Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Bonita Crossley v. L. L. Stearns & Sons, No. A-68314.
William S. Kieser, with him Ertel & Kieser, for appellants.
Charles F. Greevy, III, with him Greevy & Mitchell, and James N. Diefenderfer, for appellees.
Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, and Rogers, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Wilkinson.
[ 20 Pa. Commw. Page 246]
Claimant-appellee was employed by employer-appellant as a sales clerk in employer's store, a position she had held for several years. On June 20, 1972, claimant was injured outside the store. The side of employer's store with which we are concerned faces south on West Third Street in Williamsport. The store fronts on the entire block of West Third bounded on the west by Laurel Street and on the east by Pine Street. A sidewalk, normally 11 1/2 feet wide, abuts the store for the entire length along West Third. At the western end of the sidewalk, starting at the corner of West Third and Laurel and running easterly for 28 feet, is a three-foot wide extension or addition to the sidewalk, making a total width of 14 1/2 feet.
Centered in this 3' x 28' extension is a planter approximately 3' x 16' which is set off by a chain and post fence or guard. The remainder of the extension, at both ends of the planter or garden area, is paved as a sidewalk and is the same level as the remainder of the sidewalk. In the sidewalk area of the eastern end of the extension is a 17-inch high metal post.
On June 20, 1972, claimant finished work at 5:00 p.m. and punched out at 5:02 p.m. She left the store immediately, in the company of several fellow sales clerks, through what is called the "side door." This door exits onto the sidewalk on West Third Street and is located in the center of the block. It is the door which claimant, as an employee, was instructed by the employer to use on leaving the store. Claimant turned right and proceeded along the sidewalk in a westerly direction. She was heading toward her car which was parked in a public lot about two blocks south of the store. The employer did not provide parking for employees nor did it give instructions
[ 20 Pa. Commw. Page 247]
as to where employees should park. As she neared the corner of West Third and Laurel, she, and the group she was with, started to cross West Third Street. In so doing, claimant walked onto the sidewalk portion on the eastern end of the extension, struck her knee on the 17-inch high metal post, fell onto the curb and street area and broke her kneecap. She was disabled for 28 weeks. Claimant's claim petition was contested by the employer and on March 27, 1974, the referee awarded compensation to claimant. The Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board affirmed on November 7, 1974, and the employer has appealed to us. We affirm.
The sole question before us is whether claimant-appellee was injured "in the course of [her] employment" within the meaning of Section 301(c(1) of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act, Act of June 2, 1915, P.L. 736, as amended, 77 P.S. § 411 (Supp. 1974-1975). Section 301(c)(1) provides:
"The terms 'injury' and 'personal injury,' as used in this act, shall be construed to mean an injury to an employe, regardless of his previous physical condition, arising in the course of his employment and related thereto, and such disease or infection as naturally results from the injury or is aggravated, reactivated or accelerated by the injury; and wherever death is mentioned as a cause for compensation under this act, it shall mean only death resulting from such injury and its resultant effects, and occurring within three hundred weeks after the injury. The term 'injury arising in the course of his employment,' as used in this article, shall not include an injury caused by an act of a third person intended to injure the employe because of reasons personal to him, and not directed ...