Appeals, Nos. 147 and 173, April T., 1961, from order Natural Gas Company. In appeal of employer, order T., 1959, No. 241, in case of John A. Yeager v. United Natural Gas Company. In appeal of employer, order reversed; in appeal of claimant, order affirmed; reargument refused January 11, 1962.
Marc Lincoln Marks, with him B. H. Marks, and Marks & Marks, for claimant.
W. Allen Dill, with him Fruit & Francis, for employer.
Before Ervin, Wright, Woodside, Watkins, Montgomery, and Flood, JJ. (rhodes, P.j., absent).
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The only question involved in this appeal is whether the claimant in a workmen's compensation case filed an appeal to the board from a decision of the referee within the time allowed by statute. The board quashed the appeal on the ground it was filed too late, but the
[ 197 Pa. Super. Page 27]
court below held that the board erred in doing so and directed the board to pass upon the case on its merits. The employer appealed to this Court. There is also an appeal by the claimant which must be considered.
The claimant suffered a back injury while in the course of his employment in 1955. when the case was before the referee the only question was the extent of the disability. The claimant offered the opinion of an osteopathic physician that he was totally disabled, and the employer offered the opinion of an orthopedic specialist that the claimant was only partially disabled. After the referee decided that the claimant was entitled to an award for total disability and the employer appealed, the board returned the case to the referee for the purpose of appointing impartial physicians and receiving their testimony. Upon receiving the additional evidence, the referee decided that the claimant was entitled to only partial disability and entered an award accordingly.
A copy of the referee's award was sent to counsel for the claimant on December 4, 1958. The claimant filed an appeal January 15, 1959. Under § 423 of the Workmen's Compensation Act of June 2, 1915, P.L. 736, as amended, 77 P.S. § 853, an appeal from the referee to the board must be taken by a party "... within twenty days after notice of a referee's award or disallowance of compensation shall have been served upon him." The section authorizes the board, for cause shown, to extend the time for taking such appeal.
The employer moved to quash the appeal. The claimant answered as follows: "The Award by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Labor and Industry, Workmen's Compensation Board, was sent out on December 4th, 1958. The notification of this Award was sent to Claimant's counsel at their address on Broadway, Farrell, ...