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AMERICAN REFRIGERATOR EQUIPMENT COMPANY v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (09/14/77)

decided: September 14, 1977.

AMERICAN REFRIGERATOR EQUIPMENT COMPANY, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD AND JOHN JAKEL, RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of John Jakel v. American Refrigerator Equipment Company, Nos. A-71430 and A-71431.

COUNSEL

Howard M. Ellner, with him John F. McElvenny, for appellants.

Vincent B. Corsetti, with him John J. D'Angelo, Bank, Minehart & D'Angelo, and James N. Diefenderfer, for appellees.

Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer and Rogers, sitting as a panel of three. Judge Kramer did not participate in the decision. Opinion by Judge Mencer. Judge Kramer did not participate in the decision in this case.

Author: Mencer

[ 31 Pa. Commw. Page 591]

American Refrigerator Equipment Company (employer) has appealed an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board). The order affirmed

[ 31 Pa. Commw. Page 592]

    two referee's awards to John Jakel: one for temporary total disability as a result of an injury on or about April 16, 1973 and the other for total disability as a result of an injury on or about December 10, 1973.

On April 16, 1973, Jakel, a 52-year-old refrigerator installer who had served the employer for about 18 years without any lower back problems, was pushing a heavy refrigerator section when he experienced a sharp pain in his left leg. Several days later he also began to experience pain in his lower back. Because the pain continued throughout the summer, Jakel regularly visited his physician. In September, the pain became so acute that Jakel desperately sought medical relief. He was referred to Dr. Vincent L. Ferrara, a neurological surgeon, who hospitalized him on September 13, 1973. After other treatment had failed, Dr. Ferrara performed a facet rhizotomy in order to relieve Jakel's intense pain. Jakel was able to return to work on October 29, 1973.

On December 10, 1973, while trying to grab a large, heavy refrigerator section which was apparently about to slip, Jakel felt a pull in his lower back. The ensuing pain in his left leg and back was severe, and he immediately sought the advice of his physician. Jakel was again referred to Dr. Ferrara, who hospitalized him and, five days before Christmas, removed a portion of his spine. Although Jakel returned home a few days later, he did not return to work.

Jakel filed two petitions claiming benefits under The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act, Act of June 2, 1915, P.L. 736, as amended, 77 P.S. ยง 1 et seq. The first petition averred that, as a result of the April 16 incident, Jakel was entitled to total disability benefits and medical expenses for the period September 13 to October 29. The second petition averred that, as a result of the December 10 incident, Jakel was entitled to total disability benefits and medical expenses.

[ 31 Pa. Commw. Page 593]

The matters were heard together at several hearings before a referee. Jakel testified as to his limited educational and occupational background. He also testified as to the April work incident and the constant pain he suffered from ...


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