Frank R. Ambler, Webster S. Achey, Philadelphia, for appellants.
T. Sidney Cadwallader, David A. Clarke, Morrisville, for appellee.
Before Rhodes, P.j., and Hirt, Reno, Dithrich, Ross, Arnold and Gunther, JJ.
[ 170 Pa. Super. Page 16]
Claimant in this workmen's compensation case claimed compensation for total disability as the result
[ 170 Pa. Super. Page 17]
of an alleged accident sustained in the course of his employment with the defendant on December 19, 1948. The referee in awarding compensation found that claimant suffered a heart attack while shoveling snow in the course of his employment with defendant, and concluded that such event constituted an accident within the meaning of the Workmen's Compensation Act, 77 P.S. § 1 et seq. The Workmen's Compensation Board affirmed the referee's findings of fact, conclusions of law, and the award. The Board in its opinion also said that claimant was not doing his usual work when he became ill, and indicated that his exertion in shoveling snow was the cause of his heart condition. The Board further stated that claimant had been examined by his physician a month or two before December 19, 1948, and that his heart auscultation was normal. The court below on appeal affirmed the Board on the ground that claimant was entitled to the inference that his heart was injured by unusual exertion or overexertion. From the judgment entered against defendant, defendant and its insurance carrier appealed.
Claimant was 66 years of age and employed by defendant as a watchman, having various duties in and about defendant's plant. He had been employed by defendant for four years. Previously he had worked as a carpenter, but abandoned this employment following a 'cerebral episode' in 1944. Prior to December 19, 1948, claimant had been treated for prostatitis, diabetes, and a sclerotic condition. His condition followed the cerebral episode or stroke in 1944. On December 19, 1948, there was a heavy snowfall in the vicinity of defendant's plant. It began about 6 p. m. and the snow reached the depth of approximately thirty inches to three feet. About 10 p.m., when the sidewalks required shoveling, claimant worked for ten to fifteen minutes and then went to the boiler room in defendant's plant where he stayed for twenty to thirty minutes. Later
[ 170 Pa. Super. Page 18]
he did some more shoveling and as he finished at 11 p.m. he became short of breath. He went home, and his physician diagnosed his ailment as coronary thrombosis with acute congestive heart failure. During the four years of his employment with defendant, shoveling snow was a part of his duties, contrary to the statement in the Board's opinion. Claimant testified:
'Q. Before December 19 have you ever shoveled snow for them? A. Oh, yes.
'Q. How many times? A. Every time it snowed. * * * I was ...