A Pennsylvania appeals court rejected an appeal by the city of Philadelphia in a case involving a firefighter who was diagnosed with kidney cancer he claimed was work-related.
Commonwealth Court declined Thursday to throw out a workers’ compensation claim for Joseph Healey, who began working for the Philadelphia Fire Department in 2003 and was diagnosed with cancer in 2016.
Mr. Healey applied for compensatory benefits in 2019 but the city, as the employer, disputed causation, arguing that the cancer was not occupationally caused.
One of the cancer-causing chemicals that Mr. Healey claims he was exposed to, trichlorethylene, was not initially listed as a Group 1 carcinogen, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, but was added later when Pennsylvania revised its law.
The city argued that the IARC̵7;s later listing of chemicals as Group 1 carcinogens as a presumption was an unconstitutional delegation of the legislature’s legislative authority.
The claim was ultimately approved with a finding that Mr. Healey proved his cancer was work-related.
The appeals court disagreed with the city, finding that a plaintiff does not automatically receive benefits because the IARC listed a chemical as a Group 1 carcinogen and that an injured worker still has to prove that they were exposed to the substance and that the substance is linked to cancer.