We have written extensively on this blog about personal jurisdiction and how the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California changed the rules regarding specific jurisdiction.
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Pennsylvania employers are raising arguments that may circumvent the effect of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision stripping them of the protections of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act (WCA) for latent occupational diseases.  In the November 2013 decision in Tooey v. AK Steel Corp. (see the related post here), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court allowed former employees with occupational diseases, like mesothelioma, to sue their employers directly for diseases that manifest more than 300 weeks after employment ends.  In the wake of Tooey, employers have focused on the Pennsylvania Occupational Disease Act (ODA) arguing that it still provides administrative remedies that must be exhausted before a former employee can sue for a latent occupational disease.
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The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has dramatically increased the liability of employers for their employees’ latent occupational diseases based on its interoperation of the word “it.”  In the November 22, 2013 decision in Tooey v. AK Steel Corp.,the Pennsylvania Supreme Court stripped the protections of the Pennsylvania Worker’s Compensation Act for latent occupational diseases that manifest more than 300 weeks after employment ends.

The Pennsylvania Worker’s Compensation Act has an exclusivity provision that prohibits employees from bringing civil lawsuits against employers for injuries and diseases that are covered. According to the Act: “whenever occupational disease is the basis for compensation, for disability or death under this act, it shall apply only to disability or death resulting from such disease and occurring within three hundred weeks after the last date of employment.”
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