Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Irene R. Bucci, Widow of Vincent V. Bucci, v. John R. Hess, Inc. and American States Insurance Company, No. A-67597.
Raymond F. Keisling, with him Will and Keisling, for appellants.
Alexander J. Pentecost, with him James N. Diefenderfer, for appellees.
Judges Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., and Rogers, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.
J.R. Hess, Inc., formerly the employer of Vincent V. Bucci, and its insurance carrier here appeal from a decision of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board), affirming a referee's award of benefits on Mr. Bucci's widow's fatal claim petition. The issue is whether Mr. Bucci's death in a motor vehicle accident arose in the course of his employment.*fn1
The accident in which Mr. Bucci was fatally injured occurred at about 1:30 o'clock P.M. on May 18, 1972, on a parkway near Swissvale, a community in Allegheny County adjoining the eastern boundary line of the City of Pittsburgh.
Mr. Bucci's employment by J. R. Hess, Inc., a construction firm located on the north side of Pittsburgh, was as project manager and estimator. He spent approximately 90% of his time in the company's offices. Mr. Bucci was provided with a company car which he was operating at the time of the fatal accident.
Mrs. Bucci testified that on the morning of May 18, 1972, she asked her husband his schedule for the day and that he replied that he had an appointment in the afternoon at Boyce Park, a community located near but east of Pittsburgh, where he was to "check out" two tennis courts and attend a luncheon meeting to discuss the job.
Mr. Albert J. Siciliano, a project manager and estimator for Hess, testified that he frequently ate lunch with Mr. Bucci, that he invited Mr. Bucci to join him for lunch on May 18, 1972, but that the latter declined on the ground of a previous luncheon engagement in Monroeville, a community also located east of the city. Mr. Bucci did not say whether this appointment was concerned with personal or business matters. Mr. Siciliano noted, however, that it was unusual for Mr. Bucci to take lunch in Monroeville.
A Ms. Geraldine Acker, a receptionist in Hess's office, testified that when Mr. Bucci left to go to lunch at about noon on May 18, 1972, he told her that he had a luncheon appointment and that he would return at about 2:00 or 2:30 o'clock P.M.
Mr. Alfred Palladino, a friend of the decedent, testified to a telephone conversation on the morning of May 18, 1972, in the course of which Mr. Bucci "said he had an appointment to meet with someone for lunch. Business -- I don't know for his business, and I was to ...