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FRANCES M. MERZ v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (05/06/77)

decided: May 6, 1977.

FRANCES M. MERZ, APPELLANT
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in case of Frances M. Merz v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, No. 1755 October Term, 1970.

COUNSEL

Thomas F. McDevitt, for appellant.

Stephen E. Levin, Assistant Attorney General, with him Martin W. Bashoff, Special Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

Judges Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr. and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Wilkinson, Jr.

Author: Wilkinson

[ 29 Pa. Commw. Page 639]

Claimant appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County affirming the denial of workmen's compensation benefits by the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board). We affirm.

Claimant was employed by the Department of Labor and Industry, serving from 1939 to 1964 as a secretary

[ 29 Pa. Commw. Page 640]

    to a referee in the First District. Her principal duties were supervising the office, scheduling hearings and typing notices. In 1964 it was arranged that claimant could work at home. The change altered her duties, requiring an extensive amount of typing each day. Within approximately three months of the change claimant started to experience numbness and a loss of sensation in her right hand for which she obtained medical treatment. The condition, diagnosed as carpal tunnel syndrome, worsened in the right hand and appeared, although less severely, in the left hand. On November 9, 1965, claimant went on sick leave and in February, 1966, her right wrist was operated on. On December 1, 1966, she resigned her position due to her continuing disability. A claim petition was filed on August 18, 1967.*fn1

After several hearings a referee found that claimant's disability was caused by her substantial increase in typing and that the typing constituted an accident within the meaning of the Act. An appeal was filed with the Board, which denied benefits on the basis that claimant had failed to prove the existence of an accident.*fn2 The order was affirmed by the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County.

[ 29 Pa. Commw. Page 641]

The only real question for discussion in this case is whether our Supreme Court's decision in Hinkle v. H.J. Heinz Co., 462 Pa. 111, 337 A.2d 907 (1975) and this Court's decision in Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board v. Hamilton, 21 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 425, 346 A.2d 387 (1975) control and require reversal. We think not.

In Hinkle, a mechanic in a can-making factory sustained a partial loss of hearing because of his exposure to loud noises over a period of years. The referee, Board, Court of Common Pleas, and this Court all agreed that no accident within the ...


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