decided: July 15, 1976.
WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA AND DARLENE FREDERICK, W/O JOHN
BURKE-PARSONS BOWLBY CORPORATION AND U.S. FIDELITY & GUARANTY CO., INSURANCE CARRIER, APPELLANTS
Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Darlene Frederick, w/o John v. Burke-Parsons Bowlby Corp., No. A-69955.
Raymond F. Keisling, with him Will and Keisling, for appellants.
Paul J. Quattrone, with him James N. Diefenderfer, for appellees.
Judges Kramer, Rogers and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.
[ 25 Pa. Commw. Page 499]
Darlene Frederick (claimant) filed a petition on January 7, 1974 claiming workmen's compensation benefits due to the death of her husband, John Frederick, who suffered a work-related injury on July 13, 1972 while within the course of his employment for the Burke-Parsons Bowlby Corp. (employer). She claimed that this injury caused her husband to suffer a black-out on October 3, 1972, which resulted in a fatal automobile accident on that date. The referee, on March 4, 1975, awarded benefits to the claimant and made the following finding of fact:
"6. As a result of injury of 7/13/72, claimant suffered symptoms, including periodic 'black-outs,' of a 'post concussion syndrome.' This diagnosis having been given by the Pathologist who performed an autopsy and who testified that this fatal automobile accident could have been precipitated by the injury of 7/13/72."
The employer and its insurer, the U.S. Fidelity & Guaranty Co., appealed to the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) which, on August 28, 1975, set aside the award and remanded the case to the referee for more definitive findings of fact "as to what part the accident of July 13, 1972 played in the fatal injury of October 3, 1972."*fn1 The employer has appealed.
We have said that pursuant to Section 419 of The Workmen's Compensation Act,*fn2 the Board may remand
[ 25 Pa. Commw. Page 500]
a case to a referee when the referee has failed to make a finding on a crucial issue necessary for the proper application of the law*fn3 and that, where the Board determines that the findings of fact are so inadequate that proper review is impossible, a remand to the referee is the proper procedure.*fn4
However, in Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board v. E-C Apparatus Corp., 20 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 128, 130, 339 A.2d 899, 900 (1975), we held that "an order of the Board remanding a case to a referee for taking additional testimony is interlocutory and an appeal therefrom is generally premature." And in Royal Pioneer Ind., Inc. v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, 11 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 132, 134, 309 A.2d 831, 832 (1973), we said that "[t]he basis for such a holding is that, in remanding a case, the Board has not yet reached a final decision and a reviewing court should hesitate to act before the administrative process has been completed."
The appeal must be quashed.*fn5 E-C Apparatus, supra. We, therefore, issue the following
[ 25 Pa. Commw. Page 501]
And, Now, this 15th day of July, 1976, the appeal of Burke-Parsons Bowlby Corporation and the U.S. Fidelity & Guaranty Company is hereby quashed and the record is remanded to the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board.
Appeal quashed. Record remanded.