Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Beatrice Marie Seeley v. Galeton Lumber Company, No. A-70467.
Harold B. Fink, Jr., with him Fink and Young, for appellant.
David A. Ody, Assistant Attorney General, with him James N. Diefenderfer, for appellees.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Mencer.
[ 28 Pa. Commw. Page 383]
In this appeal from a decision of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board), we are faced with the question of whether a lump-sum compromise settlement of the workmen's compensation claim of Beatrice Marie Seeley (claimant) is null and void because it violates Section 407 of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act (Act).*fn1 Both the referee and the Board concluded as a matter of law that
[ 28 Pa. Commw. Page 384]
the agreement was prohibited.*fn2 We are somewhat reluctantly constrained to affirm.
Section 407 of the Act provides, in relevant part:
On or after the seventh day after any injury shall have occurred, the employer or insurer and employe or his dependents may agree upon the compensation payable to the employe or his dependents under this act; but any agreement made prior to the seventh day after the injury shall have occurred, or permitting a commutation of payments contrary to the provisions of this act, or varying the amount to be paid or the period during which compensation shall be payable as provided in this act, shall be wholly null and void. (Emphasis added.)
It is clear from our reading of the statute that Section 407 establishes three separate types of agreement which are null and void: (1) those entered into before the seventh day following an injury, (2) those permitting a commutation of payments contrary to the provisions of the Act, and (3) those varying the amount to be paid or the period during which compensation shall be payable.*fn3 The presence of these conditions, either singly or in combination, renders any purported agreement null and void.
While some doubt has been expressed as to whether the appellate courts of Pennsylvania have passed directly on the issue before ...