Tuesday, September 8, 2009


No. 871 EDA 2008 2009 PA Super 178 Atlantic: n/a Petition for Reargument Denied 11/10/2009 Filed: 9/8/2009

Appeal from the Order dated November 20, 2007
In the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County,
Civil, No. 1541 May Term, 2007
Before: KLEIN, SHOGAN, JJ. and McEWEN, P.J.E.
Opinion by: KLEIN, J.
Rohm and Haas Company appeals from the trial court order denying preliminary objections on the grounds that all of the claims against it are barred by the exclusivity provisions of the Workers’ Compensation Act, (“Act”), 77 Pa.C.S.A. § 481(a), and the Occupational Disease Act (“ODA”). 77 P.S. § 1208. Antonio Ranalli filed a wrongful death action against Rohm and Haas for damages resulting from the death of his wife, Olivia Ranalli, who died of a brain tumor in 2007. Ranalli claimed his wife’s brain tumor, diagnosed in 2006, was a result of her exposure to vinyl chloride when working for Rohm and Haas, and that the exposure occurred when visiting Rohm and Haas’s research facility in Spring House between 1974 and 1980. Rohm and Haas filed preliminary objections claiming suit was barred under the exclusivity provision of the Act. Ranalli argued that the workers’ compensation bar does not apply and Rohm and Haas is not immune from civil action because: (a) the Workers’ Compensation Act expressly excludes from its definition of “injury” occupational diseases manifesting more than 300 weeks after last date of workplace exposure, and since the exclusivity provision does not bar a common law action against an employer for an injury which is non-compensable under the Act, the civil action is not barred; and (b) Rohm and Haas was “fraudulent” in not revealing studies that showed the dangers of vinyl chloride.
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