Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in case of In Re: Appeal of George W. Collins, No. 3609 April Term, 1972.
John M. McNally, Jr., First Deputy City Solicitor, with him Nicholas Panarella, Jr., Assistant City Solicitor, James M. Penny, Jr., Assistant City Solicitor, John Mattioni, Deputy City Solicitor, and Martin Weinberg, City Solicitor, for appellant.
Yale B. Bernstein, with him Stanley Bashman and Bashman, Wertheimer, Kane, Manfredi & Byrne, for appellee.
Judges Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr. and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.
[ 13 Pa. Commw. Page 644]
On January 4, 1971, George W. Collins (claimant), a police officer for the City of Philadelphia (City) since 1951, was on duty at Philadelphia International Airport when he slipped on a patch of ice, fell, and injured his lower back.*fn1 Since that time he has been on active
[ 13 Pa. Commw. Page 645]
duty for only two full days and on limited duty for approximately six months.
The claimant sought disability benefits pursuant to Regulation 32 of the City Civil Service Commission (Commission), which were denied following administrative review by the police department. He then appealed to the Commission, which found that his disability related to a pre-existing spinal condition, which was not brought about as a result of the January 4, 1971 accident, and, therefore, it denied benefits. On appeal to the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, the case was remanded to the Commission for a reevaluation of certain medical reports. The City has now appealed to this Court.
We have recently considered the application of Regulation 32 and the procedures involved thereunder in City of Philadelphia v. Hays, 13 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 621, 320 A.2d 406 (1974). As we pointed out there, appeals from the Commission are taken to the lower court pursuant to the Local Agency Law, Act of Dec. 2, 1968, P.L. 1133, 53 P.S. § 11301 et seq. On appeals therefrom to this Court, when, as here, the lower court has not held a hearing de novo, we hold that our scope of review is limited to a determination of whether or not (1) the constitutional rights of the appellant were violated by the Commission or (2) if the Commission manifestly abused its discretion or committed an error of law, and (3) the findings of fact made by the Commission are supported by substantial evidence. We also held that in considering claims brought pursuant to Regulation 32, the procedures to be followed are those set forth in the said regulation, in the City Home Rule Charter, and in the Local Agency Law, and, as to substantive
[ 13 Pa. Commw. Page 646]
questions, we approved the use of appropriate precedents under the Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act*fn2 relating to similar issues arising under Regulation 32.
Since there is no doubt that the claimant suffered an accident and that an injury resulted therefrom, the essential question before the Commission was whether the claimant's disability was a result of such accident and injury or if it ...