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 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
|NJ||License Administratively Revoked||1994||06/21/2021|
|Award name||Grantor||Date granted|
|Pennsylvania Super Lawyer||Super Lawyers Magazine||2016|
|Best Lawyers||U.S. News & World Report Readers Choice||2016|
|Pennsylvania Super Lawyers||Super Lawyers Magazine||2015|
|Pennsylvania Super Lawyers||Super Lawyers Magazine||2014|
|Certified Specialist - Workers' Compensation||Pennsylvania Bar Association||2014|
|Pennsylvania Super Lawyers||Super Lawyers Magazine||2013|
|Pennsylvania Super Lawyers||Super Lawyers Magazine||2012|
|Pennsylvania Super Lawyers||Super Lawyers Magazine||2011|
|Pennsylvania Super Lawyers||Super Lawyers Magazine||2010|
|Pennsylvania Rising Star Super Lawyer||Super Lawyers Magazine||2007|
|Partner||Willig, Williams & Davidson||2000 - Present|
|Associate||Mulvey & Flanagan||1993 - 2000|
|Association name||Position name||Duration|
|National Trial Lawyers Association||Member||2014 - Present|
|Pennsylvania Association for Justice||Member||2001 - Present|
|Pennsylvania Bar Association||Member||1994 - Present|
|Philadelphia Bar Association||Member||1994 - Present|
|Huntingdon Valley Activities Association||Coach||N/A|
|Philadelphia Municipal Court Emergency Services||Hearing Master||N/A|
|Portfolio Media (Law360)||Willig Williams Malpractice Win Upheld In Injured Worker Case||2015|
|Philadelphia Inquirer||Pa. high court sides with widow in hepatitis case||2011|
|Philadelphia Inquirer||$70,000 in claims cost city $1 million A lawyer said the cases of worker's comp were routine. Phila. officials said defending against them was justified.||2005|
|Temple University School of Law||JD - Juris Doctor||1993|
|Lebannon Valley College||BA - Bachelor of Arts||1990|
|Delaware County Firefighters Symposium||Workers' Compensation||2016|
|Pennsylvania Professional Firefigthters Association Legislative Conference||Workers' Compensation/Occupational Disease||2015|
|Philadelphia Federation of Teachers||Workers’ Compensation||2015|
|American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees||Workers’ Compensation Act 534 and Heart & Lung Act Benefits||2015|
|International Association of Machinists||Workers’ Compensation Rights||2015|
|Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Conference||Cancer and Firefighters||2014|
|Teamster Local 384||Workers’ Compensation Rights and Obligations||2014|
|Teamster Local 463 Annually||Workers’ Compensation Rights and Obligations||2014|
|Fireman’s Legislative Federation of Pennsylvania seminar||Cancer Presumption / Workers Compensation and You||2012|
|United Food and Commercial Worker Local 1776 Annual Conference||Employer Obligations Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act||2011|
|Pennsylvania Association for Justice||Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation – Pension Offsets||2008|
|Association of Firefighters – Pennsylvania||Heart & Lung Act and Workers’ Compensation for Firefighters||2008|
|International Association of Firefighters||Occupational Disease||2007|
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