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JONES & LAUGHLIN STEEL CORP. v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (11/14/78)

decided: November 14, 1978.

JONES & LAUGHLIN STEEL CORP., PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD, MICHAEL BULJAT AND COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Mike Buljat v. Gateway Coal Company and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, No. A-72569.

COUNSEL

Raymond F. Keisling, with him Will & Keisling, for petitioner.

C. Jerome Moschetta, with him Sandra S. Christianson, Assistant Attorney General, and James N. Diefenderfer, for respondents.

Judges Wilkinson, Jr., DiSalle and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Wilkinson, Jr.

Author: Wilkinson

[ 38 Pa. Commw. Page 467]

Petitioner-employer (employer) has appealed an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) affirming the decision by a referee awarding benefits to respondent-claimant (claimant) for full disability due to anthracosilicosis. We affirm.

Claimant worked continuously in soft-coal mines for approximately 32 years before his last day of work on July 3, 1973. During his last 4 or 5 years in the mines, claimant performed lighter duties than those normally performed by miners having the same job. On August 16, 1974, following a medical examination, claimant was advised by his doctor for the first time that his breathing difficulties were the result of anthracosilicosis and that he was totally and permanently disabled as a result of his exposure to

[ 38 Pa. Commw. Page 468]

    dust in the mines. Claimant, by certified registered mail, gave notice of this disability to his employer on September 4, 1974. Claimant has not worked since July 3, 1973.

In this appeal the employer asks us to consider two issues: (1) can claimant's one-day exposure on July 3, 1973 suffice to bring this case within the meaning of Section 301(c)(2) of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act (Act), Act of June 2, 1915, P.L. 736, as amended, 77 P.S. § 411(2), and (2) did claimant comply with the notice of disability requirements imposed by Section 311 of the Act, 77 P.S. § 631.

Employer's first argument requires that we again take a look at the requirements imposed by Section 301(c)(2) of the Act, 77 P.S. § 411(2), which reads in pertinent part:

The provisions of this paragraph (2) shall apply only with respect to the disability or death of an employe which results in whole or in part from the employe's exposure to the hazard of occupational disease after June 30, 1973. . . . (Emphasis added.)

It is undisputed that claimant worked a full day on July 3, 1973, such day being the only one after June 30, 1973 on which he did work. The employer would have us interpret this section as requiring that the claimant show a causal relationship between the one day of post June 30, 1973 exposure with some demonstrable portion of his injury. This we will not do. The doctor who examined the claimant on August 16, 1974 stated that, in his opinion, claimant was "totally and permanently disabled on the basis of the above pulmonary ...


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