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WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD AND GEORGE SCHOONOVER v. CHAMBERLAIN MANUFACTURING CORPORATION (04/21/75)

decided: April 21, 1975.

WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD AND GEORGE SCHOONOVER, APPELLEES,
v.
CHAMBERLAIN MANUFACTURING CORPORATION, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of George Schoonover v. Chamberlain Manufacturing Corporation, No. A-68222.

COUNSEL

Joseph E. Gallagher, with him O'Malley, Bour & Gallagher, for appellant.

George Schoonover, appellee, for himself.

James N. Diefenderfer, for appellee, Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board.

Judges Kramer, Rogers and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Kramer.

Author: Kramer

[ 18 Pa. Commw. Page 573]

This is an appeal filed by Chamberlain Manufacturing Corporation (Chamberlain) from an order of the Workmen's

[ 18 Pa. Commw. Page 574]

Compensation Appeal Board (Board), dated August 1, 1974, which, in effect, affirmed a referee's order dismissing Chamberlain's petition for termination of a workmen's compensation agreement providing benefits to George Schoonover (Schoonover).

Schoonover was employed by Chamberlain as a laborer. His job entailed the pushing of shells*fn1 along a production line. The shells were on rollers and weighed about 50 pounds each. On August 23, 1972, while in the course of his employment, Schoonover sustained a right inguinal hernia. At the time of his injury, his average weekly wage was $219.85. On September 14, 1972, a notice of compensation payable was filed providing for workmen's compensation benefits at the rate of $94 per week. Compensation benefits were paid to Schoonover from August 24, 1972 through December 13, 1972. In other words, Schoonover received $94 per week for 16 weeks or a total of $1,504. On January 4, 1973 Chamberlain filed a petition to terminate in which it was alleged that "[a] reasonable period of disability for a hernia has expired," and that Schoonover "would have been able to resume employment on December 14, 1972, but for the fact the hernia could not be repaired because claimant suffered from cirrhosis."

Hearing were held before a referee at which the only witnesses were Schoonover (appearing without counsel) and a physician presented by Chamberlain. The physician testified that the surgery necessary to correct the hernia condition was not feasible because Schoonover was suffering from portal cirrhosis which the physician "felt was secondary to alcoholism." The physician stated that the cirrhosis was "a chronic disease which takes years to develop," and that the reason that it was not feasible to perform surgery on Schoonover was the medical knowledge that "there is a much higher incidence of recurrence [of hernia] in patients who have portal cirrhosis." The prognosis

[ 18 Pa. Commw. Page 575]

    on the portal cirrhosis was not good. The record clearly shows that the hernia was a direct result of the incident which occurred while Schoonover was pushing the shells, and that the portal cirrhosis was in no way related to Schoonover's employment. The physician testified that, at the time of his examination, Schoonover's disability was due to the hernia. The physician also testified that Schoonover could not ...


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