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SHICK v. RIMERSBURG METHODIST CHURCH. (06/15/60)

June 15, 1960

SHICK, APPELLANT,
v.
RIMERSBURG METHODIST CHURCH.



Appeal, No. 34, April T., 1960, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Clarion County, May T., 1959, No. 33, in case of Roll M. Shick v. Rimersburg Methodist Church et al. Order reversed and record remanded.

COUNSEL

H. Ray Pope, Jr., for appellant.

Elmer G. Klaber, for appellees.

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

Author: Gunther

[ 192 Pa. Super. Page 528]

OPINION BY GUNTHER, J.

In this workmen's compensation case, Roll M. Shick, appellant, has filed an appeal from the judgment and order of the court below in sustaining the exceptions of Rimersburg Methodist Church and General Accident Fœ Assurance Corporation, appellees, to the order of the Workmen's Compensation Board, directing them to make payment in accordance with the order entered.

Appellant was employed by the Rimersburg Methodist Church in connection with an expansion program which called for the conversion of the cellar into a Sunday School room. This work had been approved by the congregation and was to last for a considerable period of time. Appellant began to work for the Church on January 7, 1957, continued intermittently until January 24, 1957, and thereafter worked steadily until January 29, 1957. While working in the basement area, a tractor high lift was operating in the small enclosure without proper ventilation. During

[ 192 Pa. Super. Page 529]

    work, appellant sustained severe pains in his chest and went home and called his family physician.

Appellant was subsequently hospitalized and was unable to return to work from that time on. He filed a claim for compensation and a hearing was held on July 26, 1957, at which time claimant appeared without counsel. The referee handed down his decision stating that the physician attending appellant at the hospital was of the opinion that the inhalation of fumes from the tractor could have caused the claimant's heart attack but, nevertheless, concluded that because the claimant was not an employe of the appellee church in the regular course of its business, and that the work was casual, he was not entitled to compensation.

After the appeal period had expired, appellant sought legal counsel, and a petition to reopen and reconsider the claim was filed with the board. The board concluded that there were serious legal questions raised and because the referee may have erred on points of law with respect to casual employment and usual course of business of the employer, and because the claimant was unaware of his rights, not represented by counsel, it ordered the case reopened. A further hearing was held on May 22, 1958, at which the claimant offered the medical testimony of Dr. David L. Miller who conducted the cardiogram study of appellant. Dr. Miller testified that the breathing of fumes from the tractor was an important precipitating factor to appellant's myocardial infarction with permanent damage resulting. In addition, further testimony was offered to show that the work ...


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