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VULCAN MATERIALS CO. v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (06/03/80)

decided: June 3, 1980.

VULCAN MATERIALS CO., INC., PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD AND ALBERT L. PAPA, RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Albert L. Papa, Jr. v. Vulcan Materials Co., No. A-75728.

COUNSEL

Roy F. Walters, Jr., with him Carl B. Fried, Fried, Kane, Walters & Zuschlag, for petitioner.

Robert B. Truel, with him Barbara Kern, Truel and Ploeger, for respondent.

Judges Mencer, Blatt and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.

Author: Mencer

[ 51 Pa. Commw. Page 638]

In this workmen's compensation appeal, Vulcan Materials Co., Inc., contends that Albert L. Papa, Jr. (claimant) failed to present unequivocal medical

[ 51 Pa. Commw. Page 639]

    testimony to establish the requisite causal connection between his injury and disability. Both the referee and Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) granted total disability benefits to claimant, who twisted something in his back and experienced pain in his lower back and groin when lifting 11-pound drums at work on August 5, 1975. On the basis of Morgan v. Giant Markets, Inc., 483 Pa. 421, 397 A.2d 415 (1979), the facts of which are almost identical to those presented here, we find that unequivocal medical testimony was not required to show causation because the causal connection was obvious. See also Sacks v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, 43 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 259, 402 A.2d 293 (1979). But see Linkiewicz v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, 44 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 485, 403 A.2d 1364 (1979).

In Morgan, the Court held that

[w]here one is doing an act that requires force or strain and pain is experienced at the point of force or strain, the injury may be found to have been established. Pain is an excellent symptom of an injury. Of course, the trier of fact will determine the credibility of the witness's testimony as to the total situation. We, therefore, find substantial competent evidence in the record to support the conclusion of the Workmen's Compensation Board of Appeals, that the above facts establish a causal connection between the work incident and appellant's injury.

483 Pa. at 424, 397 A.2d at 416.

The Supreme Court reached this conclusion despite the fact that Morgan had a history of prior back trouble to which his ...


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