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Willig, Williams & Davidson Attorney Michael G. Dryden Wins Ongoing Occupational Disease Fatal Claim Benefits for Widow of Philadelphia Firefighter

January 18, 2012

Philadelphia workers compensation lawyer Michael G. Dryden, of the Pennsylvania labor and employment law firm Willig, Williams & Davidson, won occupational disease benefits for the widow of long-time City of Philadelphia firefighter Joseph Kriebel, who died as a result of contracting hepatitis C from exposure on the job.

The Workers’ Compensation Judge who initially decided the case relied upon the testimony of the employer’s medical expert to rule that Kriebel’s disease was not caused by his job. The Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board reversed this decision and then the Commonwealth Court reinstated the Judge’s dismissal. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court reversed and reinstated fatal claim benefits, finding that the testimony of the employer’s medical expert was based upon “irresponsible speculation.” As a result, the fatal claim benefits were reinstated to Kriebel’s widow.

Dryden is the Chair of Willig, Williams & Davidson’s Workers’ Compensation Department and is very active in the firm’s management of Heart & Lung Act and Act 534 cases throughout Pennsylvania including occupational disease claims for cancer, heart disease and toxic exposures. Dryden also trains union leadership on issues involving injured members and conducts educational seminars for union stewards. He also counsels and represents workers in pension matters, and appears before the Philadelphia Civil Service Commission on behalf of his clients.

Dyrden has helped hundreds of workers with their claims benefits from firefighters and machinists to truck drivers dealing with work-related injuries such as cancer, heart disease and hearing loss. He has successfully challenged pension offsets that employers assert against workers’ compensation in an attempt to reduce injured workers’ benefits. Dryden is committed to helping hardworking individuals and their families in securing workers’ compensation and other benefits to which they are entitled under the law.

A sought-after presenter, he frequently speaks to labor organizations throughout Pennsylvania regarding workers’ compensation, disability and pension laws as well as other related issues. Dryden has worked as a hearing master for the Philadelphia Municipal Court’s Emergency Services Program. As a hearing master, he presided over petitions for emergency protection from domestic abuse orders.

About Willig, Williams & Davidson – Willig, Williams & Davidson ( is one of the largest and most respected union-side labor law firms in the United States. Founded in 1979, the firm focuses on representing labor unions, employee benefit funds, individual working people and their families on a variety of legal fronts, including national, regional and local contract negotiations; dispute resolution through mediation, arbitration and litigation; tax and benefit law compliance issues; discrimination and other employment matters; prepaid legal services for union members; and workers’ compensation matters in Philadelphia and beyond.

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