Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Rachel Branch v. Somerset Knitting Mills, No. A-72607.
Anthony T. Vanore, for appellant.
Thomas F. McDevitt, and James N. Diefenderfer, for appellees.
Judges Crumlish, Jr., DiSalle and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge DiSalle.
[ 38 Pa. Commw. Page 375]
This is an appeal by Rachel Branch (Claimant) from an Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) denying her requests for an appeal nunc pro tunc, a reinstatement of the compensation agreement between her and Somerset Knitting Mills (Employer), and a hearing de novo.
Claimant sustained a work-related injury on July 28, 1971, and began receiving benefits on August 4,
[ 38 Pa. Commw. Page 3761971]
. On January 22, 1973, Employer filed a petition to terminate, stating that Claimant was fully recovered and could return to work as of January 15, 1973. At the hearing on April 2, 1973, Claimant appeared without counsel and the hearing officer rescheduled it for April 27. Claimant had obtained an attorney by that time, but he failed to appear, stating that a fire drill had kept him out of the building. A hearing was rescheduled and held on July 20, and Claimant's attorney again failed to appear, apparently having received no notice.
In an October 2, 1973 decision, the referee granted Employer's petition to terminate. Claimant received notice of this decision, but did not appeal. Instead, sixteen months later, on February 24, 1975, she filed a petition for modification. Both Claimant and her attorney failed to appear at the June 3, 1975 hearing, again having apparently received no notice, and the referee, in a July 7, 1975 decision, dismissed the petition. Claimant received notice of this decision also.
Claimant did not appeal this decision either, but instead, filed a new petition to modify, dated April 14, 1976, and a petition for reinstatement and a motion for a hearing de novo, dated August 13, 1976. A number of hearings were scheduled between May and September of 1976 and were continued. Finally, on January 18, 1977, Claimant appealed to the Board, seeking an allowance of an appeal nunc pro tunc, a reinstatement of the compensation agreement, and a hearing de novo. On September 1, 1977, the Board affirmed the orders of the referees and dismissed Claimant's petition.
We hold that Claimant's unexplained failure to file a timely appeal from either the October 2, 1973 order or the July 7, 1975 order precludes us from granting her the relief she requests. While it is undoubtedly ...