Workers' Compensation Judge Jurisdiction In Pennsylvania

In Overhead Door Company of Lewistown, Inc. v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Gill), 819 A.2d 635 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2003), the Court addressed the issue of jurisdiction: It is clear under Pennsylvania law that the Workers' Compensation Act provides the sole means by which an employee can recover from an employer or a named insurance carrier . . . . Obviously, the WCJ had jurisdiction to hear the general subject matter of this case. As noted by our Pennsylvania Supreme Court, 'jurisdiction relates solely to the competency of a particular court or administrative body to determine controversies of the general class to which the case then presented for its consideration belongs. . . . As noted above, the WCJ in the instant matter obviously had subject matter jurisdiction over the general nature of the claim, i.e. the workers' compensation claim . . . . Overhead Door Company, 819 A.2d at 638. In Overhead Door, this Court recounted the facts: The WCJ dismissed the joinder petition Claimant had filed against AIG Insurance Company of Pennsylvania, but granted the petition seeking to join SWIF State Workers' Insurance Fund. The WCJ stated that AIG was dismissed from the action as SWIF was the responsible insurance carrier. The WCJ found that SWIF was estopped from denying coverage due to its actions in the case for an extended period of time and the prejudice Claimant would face if forced to relitigate. The WCJ further determined that Claimant suffered a work-related injury and SWIF was ordered to pay $ 204.00 per week for the period of January 5, 1993, through December 7, 1993. . . . the Board affirmed . . . . . . . .The second issue raised by SWIF is whether the WCJ had subject matter jurisdiction over SWIF where SWIF never contracted with either Claimant or Claimant's employer. Id. at 637-38.