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JENNIE E. CORNMAN v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (02/02/81)

decided: February 2, 1981.

JENNIE E. CORNMAN, MOTHER OF THOMAS E. CORNMAN, DECEASED, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD, CHESTER HILL BOROUGH AND OHIO CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of Thomas E. Cornman, deceased, Jennie E., Mother v. Chester Hill Borough, No. A-77371.

COUNSEL

James A. Naddeo, Belin, Belin & Naddeo, for petitioner.

David P. Andrews, with him James S. Routch, Patterson, Evey, Routch, Black, Behrens & Dorezas, for respondents.

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

Author: Blatt

[ 56 Pa. Commw. Page 414]

Thomas E. Cornman died as a result of injuries sustained while in the course of his employment with Chester Hill Borough. His mother, Jennie E. Cornman (claimant), with whom he resided at the time of his death, filed a Fatal Claim Petition pursuant to Section 307(5) of The Workmen's Compensation Act (Act), Act of June 2, 1915, P.L. 736, as amended 77 P.S.

[ 56 Pa. Commw. Page 415]

ยง 561(5)*fn1 After hearing, a referee found that the claimant had been partially dependent upon her son at the time of his death and awarded her compensation benefits in the amount of $38.99 per week. The Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) found on appeal, however, that the referee's findings were not supported by substantial evidence, reversed the referee and ordered the claim petition dismissed. The claimant thereafter appealed to this Court. We affirm.

In workmen's compensation cases our scope of review is limited to a determination as to whether or not constitutional rights were violated, an error of law was committed or any necessary finding of fact was unsupported by substantial evidence. Leipziger v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, 12 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 417, 315 A.2d 883 (1974). Under the Act, the referee is the fact-finder and the Board may disregard the findings of fact of the referee only if they are not supported by sufficient competent evidence. Universal Cyclops Steel Corporation v. Krawczynski, 9 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 176, 305 A.2d 757 (1973).

The only issue before us is whether or not the claimant met her burden of proving that she was partially dependent upon the decedent at the time of his death. Regent Bottling Company v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, 10 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 8, 309 A.2d 265 (1973). We believe that she did not.

It is well established that:

The term 'dependency' as used in the statute contemplates actual dependency and must affirmatively appear in ...


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