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SCRANTON GARMENT COMPANY v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (12/28/77)

decided: December 28, 1977.

SCRANTON GARMENT COMPANY, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD AND ANTHONY CRAPELLA, RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Anthony Crapella v. Scranton Garment Company, No. A-71460.

COUNSEL

John R. Lenahan, Jr., with him John R. Lenahan, Sr., and Lenahan, Dempsey & Murphy, for petitioner.

Gene E. Goldenziel, with him John J. Scott, and James N. Diefenderfer, for respondents.

Judges Rogers and Blatt, sitting as a panel of two. Opinion by Judge Blatt.

Author: Blatt

[ 33 Pa. Commw. Page 191]

The Scranton Garment Co. (employer) appeals here from an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) which affirmed a referee's decision awarding compensation for total disability to Anthony Crapella (claimant) because of an occupational disease.

The claimant worked for the employer for a period of thirty-six years as a presser. In the course of his duties, he worked with various types of cloth and material

[ 33 Pa. Commw. Page 192]

    including cotton, wool, reprocessed wool and acetate, and the area where he worked was poorly ventilated, air being continually filled with dust which included fibers of the materials with which the claimant worked. After experiencing various pulmonary problems, the claimant left his employment and filed an application for benefits under the occupational disease provisions of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act*fn1 (Act). His application described his disease as "[b]yssinosis, pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema" and indicated that benefits were sought under Sections 108(n) and 108(p) of the Act, 77 P.S. §§ 27.1(n), 27.1(p). After several hearings, the referee found that the claimant was totally disabled because of a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and awarded compensation. The Board affirmed the referee's decision and the employer has appealed to this Court.

Section 427 of the Act, 77 P.S. § 876.1, provides that this Court's scope of review in workmen's compensation appeals is that defined in Section 44 of the Administrative Agency Law,*fn2 71 P.S. § 1710.44, and so limits us to a determination of whether or not an error of law was committed, constitutional rights were violated, or findings of fact necessary for the adjudication are unsupported by substantial evidence. The employer argues here that the referee's decision is unsupported by substantial and competent evidence. Our review in this case, however, is greatly hindered by inadequate findings of fact.

We must first of all determine under which section benefits were awarded. The referee made the following finding:

5. On March 5, 1975 the claimant became totally disabled due to chronic ...


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