Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County in case of Charles R. Williams v. Spaulding Bakeries, Inc., Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Utica Mutual Insurance Co., No. 464 October Term, 1972.
J. P. Harris, Jr., with him John H. Kennedy and Harris, Johnston & Maguire, for appellants, employer and insurance carrier.
William R. Mosolino, with him Samuel C. Vary, Assistant Attorney General, for appellant, Commonwealth.
Israel T. Klapper, with him Thomas J. Carlyon and Falvello, Ustynoski, Giuliani and Bernstein, for appellee.
Judges Crumlish, Jr., Mencer and Rogers, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr.
[ 14 Pa. Commw. Page 528]
Consolidated here are appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County affirming a decision and order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board which granted compensation to a claimant, Charles K. Williams, for total disability attributed to pulmonary emphysema and fibrosis from the inhalation of flour dust during the course of his employment by Spaulding Bakeries, Inc. The Board concurred in a referee's apparent conclusion that claimant was entitled to compensation because his condition is an occupational disease under Section 108(n) of The Pennsylvania Occupational Disease Act, Act of June 21, 1939, P.L. 566, as amended, 77 P.S. § 1208(n). The issue for our consideration is whether there is competent evidence of record to support this determination. Allegheny Pittsburgh Coal Company v. Bernard Ostroski, 12 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 1, 315 A.2d 895 (1974).
Claimant filed the instant occupational disease claim petition on May 6, 1969, alleging total disability from "Baker's Asthma"*fn1 as of April 21, 1969, the last
[ 14 Pa. Commw. Page 529]
day of his employment by Spaulding Bakeries, Inc. He had been employed by Spaulding in various capacities from 1934 to the date of disability, interrupted only by two years of military service. The claimant's work history as well as the genesis of his present disability are fairly represented by the testimony of Dr. H. L. Auerbach, a medical expert called on behalf of the claimant.
"Q. Can you give us a history of this man's disability?
"A. Yes, he had been ill for a number of years when I first saw him in the hospital in February of 1968. We concluded at that time that he was disabled from chronic pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema. When I saw him again for examination on June 24, 1970, we confirmed that finding. He had all the classical and clinical signs and symptoms. His total vital capacity was 35%; the first second was 53% and the maximum breathing capacity was 25%. It is my opinion that he is totally and permanently disabled from pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema, and the question was raised about the cause of this, in view of the fact that he had worked in the bakery for many years. The history that I obtained from the man was that he had held various jobs in the Spaulding Bakery, beginning in 1935 and ending after twenty-five years; that during that time, he spent eight years on the road as a salesman. For the rest of that time, he was inside the plant, including five years from 1939 to 1944, when he was actively engaged in dumping flour ...