Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Lee & Betty Sweitzer, Parents of Larry E. Sweitzer, Deceased, v. Stanley L. Kreider & Allen B. Shirk and Harleysville Mutual Insurance Co., Insurance Carrier, A-66309.
W. Jeffrey Sidebottom, with him Paul A. Mueller, Jr., and Barley, Snyder, Cooper & Mueller, for appellants.
Michael J. Perezous, for appellees.
Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Kramer.
This is a direct administrative agency appeal from an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) affirming an award of workmen's compensation benefits for a partial dependency to Lee Sweitzer and Betty Sweitzer (Claimants), who are the parents of Larry E. Sweitzer, deceased (Sweitzer), against Stanley L. Kreider and Allen B. Shirk (employer) and the employer's insurance carrier, Harleysville Mutual Insurance Company.
The employer took its appeal to this Court contesting the said compensation award in the amount of $25 per week for the lifetimes of the Claimants. First, the employer asserts that the record does not support the amount of the award, and, secondly, it contests the duration of the award.
The facts are not in dispute. The Claimant's son was fatally injured due to an instantaneous cardiac arrest caused by electrocution in the course of his employment with the employer on August 31, 1971. Sweitzer was 19 years of age at the time of his death. Sweitzer had been contributing to the support of his parents (Claimants) in the amount of $15 per week in addition to other household expenses, such as utility bills. The employer has frankly stated to this Court that it is not contesting (1) that Sweitzer was their
employee, (2) that Sweitzer was fatally injured while in the course of his employment, or (3) that Sweitzer's parents were partially dependent upon their minor son.
With regard to Claimants' substantive rights, we refer to the pertinent provisions of the Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act (Act), Act of June 2, 1915, P.L. 736, in effect at the time of Sweitzer's death, i.e., Section 307 of the Act, as amended by the Act of January 17, 1968, P.L. 6, Section 1, 77 P.S. § 561.*fn1 See Universal Cyclops Steel Corporation et al. v. Krawsczynski, 9 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 176, 305 A.2d 757 (1973).
Our scope of review where the Board has affirmed the award of a referee granting benefits to the Claimant is to determine whether there is substantial evidence to support the award and to determine whether the Board and referee have committed an error of law. See Nash v. Sandnes' Sons, Inc., 6 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 403, 295 A.2d 615 (1973); Bambrick v. Asten Hill Manufacturing Co., 5 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 664, 291 A.2d 354 (1972). Employer's first contention is that in the 1968 amendment to the Act, the Legislature deleted a portion of Section 307 of the Act, which stated that compensation benefits due parents of a deceased employee were limited to 500 weeks of compensation benefits, and that therefore, by such deletion the Legislature created a hiatus. The employer argues, that without such a statement in the Act providing for the number of weeks (or other duration) of payments, the Board was without legislative ...