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BONADUCE v. TRANSCONTINENTAL GAS PIPE LINE CORPORATION. (09/16/59)

September 16, 1959

BONADUCE, APPELLANT,
v.
TRANSCONTINENTAL GAS PIPE LINE CORPORATION.



Appeal, No. 169, Oct. T., 1959, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Chester County, July T., 1958, No. 138, in case of John C. Bonaduce v. Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Corporation et al. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

William L. McLaughlin, for appellant.

Frank R. Ambler, for appellees.

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

Author: Hirt

[ 190 Pa. Super. Page 320]

OPINION BY HIRT, J.

This is a workmen's compensation case; claimant had been in the employ of Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Corporation since 1951; he was promoted on October 1954 to the job of "auxiliary engineer". His ordinary duties consisted in "reading charts, placing charts, wiping, light work on engines and reporting pressures" to his superior. We will refer to these units of machinery as engines, as they are called in this record, although they in fact probably were compressors. Claimant's duties also included keeping "Station 20", which housed the machinery, clean and in order. The job involved heavy work only occasionally, except during a period of 8 days in each year when his employer overhauled the six engines at this plant. Year after year claimant with his consent, voluntarily, by election, became a member of the group assigned to the work of tearing down the engines, removing the pistons and reassembling the parts after the overhaul. Each year the work schedule was the same. To complete the operation within the allotted period, workdays of 12 hours each were imposed. There were rest periods, however, and times out for food.

[ 190 Pa. Super. Page 321]

Claimant's principal work consisted in helping remove the rings from the pistons, each weighing about 2 pounds, and cleaning them on an electric buffer. Most of claimant's time was spent on this light work.

Dismantling the engines and reassembling them after the overhaul involved some heavy work. Claimant with a fellow employe, working from a cat-walk "up on the engine about 7 or 8 steps" removed the bolts from the head over the pistons by means of an electric air wrench weighing between 35 and 40 pounds. And after the pistons were re-installed and "after the engine runs" it was claimant's responsibility to check the bolts, we assume to see that they were screwed down tight, by means of the electric wrench held chest high by the workman. This operation had been completed by claimant with a helper on four of the engines. In the late afternoon of June 8, 1955, the eighth and last day of the overhaul job claimant alone was working on the fifth engine. While checking the bolts with the air wrench he felt a sharp pain across his chest. He thought he "must have torn a muscle apart" but he finished his assignment on that particular operation working at a slower pace. The next day he returned to his general duties and worked until June 14 when he suffered another severe attack, following intermittent periods of pain in a lesser degree. He then consulted his family physician, Dr. Andrew J. Lotz, a general practitioner, who concluded that there was a "strong probability that this man was having coronary trouble" and he had him admitted to a hospital for further study.

The referee initially found that claimant was not entitled to compensation on the conclusion that his disability "was the result of natural causes and had no relation to his work." In its opinion filed one year later the board on appeal indicated that it had concluded that claimant was entitled to compensation.

[ 190 Pa. Super. Page 322]

And the board remanded the case to the referee for the single "purpose of hearing testimony offered by claimant and defendant as to the degree of claimant's disability, if any, subsequent to November 26, 1956, when he began work following his accident and injury." The referee after the remand hearing awarded compensation for reasons which are apparent, and the board affirmed. The lower court however reversed on a question of law as to whether the findings are ...


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