Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Julia Weingrad, w/o Leon, Deceased, and Barbara Weingrad, w/o Leon and Natural Guardian for Michael & Aaron Weingrad, Minors v. Byberry State Hospital, No. A-70299.
Charles F. Quinn, for appellants.
Stephen E. Levin, Special Assistant Attorney General, with him James N. Diefenderfer, for appellees.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr. Judge Kramer did not participate in the decision in this case.
[ 26 Pa. Commw. Page 411]
Julia Weingrad and Barbara Weingrad, natural guardian for Michael and Aaron Weingrad (Appellants), appeal the order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) which reversed*fn1 an order
[ 26 Pa. Commw. Page 412]
of the referee granting benefits upon the respective fatal claim petitions filed by Appellants.*fn2
The factual posture of this most bizarre case was ably set forth by the referee in his exhaustive and most well-reasoned decision constituting twenty-three pages in length. Summarizing those facts, the referee entered the following findings of fact:
"1. Decedent, Dr. Leon Weingrad, was employed as a Staff Physician at the Byberry State Hospital, Defendant, on and prior to August 29, 1971; at weekly earnings sufficient to allow maximum compensation.
"2. From the evidence regarding the nature of Claimant's position as a Staff Physician at the Hospital, rendering medical treatment to its patients, it is reasonable to presume as a fact that Claimant was 'on call' at all times, whether on or off the premises, for consultation by phone or actual services, for any medical emergencies or problems relating to his patients, as a necessary condition of his employment.
"3. On August 29, 1971, Dr. Leon Weingrad was shot and killed by Gloria Burnette, an ex-employee of the Defendant Hospital, acting on behalf of, and under the strong domination of Dr. Lois Farquaharson, an employee of the Hospital, while Dr. Weingrad was in the course of his employment with the Defendant;
[ 26 Pa. Commw. Page 413]
said killing taking place on the parking lot of his residence at Society Hill Towers, Phila., Pa.
"4. The work-related motive for the killing of Dr. Weingrad by said Gloria Burnette, -- acting for Dr. Farquaharson, -- was the fact that Dr. Weingrad, as a staff doctor for the Defendant, had complained to the superiors of Dr. Farquaharson, his co-employee at the Byberry State Hospital, about her incompetence in the performance of her duties; her neglect of her patients; and her aberrant professional conduct in carrying on a lesbian relationship openly with Miss Burnette, her former patient and later co-employee at the Defendant Hospital.
"5. That after said complaints had been made to Dr. Farquaharson's superiors, as agents of the Defendant Hospital, the said Dr. Farquaharson and her lesbian lover, Gloria Burnette, made open threats at the Hospital and elsewhere, that they would 'get even' with Dr. Weingrad; that they would get the 'Black Panthers' after him; and that they would kill him, -- because of his complaints which endangered the continued employment of Dr. Farquaharson, and the continued relationship between her and Miss Burnette.
"6. That the failure of Dr. Farquaharson's superiors, as agents of the Defendant, to take any action against her as a result of the complaints made by Dr. Weingrad; their knowledge of the threats of violence against him made by Dr. Farquaharson and Miss Burnette; their knowledge of her aberrant professional and apparently psychotic behavior; and the general nature of Dr. Weingrad's duties in this mental institution, placed the said Dr. Weingrad in a 'peculiar' and 'increased risk' position in his employment at the Defendant Hospital.
"7. That there was a direct and positive causal connection between Dr. Weingrad's employment at the Defendant Hospital and his death which was brought
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about by his co-employee, Dr. Farquaharson, through her dominant influence on her companion and lesbian lover, Gloria Burnette.
"8. That Dr. Weingrad's death resulted from his actions on behalf of his employer, the Defendant Hospital; and was causally related to his actual engagement in ...