Attorney's Practice Areas
Supplemental Security Income / Social Security Disability
Michael G. Dryden
Michael G. Dryden is the chair of the Workers’ Compensation Department for Willig, Williams & Davidson. Mike is certified as a specialist in the practice of workers’ compensation law by the Pennsylvania Bar Association Workers’ Compensation Law Section, one of fewer than 50 such lawyers in Philadelphia.
Mike counsels and represents workers in pension matters and appears before the Philadelphia Civil Service Commission on behalf of his clients. He is very active in the firm’s management of Heart & Lung Act cases throughout Pennsylvania, including occupational disease claims for cancer, heart disease and toxic exposures.
In 2018, Mike successfully argued on behalf of the firefighters diagnosed with cancer, and their dependents, before the Pennsyvlania Supreme Court in the seminal case of City of Philadelphia v. WCAB (Sladek). The favorable decision of the Supreme Court in Sladek will assist firefighters and firefighter dependents in future and current cancer claims.
In 2017, Mike was appointed to serve on the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) Workers’ Compensation Panel. He is one of two attorneys from Southeastern Pennsylvania to represent the Philadelphia Eagles players and one of six workers’ compensation panel lawyers from the state of Pennsylvania. The NFLPA Workers’ Compensation Panel was started in 1979 “to guarantee that NFL Players have access to responsive, qualified and knowledgeable workers’ compensation practitioners. The Panel is dedicated to providing professional and courteous legal services to injured players in order to assure that players recover the maximum medical and disability benefits under state law.”
The son of a Teamster, Mike is a sought-after presenter by labor organizations throughout Pennsylvania regarding workers’ compensation, disability, pension laws and related issues. He trains union leadership on issues involving injured members and conducts educational seminars for union stewards.
Mike speaks proudly of his union heritage. “My father was a truck driver, and a member of Teamsters Local 107; my mother is still receiving a pension that he earned through the Teamsters’ union.”
That’s one reason why Mike is proud to have helped hundreds of workers, from firefighters to machinists to truck drivers, claim benefits for work-related injuries such as cancer, heart disease and hearing loss. Mike has successfully challenged pension offsets that employers claim against workers’ compensation in an attempt to reduce injured workers’ benefits. He derives great satisfaction from helping hardworking individuals and their families by securing workers’ compensation and other benefits to which they are entitled under the law.
For employees of certain state-run correctional and penal facilities and mental hospitals, those benefits include the protections of Pennsylvania Act 534. Mike can counsel clients on the benefits available under Act 534, which provides an additional layer of workers’ compensation protections that exceed those afforded by the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act.
Mike also has secured compensation for workers whose illnesses or injuries were covered by the Pennsylvania Heart & Lung Act. The Heart & Lung Act provides a powerful set of income protections to police officers, firefighters, corrections workers, and certain other state and municipal employees who become sick or injured on the job. Some of these workers may be eligible for both workers’ compensation benefits and benefits under the Heart & Lung Act.
Whenever a worker believes that he or she has developed cancer, lung disease, or any other illness as a result of job duties, Mike has the knowledge and experience to help.
In October 2011, Mike won a landmark judgment against the City of Philadelphia on behalf of the widow of former city firefighter Joseph Kriebel, who died from liver disease. The liver disease was caused by a hepatitis C infection, a known occupational disease risk for firefighters who come in contact with blood and bodily fluids while on the job. With the support of the workers’ compensation judge who heard the case, the city denied Mrs. Kriebel the workers’ compensation benefits it owed her.
On her behalf, Mike appealed the case to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, where he successfully argued that the city’s case was almost wholly based on the “expert opinion” of a doctor who, after studying Kriebel’s military medical records from 1969, leaped to the unwarranted conclusion that the hepatitis C infection that killed Joseph Kriebel in 2004 was caused by intravenous drug use. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania dismissed the doctor’s opinion as “conjecture and speculation” and reinstated the workers’ compensation benefits owed to Mrs. Kriebel. The case has become an often-cited example of the high evidentiary standard an employer must meet when it claims that an employee’s known occupational risk for a disease is not the cause of that employee’s illness.
Mike served as the Philadelphia Bar Association Workers’ Compensation Section co-chair in 2003, sharing his experience in this complex section of the law with other area practitioners. He has worked as a hearing master for the Philadelphia Municipal Court’s Emergency Services Program, presiding over petitions for emergency protection from domestic abuse orders, and also handles personal injury matters.
Mike has been named a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer by Thomson Reuters each year since 2010, after having been named to the Super Lawyers Rising Star list in prior years. He has also been listed as a member of The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100.
A 1993 graduate of Temple University School of Law, Mike earned his bachelor’s degree from Lebanon Valley College in 1990.
- Temple University School of Law, J.D., 1993
- Lebanon Valley College, B.A., 1990
- Willig, Williams & Davidson, Partner, 2000-Present
- Mulvey & Flanagan, Associate, 1993-2000
- New Jersey Supreme Court, 1993
- Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, 1993
- United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1999
- Pennsylvania Bar Association, Co-Chair of the Legislative Committee of the Workers Compensation Section
- The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100, Member, 2014 - present
- Huntingdon Valley Activities Association, Coach
- Philadelphia Municipal Court Emergency Services Program, Hearing Master
- Pennsylvania Association for Justice (formerly Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association), 2001-Present
- Pennsylvania Bar Association, 1994-Present
- Philadelphia Bar Association, 1994-Present
- Pennsylvania Super Lawyers, 2010-Present
- Pennsylvania Rising Star Super Lawyer, Philadelphia Magazine, 2005-2007
- Speaker, Delaware County Firefighters Symposium, February 27, 2016
- 25th Annual Pennsylvania Fire and Emergency Services Institute Conference, November 21, 2015
- "Workers' Compensation/Occupational Disease" - Pennsylvania Professional Firefigthters Association Legislative Conference, 2015
- "Cancer and Firefighters" - Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Conference, June 2, 2014
- “Cancer Presumption / Workers Compensation and You,” Fireman’s Legislative Federation of Pennsylvania seminar, Camp Hill, PA, 2012
- “Employer Obligations Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act,” United Food and Commercial Worker Local 1776, Plymouth Meeting and Scranton, PA, annually
- “Workers’ Compensation,” Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, Philadelphia, PA, annually
- “Workers’ Compensation Act 534 and Heart & Lung Act Benefits,” American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Philadelphia, Plymouth Meeting, Scranton, Harrisburg, Williamsport and Lancaster, PA, annually
- “Workers’ Compensation Rights,” International Association of Machinists – Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Reading, Harrisburg and Scranton, PA, annually
- “Workers’ Compensation Rights and Obligations,” Teamster Local 384, Norristown, PA, annually
- “Workers’ Compensation Rights and Obligations,” Teamster Local 463, Ft. Washington, PA, annually
- “Heart & Lung Act and Workers’ Compensation for Firefighters,” Association of Firefighters – Pennsylvania, Allentown, PA, 2008
- “Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation – Pension Offsets,” Pennsylvania Association for Justice, Philadelphia, PA, 2008
- “Occupational Disease,” International Association of Firefighters – Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, PA. and Johnstown, PA, 2007
Articles & News
- 14 Willig, Williams & Davidson Attorneys Named 2019 PA Super Lawyers and Rising Stars
May 9, 2019
- CBS/KYW Interviews Partner Michael Dryden Regarding Precedent-Setting Case on Firefighters’ Cancer
November 14, 2018
- Pennsylvania Supreme Court Issues Decision in City of Phila. Fire Dept. vs. W.C.A.B. (Sladek)
October 18, 2018
- 14 Willig, Williams & Davidson Attorneys Named 2018 PA Super Lawyers and Rising Stars
May 18, 2018
- 13 Willig, Williams & Davidson Attorneys Named 2017 PA Super Lawyers and Rising Stars
May 12, 2017
- 12 Willig, Williams & Davidson Attorneys Named 2016 PA Super Lawyers and Rising Stars
May 13, 2016
- 11 Willig, Williams & Davidson Attorneys Named 2015 PA Super Lawyers and Rising Stars
May 15, 2015
- 11 Willig, Williams & Davidson Lawyers Named as 2014 PA Super Lawyers and Rising Stars
May 23, 2014
- Three Willig, Williams & Davidson Attorneys Earn Workers' Compensation Law Specialty Certification
June 14, 2013
- Nine Willig, Williams & Davidson Lawyers Named to 2013 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers List
May 30, 2013
- Willig, Williams & Davidson Workers' Compensation Attorney Michael G. Dryden Addresses Fireman's Legislative Federation of Pennsylvania
March 21, 2012
- Willig, Williams & Davidson Successfully Advances Worker 'Occupational Disease' Claims
March 9, 2012
- Willig, Williams & Davidson Attorney Michael G. Dryden Wins Ongoing Occupational Disease Fatal Claim Benefits for Widow of Philadelphia Firefighter
January 18, 2012
- Workers' Compensation Questions Answered: What If Someone Other Than My Employer Caused My Injury?
November 18, 2011
- Workers' Compensation Questions Answered: What Social Security Disability Benefits Are Available?
October 14, 2011
- Workers' Compensation Questions Answered: May An Employer Terminate My Employment After I Have Suffered A Work Injury?
October 7, 2011
- Workers' Compensation Questions Answered: Under What Circumstances Can My Employer Attempt to Suspend or Terminate My Compensation Benefits?
October 3, 2011
- Workers' Compensation Questions Answered: What Wage Loss Benefits Am I Entitled To If I Am Injured On the Job?
September 26, 2011
- Workers' Compensation Questions Answered: May I Choose My Physician?
September 16, 2011
- Workers' Compensation Questions Answered: How Are Claim Petitions Processed By The Bureau Of Workers' Compensation?
September 9, 2011
- Workers' Compensation Questions Answered: What Should I Do If My Claim Is Denied?
August 12, 2011
- Workers' Compensation Questions Answered: What Should I Do If I Suffer A Work Injury?
July 29, 2011
- Pennsylvania Legislature Passes Bill Designating Cancer an Occupational Disease for Firefighters
July 8, 2011
- Nine Willig, Williams & Davidson Lawyers Named to 2011 List of
Pennsylvania Super Lawyers
May 24, 2011