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HAMILTON v. PROCON (04/23/69)

decided: April 23, 1969.

HAMILTON, APPELLANT,
v.
PROCON, INC.



Appeal from order of Superior Court, Oct. T., 1967, No. 659, affirming judgment of Court of Common Pleas No. 4 of Philadelphia County, June T., 1966, No. 1186, in case of Helen Hamilton, widow of Harry Hamilton, deceased, v. Procon, Inc. et al.

COUNSEL

M. H. Goldstein, for appellant.

John R. Warner, with him Marshall, Dennehey & Warner, for appellees.

Thomas Lewis Jones, and White, Jones and Gregg, for amicus curiae.

Bell, C. J., Jones, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Jones. Mr. Justice Eagen and Mr. Justice Roberts concur in the result. Mr. Chief Justice Bell dissents. Mr. Justice Cohen took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: Jones

[ 434 Pa. Page 92]

This is an appeal from an order of the Superior Court affirming an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County which affirmed the Workmen's Compensation Board's denial of compensation to Helen Hamilton (appellant) for the death of her husband.

Harry Hamilton was hired by Procon, Inc., as a carpenter on February 5, 1962, and assigned to the Gulf Oil Corporation refinery located near the Penrose

[ 434 Pa. Page 93]

Avenue Bridge in Philadelphia. He worked at this site constructing wood panel forms from February 5 until his death from a heart attack on February 9. During the four days in which he worked, the ground was muddy and he was required to wear hip boots and wade in deep mud. The company employees were not permitted to park on the refinery property, so that Hamilton was forced to park seven-tenths of a mile from his work and walk that distance to the refinery in wintry weather conditions.*fn1

On Friday morning, February 9, Hamilton walked the seven-tenths of a mile. When he went to change into his work clothes, fellow employees noticed that he seemed ill and summoned an ambulance. Hamilton was dead on arrival at the hospital from arteriosclerotic heart disease.

The evidence in the record indicates that Hamilton had been previously treated for hypertension and cardiovascular heart disease but had not complained of any health problem for the two years preceding his death and had never lost any working time because of the hypertension or cardiovascular disease. Members of his immediate family testified that he became a changed man after starting to work at the refinery; he complained about the working conditions -- something he had never done before -- and showed signs of abnormal fatigue and of a greatly diminished appetite. Witnesses called by Procon testified that working conditions undergone by Hamilton before his death were not particularly unusual for members ...


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