Appeals from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of William J. Kunigonis v. H.P. Foley, Inc., No. A-70128.
Lowell A. Reed, Jr., with him Peter J. Weber, and Rawle & Henderson, for H.P. Foley Co., Inc. and Liberty Mutual Insurance Co.
Gerald J. Haas, for Kunigonis.
James N. Diefenderfer, for Board.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr. and Wilkinson, Jr., sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr.
Presently before us are the cross appeals of William J. Kunigonis (Claimant), his employer, H.P. Foley, Inc. (Employer), and its carrier, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, from the decision of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) which affirmed a referee's decision ordering compensation for a thirteen-month period excepting and suspending approximately one and one-half months thereof, and thereafter suspending compensation entirely.
Employer was further ordered to pay the sum of $3,125.55 in medical expenses.
Claimant was awarded benefits for total disability resulting from a heart attack induced by his work as an electrician. He worked for Employer as a journeyman electrician during the erection of the Penn Walt Building in Philadelphia. On April 8, 1970, construction work on this building had progressed to the twenty-second floor. Claimant's job at this point consisted of installation of the electrical system for the twenty-second floor. An elevator had been installed for the workmen's use up to the twentieth floor. During the job, he had worked in conjunction with another electrician sharing the workload on a regular basis, which included the transportation of equipment and material from one floor to another.
On April 8, 1970, although Claimant's co-worker was late in arriving at the job site, Claimant proceeded with his work duties. He rode the elevator to the twentieth floor and then walked to the twenty-second floor where he was currently working. After determining what equipment was needed, he walked down to the eighteenth floor where he obtained some thin-wall conduit which he carried back up to the twenty-second floor. He then walked down to the twenty-first floor where he got an electrical hammer (weighing about twenty-five pounds) and a "hickey" (an instrument used in the bending of thin-wall conduits in order that they fit into the appropriate places). Claimant carried this hammer and hickey up to the twenty-second floor and then walked back down to the twenty-first floor for some small equipment such as nuts and bolts (weighing approximately 10 pounds). Next, he carried the items back up to the twenty-second floor and started his work project by climbing up a sixteen-foot step ladder in order to take necessary measurements, after which he then climbed
down the ladder and, while bending some thin-wall conduit on the "hickey" instrument, the hickey slipped causing Claimant to lose his balance and fall backwards onto his haunches. He then felt severe chest pains.
Claimant stayed on the twenty-second floor in severe pain for about five to ten minutes during which he experienced a shortness of breath. Finally, he walked down to the twenty-first floor where he remained seated for about one and one-half hours, still suffering from chest discomfort. His co-worker then arrived on the job and went to the twenty-second floor to start his own work. After this one and one-half hour period, Claimant returned to the twenty-second floor where he remained, without actually working, until 4:00 P.M., the end of the work day.
At the end of that day, Claimant was driven home in a car pool. Although still experiencing chest discomfort, he did not reveal this to his family. The next morning Claimant arose to go to work, had breakfast, and as he started to put on his shirt at 7:00 A.M., the severe chest pain from shoulder to shoulder, which he experienced the day before, returned. At this point, his daughter drove him to the hospital where he was admitted. He remained there for one month under the care of the doctor who testified on his behalf concerning his disability. Under doctor's orders, after his hospital stay, he remained home for months before he returned to work on April 5, 1971.
Claimant worked for Employer until May 21, 1971, at no loss of pay until he was told that there was no more light work available for him. Claimant did not find another job until July 9, 1971, when he started work for another employer at a ...