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HAMILTON v. ALBERT M. GREENFIELD (11/12/57)

November 12, 1957

HAMILTON, APPELLANT,
v.
ALBERT M. GREENFIELD, INC.



Appeal, No. 289, Oct. T., 1957, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas No. 2 of Philadelphia County, March T., 1957, No. 3025, in case of Joseph A. Hamilton v. Albert M. Greenfield, Inc. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Perrin C. Hamilton, with him Hamilton, Smith & Darmopray, for appellant.

Raymond J. Porreca, with him Raymond A. White, Jr., for appellee.

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

Author: Hirt

[ 184 Pa. Super. Page 444]

OPINION BY HIRT, J.

The claimant was a painter in the employ of the defendant. On July 21, 1955 he, with another employe, was painting a washroom in the Land Title Building in Philadelphia. In the course of the work, according to claimant's testimony, it became necessary to move a stepladder which supported one end of a plank on which the men were working. Claimant testified that he climbed down from the plank to the floor below while the other painter remained on the plank; and that in his attempt to move the ladder he said he felt a severe pain in his chest as though he had "pulled a muscle" and he fell to his knees on the floor. A half-hour later he was taken to Jefferson Hospital. He was put to bed where he was obliged to stay for twenty-one days. As an ambulatory patient he remained in the hospital for two additional weeks. He hasn't worked since, and in this case he sought workmen's compensation alleging that his total disability resulted from accident.

The referee found that claimant in moving a ladder suffered an accident, inferentially from over-exertion and accordingly entered an award for total disability. The board however set aside the referee's findings and, for them, substituted the following: "On July 21, 1955,

[ 184 Pa. Super. Page 445]

    while in the employ of the defendant, claimant suffered an ailment, and did not meet his burden of proof as to the nature, cause and resulting disability which he subsequently suffered." And in reversing the referee the board concluded as a matter of law: "Since the claimant has failed to prove that his disability resulted from an accident within the meaning of the Act and further since he failed to prove the cause of his disability, he is not entitled to compensation." Accordingly claimant's petition was dismissed; on appeal judgment was entered for the defendant by the court.

Disability overtaking an employe at work is not compensable unless it is the result of an accident. Good v. Pa. Dept. of Prop. & Sup. et al., 346 Pa. 151, 30 A.2d 434. And an accident cannot be inferred merely from an injury (Adamchick v. Wyoming Val. Col. Co., 332 Pa. 401, 3 A.2d 377); there must be evidence, either direct or circumstantial of an accident, together with proof of resulting injury to justify an award of compensation. Ferraro v. Pgh. Term, Coal Corp., 142 Pa. Superior Ct. 22, 15 A.2d 559. The record in this case indicates that claimant while painting had suffered a sudden onset of severe chest pains in 1955 and was then taken to the hospital for relief. About two years later he had a similar seizure while carrying bricks. He also had suffered chest pains from infected teeth. Moving ladders was a part of claimant's regular work. The principle of Rovere v. Interstate Cemetery Co., 164 Pa. Superior Ct. 233, 63 A.2d 388 therefore does not apply, and claimant did not allege nor prove aggravation of a pre-existing condition under circumstances from which a compensable accident could be inferred. Cf. Rathmell v. Wesleyville Borough, 351 Pa. 14, 40 A.2d 28.

Although the board disallowed compensation these appeals are not ruled by an answer to the question (as, e.g., in Kostello v. ...


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