Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in case of M. Szcykalski, Deceased, Honorata Szcykalski, Widow, v. Louis Burke, Inc. and Pennsylvania Manufacturers' Association Insurance Company, No. 3845 October Term, 1971.
Nicholas M. D'Alessandro, with him John J. O'Brien, for appellant.
David L. White, with him James N. Diefenderfer, for appellees.
Judges Mencer, Rogers and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.
[ 22 Pa. Commw. Page 160]
This is an appeal by Honorata Szcykalski (appellant) from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County affirming an opinion and order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board), which had reversed its referee and denied appellant her claim for compensation based on the death of her husband, Marion Szcykalski (decedent).
The record discloses that decedent was employed by Louis Burke, Inc. (appellee) as a truck driver and that his regular job responsibilities were to drive a delivery truck to various points on a preset delivery route and unload its cargo. On September 8, 1966, decedent reported to work somewhat earlier than his normal starting time of 7:30 a.m. He then proceeded to his first stop of
[ 22 Pa. Commw. Page 161]
the route where he experienced a great deal of difficulty in backing the truck against the loading ramp. During the course of unloading his cargo, he died from a coronary occlusion.
In reviewing this case, we are mindful that because the decedent's death occurred, and the Board's decision was rendered, prior to the 1972 amendments to The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act,*fn1 our scope of review is limited to a determination of whether the Board's findings of fact are consistent with each other and with its conclusions of law and the order and can be sustained without a capricious disregard of the evidence. Puher v. United States Steel Corporation, 18 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 278, 335 A.2d 854 (1975). Additionally, we note that the party who prevails before the Board (in this instance, the appellee) is accorded on appeal a favorable construction of the evidence presented below. Stump v. Follmer Trucking Company, 4 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 110, 286 A.2d 1 (1972).
Here our review centers on whether the evidence in the record supports the Board's findings that the work performed by decedent "was not unusual to his employment, nor was he required to exert a greater amount of exertion, risk or exposure than that to which he was ordinarily subjected" and that decedent's death was brought about "by a heart attack, the exact nature and cause thereof [ sic ], was undetermined."
Prior to the 1972 amendments to the Act, and accordingly in this case, claimants were required to carry the burden of relating the death of an employee to an "accident" within the scope of the decedent's employment in accord with Section 301(c) of the Act, as amended by the Act of June 21, 1939, P.L. 520, § 1. See Panther Valley School District ...