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LOLA M. HARRIS v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (05/21/80)

decided: May 21, 1980.

LOLA M. HARRIS, MOTHER OF JOSEPH WALTON, DECEASED, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD, SERVOMATION CORP. AND TRAVELERS INSURANCE COMPANY, INSURANCE CARRIER, RESPONDENTS. SERVOMATION CORP., PETITIONER V. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD AND LOLA M. HARRIS, MOTHER OF JOSEPH WALTON, DECEASED, RESPONDENTS



Appeals from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Lola M. Harris, Mother of Joseph Walton, deceased v. Servomation Corporation, No. A-73972.

COUNSEL

Francis L. Zarrilli, for Lola M. Harris.

Roger E. Legg, Gawthrop & Greenwood, for Servomation Corp. and Travelers Insurance Company.

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

Author: Craig

[ 51 Pa. Commw. Page 471]

These consolidated cases are here on appeal from an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board vacating the referee's decision that claimant Lola Harris, decedent's foster-mother, was entitled to benefits.

Decedent, an employee of Servomation Corp. (employer), a licensee providing food service at Camp Laughing Waters, owned by the Girl Scouts, died in a canoeing accident at the camp which occurred while decedent and his co-workers were on a break period within a split workshift. The referee found that the camp administrator permitted Servomation employees to use the camp facilities during their breaks. Employer was aware that the employees used camp facilities on their break periods.

The referee concluded in the twelfth finding that:

Because of the short break between the end of the breakfast period and the beginning of the lunch period, and the fact that the defendant and the camp officials had offered the facilities of the camp for the defendant's employees, the defendant's employees on the premises of the camp during this recreation break period was in furtherance of the defendant's business.

Further, concluding that the decedent was a minor at the time of his death, and that claimant stood in loco parentis to the decedent who was contributing to her support, the referee awarded claimant benefits.

[ 51 Pa. Commw. Page 472]

On appeal by employer, the board vacated the referee's award of compensation to claimant on the ground that, because claimant did not have custody or control of decedent and because she did not contribute to decedent's support, claimant did not stand in loco parentis to decedent; nor as a foster-mother was she a natural "mother" entitled to benefits under Section 307(5) of the Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act (Act), 77 P.S. ยง 561.*fn1

On appeal claimant challenges the board's determination that as decedent's foster-mother she was not decedent's "mother" within Section 307(5) of the Act. Further, employer, although successful below, asserts on appeal here that the board erred in ...


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