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WEBSTER v. GROVE CITY COLLEGE. (06/13/62)

June 13, 1962

WEBSTER, APPELLANT,
v.
GROVE CITY COLLEGE.



Appeal, No. 68, April T., 1962, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Mercer County, Sept. T., 1961, No. 41, in case of Grover C. Webster v. Grove City College et al. Order affirmed.

COUNSEL

Henry S. Moore, for claimant, appellant.

William J. Joyce, with him Wiesen, Cusick, Madden, Joyce, Acker and McKay, for employer, appellee.

Benjamin Diamond, Special Assistant Attorney General, with him Wilson H. Oldhouser, Assistant Attorney General, and David Stahl, Attorney General, for Commonwealth, appellee.

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

Author: Watkins

[ 198 Pa. Super. Page 477]

OPINION BY WATKINS, J.

This is an appeal from the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Mercer County affirming the decision of the Workmen's Compensation Board which disallowed compensation for the claimant, Grover C. Webster, for total disability resulting from silicosis.

He was employed as a coal miner from 1900 to 1918, from 1934 to 1940 and for eleven months in 1942. From March, 1943 to January, 1956 he was employed as a maintenance man by Grove City College. In that capacity his work included the care of the furnace and boilers that heated the college gymnasium and swimming pool. In doing this he shoveled coal from a bin adjacent to the boiler room into a hopper that fed the furnace and removed the ashes from the furnace. The boiler room was fifteen feet square and ten feet in height and contained no exhaust device to eliminate the coal and ash dust.

He was found to be suffering from silicosis on May 19, 1959, while he was a patient at Cresson State Hospital. At an earlier admission in 1956 his condition had been diagnosed, apparently erroneously, as tuberculosis. There was medical evidence that he was totally disabled as a result of silicosis. The claimant filed his petition under the Pennsylvania Occupational Disease Act of 1956, P.L. 1095, as amended, 77 PS § 1401, alleging total disability as the result of silicosis. The referee awarded compensation but on appeal, the Workmen's Compensation Board reversed and the court below affirmed the Workmen's Compensation Board.

The burden of proof of the silica hazard is an essential part of the claimant's case, as also, is proof of the necessary aggregate employment in an occupation or industry having a silica hazard. If the disease is a hazard of the claimant's occupation or industry, the claimant would have been under no burden to go further

[ 198 Pa. Super. Page 478]

    with proof of causation and the burden of going forward with proof would shift to the defendant to show the absence of casual connection. Metz v. Quakertown Stove Works, 156 Pa. Superior Ct. 70, 39 A.2d 534 (1944). However, in this case, there was no proof that his occupation was ...


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