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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (09/27/79)

decided: September 27, 1979.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRY, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD, ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY AND ALLIED FOODS, RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Stephen Civils v. Allied Foods and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, No. A-73485.

COUNSEL

Laurence W. Dague, Assistant Attorney General, for petitioner.

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

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

Author: Blatt

[ 46 Pa. Commw. Page 235]

The Department of Labor and Industry (Department) appeals from an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) which reversed a referee and upheld a supplemental agreement entered into between Allstate Insurance Company (insurer) on behalf of Allied Foods and Stephen Civils (claimant).

The claimant suffered a job-related injury, and beginning on October 25, 1973, received compensation for total disability at the rate of $60.08 per week. On July 1, 1974, the insurer filed a modification petition alleging that the claimant was capable of performing light work. The claimant initially contested the petition, but, while the proceedings before the referee were in progress, he signed a supplemental agreement indicating that his disability had reduced to 50 percent and specifying compensation at $30.04

[ 46 Pa. Commw. Page 236]

    per week. The petition was withdrawn, and the agreement was submitted to the Department, which rejected it. The insurer nevertheless continued to make payments under the supplemental agreement, and the Department then initiated proceedings against the insurer to establish whether or not such payments were in violation of the provisions of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act*fn1 (Act). A referee concluded that the insurer was in violation of Section 407 of the Act, 77 P.S. ยง 731, which provides in pertinent part as follows:

It shall be the duty of the department to examine the agreement to determine whether it conforms to the provisions of this act and rules and regulations hereunder.

The Board, however, reversed the referee, ruling that the Department's only duty is to determine whether or not an agreement conforms to the Act and the regulations thereunder and that the Department had not shown how the instant agreement did not so conform. The Board concluded, therefore, that the carrier did not violate the Act. We agree.

While it is clear that the Department has the obligation to reject agreements which do not conform to the Act and regulations, it is equally clear that it can reject only those agreements which do not so conform. If, therefore, the agreement here did conform to the Act and regulations, then the Department's rejection was improper and the insurer's payments thereunder were not in violation of the Act. We must ...


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