Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Charles Bauer v. Interstate System, No. A-72255.
P. Brennan Hart, with him Fred C. Trenor, and Meyer, Darragh, Buckler, Bebenek & Eck, for petitioner.
Eric C. Rome, with him Ecker, Ecker, Zoffer & Rome, and James N. Diefenderfer, for respondents.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Rogers and DiSalle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge DiSalle.
[ 35 Pa. Commw. Page 189]
This case comes before this Court upon a petition for review of an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) dated April 7, 1977. The order affirms a referee's determination dismissing a termination petition filed by Interstate System (Employer) and reinstating compensation benefits to Charles Bauer (Claimant).
[ 35 Pa. Commw. Page 190]
The Claimant worked as a truck driver for the Employer for over twenty-two years. His employment responsibilities included hooking and dropping tractor trailers, driving freight to locations within the city and its immediate outlying areas, and personally loading and unloading freight.
On December 20, 1974, while in the course of his employment on premises owned by U.S. Steel Corporation, the Claimant sustained an acute cervical sprain. It was not until January 18, 1975, however, that the injury became disabling. The Claimant and Employer thereafter entered into an agreement whereby the Claimant received total disability compensation benefits of $106.00 per week. The Claimant received compensation at this rate from January 18, 1975, through October 19, 1975.
During this disability period, the Claimant initially received medical treatment from the company physician. After seeing that doctor some thirty-six times without obtaining relief, the Claimant began treating with Dr. Timothy Ivey, an orthopedic surgeon. In addition, the Employer arranged for the Claimant to be examined by a Dr. Norman Minde, who saw him on approximately eight occasions.
On October 15, 1975, Dr. Minde issued a medical report to the Employer which stated:
When discharged on October 15, 1975, he [Claimant] readily admitted that he could drive. He would have some difficulty with lifting. There was slight extension loss and some tightening of back muscles. . . . This man can be returned to work as a tractor truck driver and readily agreed to it.
Pursuant to this report, the Employer filed a termination petition on October 27, 1975, alleging that the Claimant was able ...