Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Richard C. McManus v. Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal Co. and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, No. A-70605.
George H. Thompson, with him Michael D. McDowell, and Hirsch, Weise & Tillman, for appellants.
Eugene A. Creany, with him James N. Diefenderfer, for appellees.
Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Rogers and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.
The Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal Company (appellant) appeals to this Court from an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) which affirmed the referee's award of total disability benefits to Richard C. McManus. He claimed such benefits because of an occupational disease allegedly compensable under The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act*fn1 (Act).
McManus, a coal miner employed by the appellant for approximately thirty-six years, filed his claim petition on July 15, 1974, alleging that he was totally disabled as a result of coal worker's pneumoconiosis. At the referee's hearing, McManus testified that he had been x-rayed at the mines sometime in 1972, and had then been informed that he had black lung disease.
As a result, he said, he was given a job which supposedly exposed him to a lesser amount of coal dust. On January 12, 1973, he was again told by a doctor, who treated him during a period of illness, that he was suffering from black lung disease, but this doctor also told him that he could go back to work. McManus continued his work in the mines until September 28, 1973, which was his last day of employment. Nearly eight months later, on May 20, 1974, he was examined by still another physician who concluded that he was "totally and permanently disabled because of pneumoconiosis, coal worker's type." It was after that incident, that he notified his employer and filed his claim for benefits.
The referee made the following pertinent findings of fact which were affirmed by the Board:
2. Claimant was in the employ of the defendant from 1937 to September 28, 1973 and has not worked anywhere since that date.
3. Claimant became totally disabled on May 20, 1974 as a result of pneumoconiosis due to his exposure ...