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MORGAN v. MICHAEL BAKER (12/16/64)

decided: December 16, 1964.

MORGAN
v.
MICHAEL BAKER, JR., INC. ET AL., APPELLANTS



Appeal from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Beaver County, Dec. T., 1963, No. 187, in case of Mrs. Margaret D. Hoyman Morgan, widow of Michael D. Hoyman, v. Michael Baker, Jr., Inc. et al.

COUNSEL

Robert C. Little, with him Burns & Manley, for appellants.

J. Leonard Solomon, for appellee.

Ervin, Wright, Woodside, Watkins, Montgomery, and Flood, JJ. (Rhodes, P. J., absent). Opinion by Watkins, J.

Author: Watkins

[ 204 Pa. Super. Page 522]

This is an appeal from the judgment of the Court of Common Pleas of Beaver County entered on a decision in a workmen's compensation case in favor of the claimant.

The claimant, Margaret D. Hoyman Morgan, is the widow of Michael D. Hoyman, who died as the result of an acute pulmonary edema on February 3, 1961. He was 53 years of age and although he had no knowledge of it and although it had not previously affected his employment in any way, he was suffering from a highly sclerotic condition of the coronary arteries. The evidence shows he was in apparent good health prior to the accident.

He was employed as transportation manager for Michael Baker, Jr., Inc. His normal duties were principally administrative, although he did drive a car for the president of the corporation. He was in charge of the corporation's fleet of automobiles. He had two assistants. He began working for the corporation in July, 1958 and was so employed until his death on February 3, 1961.

On February 3, 1961, his two assistants had been assigned elsewhere so that the decedent was left alone with their duties as well as his own. On the date in question there was a heavy snowstorm so that by noon there was a fall of six to seven inches of snow. Because of the absence of his assistants and the unusual weather conditions he performed physical duties not ordinarily undertaken. His working hours were from 8:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m., and on the day in question he did not return home and he was found dead lying

[ 204 Pa. Super. Page 523]

    on the office floor. The time of death was fixed as between 5:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. on February 3, 1961. The referee made the following eighth finding of fact:

"Eighth: On February 3, 1961, the decedent reported for work at approximately 8 a.m. During the course of the day until he was last seen at about 5 p.m., the decedent, in carrying out work for the defendant, was observed in the following activities: Making several trips in and out of his office on which he would have to use a pair of stairs with 15 steps; Making at least five trips by foot through the snow 225 feet to a nearby service station; Clearing six inches of snow from Mr. Baker's car at noon and driving company officials to lunch; Using a push broom to clear snow from company cars as they arrived at the garage; Using his private car to push a company official's car just before 5 p.m.; Making at least two trips on foot through the snow to the company garage 50 yards from his office; Going from car to car to see if chains were in the trunks of the cars; and Running around to help cars that were stuck in the company lot. The decedent wore winter clothes including an overcoat and high boots on these trips outside, and when he went out he had trouble putting on his boots."

These findings were supported by competent evidence and the referee concluded that he had "overexerted himself in carrying on unusual and unexpected duties arising out of the heavy snowfall and not normally carried on by him in his capacity as transportation manager; . . .". And further "that the over-exertion and strain led to pulmonary edema, . . . and that the pulmonary edema brought about coronary insufficiency which resulted in the death . . .". He then found that the death was directly connected with the overexertion and strain ...


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