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JOHN PAPERNIK v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (04/18/79)

decided: April 18, 1979.

JOHN PAPERNIK, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD AND UNITED STATES STEEL CORPORATION, RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of John Papernik v. United States Steel Corporation, No. A-72617.

COUNSEL

Benjamin L. Costello, with him Kenneth J. Yablonski, for petitioner.

R. M. Guttshall, III, for respondents.

Judges Mencer, DiSalle and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.

Author: Craig

[ 42 Pa. Commw. Page 82]

In Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board v. Republic Steel Corp., 31 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 301, 375 A.2d 1369 (1977), we held that stenographic costs incurred for the reproduction of the deposition of the claimant's medical witness, which was presented into evidence before the referee, was a cost of litigation which could be assessed against the employer in favor of the prevailing claimant as a ". . . reasonable sum for costs incurred for . . . witnesses," under Section 440 of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act (Act).*fn1

This appeal presents the question whether, on the facts of this case, the costs incurred for the reproduction

[ 42 Pa. Commw. Page 83]

    of the deposition of the employer's medical witness, for the use of the claimant's attorney in assessing the employer's position and checking for inaccuracies in the deposition, is also a cost of litigation, reimbursable to the successful claimant under Section 440 of the Act.*fn2

It is a fundamental principle that the Act, being remedial in nature, receives a liberal construction and every reasonable intendment of the language of the Act should be upheld in favor of the employee. Sims v. American Can Co., 6 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 423, 296 A.2d 290 (1972).

The purpose of Section 440 is to deter unreasonable contests by employers and to insure that a successful claimant receives compensation undiminished by necessary costs of litigation. See Harmar Coal Co. v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, 33 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 110, 381 A.2d 219 (1977); J.R. Sales, Inc. v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, 33 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 115, 381 A.2d 212 (1977); Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board v. Bethlehem Mines Corporation, 23 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 517, 353 A.2d 79 (1977).

In a proper situation, Section 440 could be the basis for reimbursement for the stenographic cost of a copy of the deposition of a defendant's medical witness. The reference to expenses for "witnesses" in that section is ...


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