Attorney Desinee Dwyer, the Chair of the firm’s Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Department, secured a victory for a multinational client in the Philadelphia region. In the underlying case, the Claimant alleged that he sustained an unwitnessed injury to his knee within weeks of starting his employment with the company. Both parties relied on IME physicians. Thus, the Claimant’s credibility was of the utmost importance.
Attorney Dwyer obtained details of several prior crimes, including theft on multiple occasions. She also found news articles documenting that the Claimant was charged with making numerous false reports to First Responders reporting fake emergencies such as fires and car accidents. Because the criminal dockets for the false reports were no longer available due to a possible expungement, Attorney Dwyer creatively secured admissions from the Claimant during testimony before the WCJ, which opened the door so that she could confront him with the false calls leading the Claimant to admit to what had occurred.
Having laid that foundation, Attorney Dwyer was able to find several social media pages including a YouTube channel of a close family member, which contained hours and hours of hunting footage. The hunting footage was filmed such that the person filming was not seen but Attorney Dwyer was suspicious that it was the Claimant. After watching several hours of the footage, that illusive moment arose when another hunter called to the person filming “Hey (Claimant’s name) let’s go this way…” Attorney Dwyer was able to confront the Claimant about this. The Claimant continued to deny hunting. Taking advantage of the virtual hearings, Attorney Dwyer requested leave from the Judge to view the video live during the hearing. She shared her screen and played the hunting footage, which was cued to that moment. The Judge repeated what was said on the video and Attorney Dwyer again asked the Claimant if he was the one filming the hunting trip. He again denied that he was and said that it was a relative with a very different sounding first name.
Thereafter the record was closed, briefs were submitted and the parties waited for a Decision. They did not have to wait long because within one month of the final brief being submitted, the Judge rendered a Decision denying and dismissing the Claimant’s Petition in its entirety. The Judge noted that the Claimant’s credibility was questionable based on his history of crimen falsi and that his propensity for inventing stories made it reasonable that he also invented the workers’ compensation injury for which there were no witnesses. The Employer was not liable for any wage loss, medical bills or even the Claimant’s litigation costs related to the claim.
If you have any questions about this article, please contact Desinee Dwyer at firstname.lastname@example.org or feel free to reach out to our PA WC team at email@example.com to discuss strategies for defending a WC claim.