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GILBERT v. ARONIMINK COUNTRY CLUB ET AL. (03/20/69)

decided: March 20, 1969.

GILBERT
v.
ARONIMINK COUNTRY CLUB ET AL., APPELLANTS



Appeals from orders of Court of Common Pleas No. 10 of Philadelphia County, Dec. T., 1965, No. 2024, and Court of Common Pleas No. 4 of Philadelphia County, March T., 1966, No. 5531, in case of Ida E. Gilbert, widow of Francis W. Gilbert, v. Aronimink Country Club et al.

COUNSEL

Raymond J. Porreca, for appellants.

Carl M. Mazzocone, with him Sheer & Mazzocone, for appellee.

Wright, P. J., Watkins, Montgomery, Jacobs, Hoffman, Spaulding, and Hannum, JJ. Opinion by Jacobs, J.

Author: Jacobs

[ 214 Pa. Super. Page 72]

These appeals to us in a workmen's compensation case question the jurisdiction of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County to hear claimant-appellee's appeals to that court from decisions of the Workmen's Compensation Board. The record discloses the following salient facts.

On November 6, 1961, claimant Ida E. Gilbert, widow of Francis W. Gilbert, deceased, filed a fatal claim petition under the Workmen's Compensation Act alleging that her husband died on June 14, 1961, as a result of injuries suffered on May 6, 1961, in Delaware County during the course of his employment with defendant Aronimink Country Club. The referee entered an award in favor of the claimant but the Workmen's Compensation Board reversed and later denied a petition for rehearing. The claimant appealed the Board's orders to the Courts of Common Pleas of Philadelphia and the defendant employer and insurance carrier filed petitions to quash on the ground that the Philadelphia courts lacked jurisdiction to hear the appeals. The lower court refused to quash.

Jurisdiction of appeals from the Workmen's Compensation Board is governed by section 427 of the Workmen's Compensation Act, 77 P.S. ยง 872, which provides: "Any party may appeal from any action of the board on matters of the law to the court of common pleas of the county in which the accident occurred or of the county in which the adverse party resides or has a permanent place of business, or, by agreement of the parties, to the court of common pleas of any other county of this Commonwealth: . . ."*fn1

[ 214 Pa. Super. Page 73]

The decedent's initial injuries included a black eye, a bloody nose and a blow to the side of his head, and were incurred in an altercation with a member of the defendant country club on the employer's premises in Delaware County. After first being admitted to a Delaware County hospital, he was transferred to Episcopal Hospital in Philadelphia where he died. The permanent place of business of the adverse party, the defendant employer, was in Delaware County and there was no agreement of the parties to take an appeal to the court of common pleas of any other county. Thus, unless the accident occurred in Philadelphia County, it would appear that none of the statutory conditions which would invest jurisdiction of the subject matter in a Philadelphia Common Pleas Court were present in this case.

The court below, after stating the issue to be "whether or not the accident occurred in Philadelphia County thereby giving the Common Pleas Court jurisdiction for purposes of appeal," held that jurisdiction is properly laid not only in the county where the accident occurred, but also in the county where the accidental force had its final effect. The court reasoned as follows: "An accident for which compensation is sought consists of an unforeseen or untoward event and an injury resulting therefrom. If the situs of the traumatic experience occurs in one place, and a death thereafter ensued, the situs of the accident is the place where the final effect of the traumatic experience manifested itself, and in this case, death occurred in Philadelphia County." Under this analysis, the court found that its jurisdiction for the purpose of appeal was coextensive with the courts of Delaware County.

Although as a general proposition the Workmen's Compensation Act is remedial and should be liberally construed, the section of the ...


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