Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of William Dennis Morgan v. Giant Markets, Inc., No. A-70815.
Joseph A. Murphy, with him John R. Lenahan, and Lenahan, Dempsey & Murphy, for appellant.
Robert J. Nolan, with him Gelb & Myers, and James N. Diefenderfer, for appellees.
Judges Crumlish, Jr., Mencer and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.
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The question before us in this appeal allowed by The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act*fn1 (Act) is whether the testimony of William Dennis
[ 28 Pa. Commw. Page 441]
Morgan (claimant) is sufficient to establish, in the absence of medical testimony, a causal connection between a work incident and an injury. Claimant has a history of back trouble and is seeking compensation for an alleged back injury based on an incident where no external force came into direct contact with the injured area of his body. We hold that claimant's testimony here is not sufficient and reverse the award of benefits made by the referee and affirmed by the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board).
The referee accepted the unrebutted testimony of the claimant and made the following findings of fact. On October 20, 1973, claimant was employed by Giant Markets, Inc., as a truck driver and baker's helper. Two hours before his shift was to end that day, an incident occurred which is the subject of this appeal. The claimant was unloading a truck when, in his words, "I was pushing [empty] pans back out towards the rear of the truck and my back just gave way. . . . There was nobody around." After the incident, claimant drove the truck on a delivery despite having some difficulty using the clutch. When he returned, he was laid off, although the record does not indicate when he became aware of the impending layoff. Claimant went to the company doctor three days later and saw several other doctors in the next few months.
The claimant's evidence before the referee consisted entirely of his own testimony and various medical bills. He testified that he had back problems on three or four occasions between 1964 and 1968 and was hospitalized on one of these occasions. Six hearings before the referee were scheduled in this case. The record indicates that five of the six were continued either at claimant's request or to give him an opportunity to present medical testimony. Despite his failure to produce such testimony, the referee granted benefits to
[ 28 Pa. Commw. Page 442]
the claimant, and the Board affirmed the ...