HARRISBURG – The state Superior Court has awarded summary judgment to US Airways in a lawsuit filed by an injured baggage handler, but he can continue his claims against companies that designed, built and maintained the door.
The decision remanded the case of Amos Kweh against Rytec Corp. Inc., American Overhead Door and Dock Inc. and Lombardo and Lipe Electrical Contractors on Oct. 27.
The panel hearing the case included justices Anne E. Lazarus and Paula Francisco Ott. James J. Fitzgerald was specially assigned to the Superior Court.
According to the opinion, Kweh worked for US Airways at the Philadelphia International Airport and on Oct. 13, 2012, he had gone to work to pick up his laptop, which he had left in his locker.
As he left, the pedestrian doorway was blocked by a trash can, so he tried to leave through an overhead baggage door. As the door closed, it hit him on the head.
Kweh missed three weeks of work and received Workers' Compensation benefits, the opinion states, and filed his suit in October 2014.
Rytec Corp. Inc., American Overhead Door and Dock Inc. and Lombardo and Lipe Electrical Contractors were not granted summary judgment because issues remain disputable.
“While represented by counsel, Kweh applied for and received Workers’ Compensation benefits in the form of lost wages,” the court noted. “The trial court reasoned that by doing so, he implicitly agreed that the injury he suffered occurred while in the course of his employment, as required by statute to obtain Workers’ Compensation benefits.”
Since Kweh had implied to US Airways and the Workers’ Compensation insurance carrier that he was entitled to benefits, the trial court was correct in reasoning that he was estopped form claiming he was also entitled to additional benefits from US Airways after it was discovered that was not hurt during the course of his normal work activities.