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Trying to Claim Your Boss is Doing Two Things At Once? Think Again. (PA)

July 1, 2016

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On June 29, 2016 the PA Superior Court dismissed the appeal by underlying plaintiff Neidert from an order granting compulsory non-suit to underlying defendant Albert Charlie III.  Neidert sued Charlie when he was injured while working at Riley’s Pub.  Charlie owns the business and also owned the building where Riley’s Pub is located.  Neidert sought damages on the theory that Charlie is not exempt under the Workers’ Compensation Act because he was acting in a “dual capacity” with respect to his ownership of the building.  Neidert claimed that as the building owner, Charlie owed him a separate duty to ensure the building was safe.
Charlie moved for summary judgement after he was served with the complaint and was denied.  At trial however, Charlie made an oral motion for compulsory nonsuit, which was granted.  The issue on appeal, among others, was whether the dual capacity exception applied. <a href="">The Superior Court noted</a> that this doctrine has only been applied in one case and the exception is extremely narrow and that it “does not apply where the employee’s compensable injury occurred while he was actually engaged in the performance of his job”.
This case is useful in understanding truly how narrow the dual capacity exemption is interpreted.  It will serve as a model for future suits and can be used to defeat such claims by plaintiffs.  Thanks to Remy Cahn for her contribution to this post, and please email <a href="">Brian Gibbons</a> with any questions.


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