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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. CITY OIL CITY AND WILLIAM L. HANEL (11/06/74)

decided: November 6, 1974.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLANT,
v.
CITY OF OIL CITY AND WILLIAM L. HANEL, APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Venango County in cases of William L. Hanel v. City of Oil City and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, No. 24 January Term, 1973.

COUNSEL

Joseph F. Strain, with him Samuel C. Vary, Assistant Attorney General, and Edward A. Mihalik, Counsel, for appellant.

Ralph L. Montgomery, Jr., with him F. Walter Bloom, III, City Solicitor, for appellee, City of Oil City.

John McFate, for appellee, William L. Hanel.

Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer and Wilkinson, Jr., sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Wilkinson.

Author: Wilkinson

[ 15 Pa. Commw. Page 545]

This case involves the inter-relation between two statutes: Section 108(o) of the Pennsylvania Occupational Disease Act, Act of June 21, 1939, P.L. 566, as amended, 77 P.S. § 1208(o) (Supp. 1974-1975), and the so-called Heart and Lung Act, Act of June 28, 1935,

[ 15 Pa. Commw. Page 546]

P.L. 477, as amended, 53 P.S. § 637. The issue to be decided, as framed by the lower court, is where a fireman suffers a disability that brings him within the purview of the two Acts cited above, does the ultimate obligation for compensation to that individual rest upon the city or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania?

Claimant, William L. Hanel, has been employed as a fireman with the Fire Department of the City of Oil City (City) since 1951. Since that time, up to and including November 30, 1970, he was subjected to the exposures of stress, heat, etc., as set forth in both the Occupational Disease Act and the Heart and Lung Act. On November 30, 1970, claimant, while fighting an especially tragic fire, suffered a heart attack and incurred right lobar pneumonia, resulting in temporary total disability from that date until May 15, 1971, when he returned to duty. It is agreed that claimant's heart disease comes within the provisions of Section 108(o), 77 P.S. § 1208(o), of the Occupational Disease Act and, under the Heart and Lung Act, the claimant is also entitled to compensation payments during the period of temporary disability to be paid by the City.

During the entire period of temporary disability, the City continued to pay claimant his full rate of salary when, under the Heart and Lung Act, the City was obligated only to make compensation payments to him in the amount of $60.00 per week (the amount compensable as occupational disease disabilities under the Occupational Disease Act). The City, however, did not pay claimant's hospital, doctor and drug bills.

Claimant filed a claim petition for occupational disease compensable under Section 108(o), 77 P.S. § 1208(o). The referee found that compensation under the Occupational Disease Act should be suspended until claimant could show loss of earnings and that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, ...


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