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HERRINGSHAW v. TRAVELERS AID SOCIETY ET AL. (09/16/65)

decided: September 16, 1965.

HERRINGSHAW
v.
TRAVELERS AID SOCIETY ET AL., APPELLANTS



Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas No. 7 of Philadelphia County, June T., 1964, No. 4262, in case of Joanne Herringshaw v. Travelers Aid Society et al.

COUNSEL

Richard D. Harburg, with him Swartz, Campbell & Detweiler, for appellants.

Albert R. Subers, for appellee.

Ervin, P. J., Wright, Watkins, Montgomery, Flood, Jacobs, and Hoffman, JJ. Opinion by Watkins, J.

Author: Watkins

[ 206 Pa. Super. Page 220]

This is an appeal in a workmen's compensation case by the appellants, Travelers Aid Society and National Union Fire Insurance Co., its insurance carrier, from an order of the Court of Common Pleas No. 5 of Philadelphia County affirming the decision of the Workmen's Compensation Board that determined that the claim of Joanne Herringshaw, the claimant-appellee, was not barred by the statute of limitations.

The claimant filed a petition January 25, 1963 which alleged that she had been injured July 13, 1961 when her chair in which she was seated broke apart, dropping her to the floor, causing a herniated intervertebral disc and other injuries. She had been employed as a case worker for the appellants. The appellants raised the question of the statute of limitations and it was stipulated by counsel at the hearing before the referee that medical testimony would be reserved so that the sole question to be decided was whether the claim was barred by § 315 of the Workmen's Compensation Act, 77 PS § 1415, which requires that the claimant must file her petition within sixteen months after compensable disability begins.

The referee found as a fact: That the claimant was lulled into a false sense of security by assurances from the defendant or its representative that a claim petition had been filed in the claimant's behalf by the

[ 206 Pa. Super. Page 221]

    employer shortly after the accident; that the claimant relying on that assurance failed to file a claim within sixteen months of the date of the accident; and concluded as a matter of law, "that since the claimant was lulled into a sense of security . . . the defendant is estopped from raising the defense of the bar of the statute . . ."

The board affirmed the referee holding that the claimant had sustained her burden of proof that the appellant had misled her and lulled her into a false sense of security resulting in the untimely filing of her claim.

In Thorn v. Strawbridge & Clothier, 191 Pa. Superior Ct. 59, 155 A.2d 414 (1959), at page 62, this Court stated the law to be that:

"The courts may not extend the period ex gratia in aid of a meritorious claim or to relieve against the hardship of ...


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