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WITTERS v. HARRISBURG STEEL CORPORATION. (06/11/57)

June 11, 1957

WITTERS, APPELLANT,
v.
HARRISBURG STEEL CORPORATION.



Appeal, No. 13, March T., 1956, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, Sept. T., 1954, No. 892, in case of George J. Witters v. Harrisburg Steel Corporation. Order affirmed.

COUNSEL

Robert E. Horner, with him Elmer E. Harter, Jr., for appellant.

Solomon Hurwitz, with him Hurwitz, Klein, Myers & Benjamin, for appellee.

Before Rhodes, P.j., Hirt, Gunther, Wright, Woodside, Ervin, and Watkins, JJ.

Author: Wright

[ 183 Pa. Super. Page 452]

OPINION BY WRIGHT, J.

George J. Witters seeks compensation under The Pennsylvania Occupational Disease Act.*fn1 On January 27, 1953, he filed a claim petition alleging that he became totally disabled from silicosis on February 4, 1952, as a result of employment continuously since 1932 in an occupation having a silica hazard. The Referee disallowed the claim. Upon appeal to the Workmen's Compensation Board the decision of the Referee was affirmed. A further appeal was taken to the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, which tribunal, in an able opinion by Judge SOHN,*fn2 sustained the decision of the Board. This appeal to the Superior Court followed.

The findings of fact of the Referee, affirmed by the Board, included the following: "Seventh: That the claimant did not have an aggregate employment in excess of four years in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as an employe of the defendant company during the period of eight years next preceding the date of disability in an occupation having a silica hazard. Eighth: That the claimant is not totally disabled as a direct result of silicosis contracted while he was engaged as an employe of the defendant company".

[ 183 Pa. Super. Page 453]

Appellant's statement of the questions involved is as follows: "A. The Workmen's Compensation Board erred in that it failed to make proper Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, especially underlying Findings of Fact, and that it failed to properly apply law to fact. B. There is no competent, probative evidence to sustain the Workmen's Compensation Board's alleged Findings of Fact".

Section 418 of the Act (77 P.S. 1518) provides that the Board or Referee shall make "such findings of fact, conclusions of law, and award or disallowance of compensation, or other order, as the petition and answers and the evidence produced before it or him and the provisions of this act shall, in its or his judgment, require". In our view, the findings of fact in the case at bar are sufficiently definite to enable the court properly to perform the duties imposed upon it. See Icenhour v. Freedom Oil Works Co., 145 Pa. Superior Ct. 168, 20 A.2d 817; Eldridge v. Blue Ridge Textile Co., 160 Pa. Superior Ct. 578, 52 A.2d 339. "It was for the referee, and on appeal, the Workmen's Compensation Board, as the fact finding body, to determine whether from all the evidence the claimant had sustained the burden resting on him, and their finding that he had not, was a pure finding of fact which is not reviewable by the courts": Frederick v. Berwind-White Coal Co., 115 Pa. Superior Ct. 581, 176 A. 60.

Appellant's position is that he was employed in an industry wherein the occupational disease of silicosis was a hazard. He testified that the air in which he worked was full of sand which he was constantly inhaling. However, the compensation authorities found, upon testimony offered by the employer, that claimant had not been exposed to the dust of silicon dioxide as expressly ...


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