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WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA AND ROBERT KOWATCH v. MAHONING TOWNSHIP SUPERVISORS (04/01/76)

decided: April 1, 1976.

WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA AND ROBERT KOWATCH
v.
MAHONING TOWNSHIP SUPERVISORS, BRISTOL ASSOCIATES AND IM INCORPORATED. MAHONING TOWNSHIP SUPERVISORS, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Robert Kowatch v. Mahoning Township Supervisors, Bristol Associates and IM Incorporated, No. A-68300.

COUNSEL

Joseph A. Murphy, with him John R. Lenahan, and Lenahan, Dempsey & Murphy, for appellant.

Robert H. Holland, for appellee, Bristol Associates.

Robert Lazorchick, with him Scott & Lazorchick, for appellee, Kowatch.

Judges Crumlish, Jr., Mencer and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.

Author: Blatt

[ 24 Pa. Commw. Page 208]

This is an appeal by the Mahoning Township Supervisors (Township) from a decision of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) affirming the referee's award of benefits to the claimant, Robert Kowatch.

The claimant, a volunteer fireman, was on the infield area of the Mahoning Speedway on July 21, 1972 when a stock car struck a pole, causing the pole to strike and injure the claimant. IM Incorporated (IM) was the lessee and operator of the speedway which was located in Mahoning Township on property owned by Bristol Associates (Bristol), and the claimant was present there as a member of the Mahoning Valley Volunteer Fire Company (Fire Company) with which IM regularly arranged to have volunteer firemen and township fire equipment present when car races were being held. IM paid twenty-five dollars to the fire company's fund for each night of attendance and also paid for the refilling of any discharged fire equipment.

In workmen's compensation cases, our scope of review is limited to a determination of whether or not constitutional rights were violated, an error of law was committed or a necessary finding of fact was not supported

[ 24 Pa. Commw. Page 209]

    by substantial evidence. Dunlap v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, 17 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 19, 330 A.2d 555 (1975); Universal Cyclops Steel Corp. v. Krawczynski, 9 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 176, 305 A.2d 757 (1973).

The issue involved here is whether or not the claimant was an employee of the township under the Workmen's Compensation Act*fn1 (Act) when he was injured, and, when the accident occurred, the Act provided in part as follows:

"within the definition of the word 'employe' . . . there shall be included all members of . . . volunteer fire companies . . . of the various . . . townships, who shall be and are hereby declared to be 'employes' of such . . . townships, for all the purposes of said act, and shall be entitled to receive compensation in case of injuries received while actually engaged as . . . firemen or while going to or returning from any fire which the fire companies . . . of which they are members shall have attended, or while participating in instruction fire . . . drills in which the fire company . . . of which they are members shall have participated, or while repairing or doing other work about or on the fire . . . apparatus or buildings and grounds of such fire company upon the authorization of the chief or corps president or other such person in charge, or while answering any emergency call for any purpose, or while riding upon the ...


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