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PORTER v. STERLING SUPPLY CORP. ET AL. (04/14/64)

April 14, 1964

PORTER
v.
STERLING SUPPLY CORP. ET AL., APPELLANTS.



Appeals, Nos. 114 and 115, Oct. T., 1964, from judgments of Court of Common Pleas No. 3 of Philadelphia County, Dec. T., 1962, Nos. 4488 and 4489, in case of Mrs. Elmira B. Porter, widow of William B. Porter, v. Sterling Supply Corp. et al. Judgments reversed.

COUNSEL

Roger B. Wood, with him Joseph R. Thompson, for appellants.

Don F. D'Agui, for appellee.

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

Author: Ervin

[ 203 Pa. Super. Page 139]

OPINION BY ERVIN, J.

On July 24, 1961, Claim Petition No. 165,565 was filed with the Workmen's Compensation Board by the deceased claimant, William B. Porter, alleging that he

[ 203 Pa. Super. Page 140]

    was disabled by pulmonary emphysema, an occupational disease compensable under § 108(n) of The Pennsylvania Occupational Disease Act. After the claim petition had been duly answered and after one hearing had been held before Referee Alessandroni, the claimant, William B. Porter, died on November 20, 1961. Subsequently, Fatal Claim Petition No. 167,155 was filed with the Workmen's Compensation Board by Elmira B. Porter, the widow of William B. Porter, alleging that her husband had died as the result of an occupational disease incurred in a hazardous employment. After further hearings, the referee made awards in both claims. The employer and its insurance carrier and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania appealed from the referee's awards to the Workmen's Compensation Board. The board affirmed the findings of fact and conclusions of law of the referee and dismissed the appeals. The employer and its insurance carrier then appealed to the court below. The court below affirmed the decision of the Workmen's Compensation Board, holding that the factual findings of the board could not be disturbed and that the pulmonary emphysema of the decedent was an occupational disease within the meaning of § 108(n) of The Pennsylvania Occupational Disease Act, 77 PS § 1208(n). The employer and its insurance carrier have appealed from the judgments of the court below.

The claimant, approximately 65 years of age at the time of the hearing, had been employed for approximately 20 years by the defendant company, which was engaged in the manufacture of laundry supplies. He testified that his duties involved changing cars of chlorine, changing cylinders of ammonia, and changing valves whenever necessary. On two separate occasions he had been hospitalized after being rendered unconscious by a concentration of chlorine fumes when exposed to same after a valve had split. He further testified

[ 203 Pa. Super. Page 141]

    that frequently while changing a valve he would get a puff of gas which made him cough for hours.

In May 1960 the plant relocated to a new site and his duties then included working with the following chemicals: perchlorethylene, ammonia, amyl acetate, acetic acid fifty-six per cent, acetone, hydrogen peroxide one hundred volume, oxalic acid, carbon tetrachloride. The company's chemist also testified that claimant was exposed to these fumes in addition to chlorine, caustic and perchlorethylene. The chemist also testified the chlorine gas is a respiratory irritant which irritates the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose and lungs. He further testified that two or three times ...


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