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UNIVERSAL CYCLOPS STEEL CORPORATION v. KRAWCZYNSKI (06/11/73)

decided: June 11, 1973.

UNIVERSAL CYCLOPS STEEL CORPORATION, ET AL.
v.
KRAWCZYNSKI



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Joseph P. Krawczynski v. Universal Cyclops Steel Corporation and Pennsylvania Manufacturers' Association Insurance Company, Insurance Carrier, No. A-64327.

COUNSEL

Roy F. Walters, Jr., with him Brandt, McManus, Brandt & Malone, for appellants.

Ralph A. Davies, with him Thomson, Rhodes & Grigsby, for appellee.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Blatt.

Author: Blatt

[ 9 Pa. Commw. Page 178]

This is an appeal by Universal Cyclops Steel Corporation (employer) from an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board awarding compensation to Joseph P. Krawczynski (claimant) for an injury caused by an accident occurring in the course of his employment.

The facts are confusing and disputed, but apparently on September 13, 1966, the claimant was working as a charger-helper on the 4:00 p.m. to 12:00 midnight shift. The claimant was a union committeeman, and soon after arriving at work he informed his supervisors that, due to a dispute involving the disciplining of some other workmen, the men were going to walk off their jobs at 8:00 p.m. that night. This walkout was apparently not sanctioned by the union. Being forewarned, certain management officials closed all exits from the plant except one, and certain of the officials stationed themselves at that exit.

Shortly after 8:00 p.m., the claimant and about 30 other workmen approached this exit with the avowed purpose of leaving the plant. The claimant, who was in the lead, had his path blocked by J. E. Collery (Collery), the employer's Manager of Industrial Relations. The testimony is in controversy as to what happened next. According to the claimant Collery told him that no one was leaving unless it was "over his dead body." The claimant says that he then attempted to step around Collery but that Collery shoved him with his hand and pushed him against the corner of the building, causing the claimant to slide to the ground. Collery, on the other hand, testified that his sole purpose for being at the gate was to advise the workers that they were participating in an unauthorized strike and to persuade

[ 9 Pa. Commw. Page 179]

    them to return to work. He indicated that, although there might have been some physical contact between himself and the claimant, he did not shove the claimant against the wall, and in fact permitted the claimant to pass around him. Eyewitnesses were produced to support each story. In any case, it is undisputed that the claimant then proceeded past Collery, made a phone call, and finally returned to work with the other employees.

Thereafter the claimant began to experience head, neck and back problems, and consulted a physician. He testified that he could no longer do his normal work, and, in fact, that he worked only one or two days after the alleged accident on September 13. Payroll records introduced by the employer, however, as well as the testimony of several witnesses, indicated that the claimant continued working until the end of September and did not consult the plant nurse regarding his alleged injuries until September 27, 1966. He clearly has not returned to work since the end of September, 1966, and, during October of that year, he was hospitalized for two weeks; he has since been regularly under a doctor's care.

The claimant filed a claim petition seeking benefits pursuant to The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act, Act of June 2, 1915, P.L. 736, 77 P.S. §§ 1 et seq. Hearings were held before three different referees. The claimant presented three medical witnesses while the employer presented none. Dr. Cyril R. Allen, Jr., testified that the claimant was suffering from severe headaches, dizziness and a lumbo-sacral problem with muscle spasms and backaches, that these were the result of being shoved against the wall, and that he is totally disabled thereby. Dr. Walter W. Hiller, Jr., a psychiatrist, testified that he had examined the claimant and found that he had a traumatic type of neurosis which contributed, possibly to a great extent, to his

[ 9 Pa. Commw. Page 180]

    physical complaints and was itself disabling. Dr. Hiller believed that this neurosis was triggered by the confrontation between the claimant and Collery, and might have resulted whether or not the claimant was actually struck by Collery. Dr. John B. Blakely, an orthopedic surgeon, found that the claimant had sustained sprains of his cervical spine and thoracic spine, on top of pre-existing degenerative changes, and attributed these to the alleged accident of September 13, 1966. Although he found the claimant unfit for ...


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