsel fees against a claimant pursuant to Pa. R.A.P. 2744.