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Philadelphia�Workers’ compensation claimants are entitled to recover paralegal fees when they have been awarded regular attorney fees, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled in a case of first impression. In its 6-1 decision in Vitac Corp. v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board, the majority concluded that the “attorney’s fees” provision in the Workers’ Compensation Act should include fees for services rendered by paraprofessionals such as paralegals, law clerks, recent law school graduates and others. “It seems evident that, if paraprofessional fees were excluded from the fee shifting provision [of the act],” Justice Thomas G. Saylor wrote, “a claimant might have to bear a substantial portion of such litigation costs, thus eroding the benefits that the General Assembly has elected to confer upon employees in exchange for the elimination of the latter’s common law negligence remedies against the employer.” Saylor was joined by Chief Justice Ralph J. Cappy and justices Russell M. Nigro, Sandra Schultz Newman, J. Michael Eakin and Max Baer. Justice Ronald D. Castille filed a dissenting opinion. The ruling stems from a carpal tunnel syndrome case.

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