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JUSTILIANO CUEVAS v. PLATERS & COATERS (10/03/75)

decided: October 3, 1975.

JUSTILIANO CUEVAS, APPELLANT,
v.
PLATERS & COATERS, INC. AND STATE WORKMEN'S INSURANCE FUND, APPELLEES



COUNSEL

Joseph Lurie, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Stephen E. Levin, Sp. Asst. Atty. Gen., State Workmen's Ins. Fund, Philadelphia, for appellees.

Jones, C. J., and Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ.

Author: Nix

[ 464 Pa. Page 36]

OPINION OF THE COURT

Claimant-appellant, Justiliano Cuevas, instituted a claim under the Pennsylvania Occupational Disease Act of June 21, 1939, P.L. 566, §§ 108(g), 108(n), as amended, 77 P.S. §§ 1208(g), 1208(n), alleging total disability as a result of a disease contracted during his employment with Platers & Coaters, Inc., a metal plating company. After several hearings, the referee entered an award granting full compensation to claimant-appellant. Upon appeal to the Workmen's Compensation Board, the referee's

[ 464 Pa. Page 37]

    award was vacated and the Board determined that claimant-appellant was not entitled to recovery. The Board's decision was sustained by the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County and the Commonwealth Court. We granted allocatur and this appeal followed.

Claimant-appellant commenced his employment with Platers in September 1963 and remained there in the capacity of a laborer until December 16, 1964. Claimant-appellant introduced testimony to establish that he was required by his employment to work with, and be exposed to, hydrochloric acid, nitric acid and chromic acid. He stated that his duties required frequent carrying and pouring of buckets of acid into large vats, cleaning equipment with an acid solution and when necessary, and standing above open tanks of acid on a catwalk to adjust the machinery.

Claimant-appellant's testimony established that prior to his employment, his health was good and that he had not experienced any respiratory difficulties before his employment with Platers. He complained that during the course of his employment, his eyes and nose frequently became watery, he salivated profusely and had difficulty in breathing. On December 16, 1964, while on a catwalk above an open acid tank, claimant-appellant collapsed and was taken to a hospital by ambulance. He has not been able to work since that date.

Dr. Martin J. Sokoloff testified on Cuevas' behalf that he was suffering from severe chemical bronchitis with marked bronchospasm. He testified that this condition rendered Cuevas totally disabled and unable to pursue gainful employment which required physical exertion.

Cuevas' supervisor challenged claimant-appellant's testimony relating to the exposure to acids required by the employment. The supervisor testified that, to his knowledge, Cuevas had on no occasion been called upon to place acid in tanks. The employer's medical witness, ...


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