The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a veteran firefighter's compensation for cancer was timely, filed ten years after he retired, and that the municipality he worked for applied the wrong time frame to deny his claim.
Michael Sevanick was a firefighter for the city of Johnstown for 19 years and after retiring from the fire department in 2006. In 2015 he was diagnosed with kidney cancer and in 2016 he filed a claim for compensation to workers claiming that his cancer was caused by exposure to a carcinogen during his time as a firefighter, according to documents filed in the City of Johnstown v. Workers & # 39; Compensation Appeal Board, in Harrisburg. In an appeal to the Workers' Compensation Board, Johnstown argued that Sevanick's claim was prohibited by state law requiring him to file within 300 weeks of retirement ̵
The argument arose from ambiguity in the state law on recent exposure to carcinogens – the city claimed he had to report exposure within 300 weeks of leaving his job while the board and the board reasoned that a subsequent section of state law "creates a new time frame for cancer-related occupational disease requirements from firefighters. Since (Mr) Sevanick raised his claim within 600 weeks of his last date of employment as a firefighter, the board concluded that the claim was timely. "
On further appeal," as there was no dispute that (Mr.) Sevanick filed his claim 490 weeks after his last date of employment, "a Commonwealth court ruled in the petition in time. The state Supreme Court agreed and wrote that the statute of limitations claimed in the city's appeal "has no application to the firefighters' claims."