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SANDRA K. NEVIUS v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (06/27/80)

decided: June 27, 1980.

SANDRA K. NEVIUS, WIDOW OF LESTER NEVIUS, DECEASED, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD AND I. REINDOLLAR AND SONS, INC., RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Sandra K. Nevius w/o Lester v. I. Reindollar & Sons, Inc., No. A-74184.

COUNSEL

John S. Davidson, with him Jon A. Yost, Pannebaker, Yost & Davidson, for petitioner.

Martin J. Fallon, Jr., Swartz, Campbell & Detweiler, for respondent.

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

Author: Mencer

[ 52 Pa. Commw. Page 419]

Sandra K. Nevius (claimant) appeals from an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) which modified a referee's decision terminating benefits to claimant pursuant to Section 307 of The

[ 52 Pa. Commw. Page 420]

Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act (Act), Act of June 2, 1915, P.L. 736, as amended, 77 P.S. ยง 562. Section 307 provides, in pertinent part, that "if, upon investigation and hearing, it shall be ascertained that the widow or widower is living with a man or woman, as the case may be, in meretricious relationship and not married . . . , the board may order the termination of compensation payable to such widow or widower." We affirm.

The facts are not disputed. On October 4, 1974, claimant's husband died as a result of injuries sustained in a work-related accident, and claimant was awarded death benefits. In the spring of 1976, claimant began living with one Larry Arnold, a single male. The couple shared housekeeping, grocery shopping, cooking, and the like, and claimant has acknowledged that the relationship is carnal.

On June 28, 1976, I. Reindollar and Sons, Inc. (employer) filed a petition for termination of compensation agreement, alleging a meretricious relationship. The referee agreed and terminated death benefits. The Board affirmed the findings of fact but ordered suspension of benefits until the termination of the meretricious relationship.*fn1 Claimant's appeal to this court followed.

Claimant first argues that the term "meretricious relationship" is so vague and uncertain that it violates due process. We disagree. Courts have consistently described relationships as meretricious whenever two individuals are living together in a carnal way without benefit of marriage. See, e.g., Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board v. Worley, 23 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 357,

[ 52 Pa. Commw. Page 421352]

A.2d 240 (1976); Pegee v. Ricchini, 140 Pa. Superior Ct. 56, 12 ...


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