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WILLIAM E. STEWART v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (04/14/80)

decided: April 14, 1980.

WILLIAM E. STEWART, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD, RESPONDENT



Appeal from an Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of William E. Stewart v. Philadelphia Housing Authority, dated May 10, 1979.

COUNSEL

William E. Stewart, for petitioner.

R. D. Harburg, of Swartz, Campbell & Detweiler, for respondent.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges Rogers and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.

Author: Rogers

[ 50 Pa. Commw. Page 480]

William E. Stewart has appealed from an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board affirming the decision of a referee dismissing his petition to set aside a final settlement receipt for workmen's compensation benefits. We affirm.

The appellant was employed as maintenance aide by the Philadelphia Housing Authority. In March 1973 he injured his back in the course of his employment and was unable to work for about six months, during which time he received workmen's compensation benefits. On August 23, 1973, he executed a final settlement receipt for workmen's compensation in the amount of $1,814.29, received his last payments and resigned from his employment. The appellant thereafter received no workmen's compensation benefits.

[ 50 Pa. Commw. Page 481]

On August 2, 1977, almost four years later, he filed a claim petition for benefits alleging disability as a result of the same March 1973 injury. He requested that the petition be treated as a petition to set aside the final receipt and a referee conducted a hearing concerning the timeliness of the petition. The appellant appeared at the hearing with counsel and was the only witness to testify. After the hearing, the referee concluded that the petition was barred because it was filed more than three years after the final compensation payment and that the employer and its insurance carrier had neither falsely induced the claimant to refrain from filing timely nor acted fraudulently otherwise in dealing with the claim. The Appeal Board affirmed the referee's decision and this appeal followed.

Section 434 of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act, Act of June 2, 1915, P.L. 736, as amended, 77 P.S. ยง 1001 provides:

A final receipt, given by an employe or dependent entitled to compensation under a compensation agreement notice or award, shall be prima facie evidence of the termination of the employer's liability to pay compensation under such agreement notice or award: Provided, however, That a referee designated by the department may, at any time within three years from the date to which payments have been made, set aside a final receipt, upon petition filed with the department, or on the department's own motion, if it be shown that all disability due to the injury in fact had not terminated.

The time period provided by Section 434 is an absolute bar to the right to obtain additional compensation and courts may not extend the period unless the claimant proves by clear and precise evidence of more ...


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