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MARY B. TATRAI v. PRESBYTERIAN UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL (02/13/81)

decided: February 13, 1981.

MARY B. TATRAI, FORMERLY MARY B. FLEMING, APPELLANT
v.
PRESBYTERIAN UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL



No. 972 APRIL TERM, 1979, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Civil Division, at No. G.D. 77-01375.

COUNSEL

Nicholas R. Stone, Pittsburgh, submitted a brief on behalf of appellant.

Robert A. Nedwick, Pittsburgh, for appellee.

Cavanaugh, Hoffman and Van der Voort, JJ. Cavanaugh, J., files a concurring statement. Hoffman, J., files a dissenting opinion.

Author: Van Der Voort

[ 284 Pa. Super. Page 301]

Appellant was an employee at Presbyterian Hospital, the appellee herein. On the day in question, May 27, 1975, her employment hours were from 7:00 A.M. to 3:30 P.M. Sometime before 10 A.M., she became ill and was directed by her supervisor to go to the emergency room of the hospital to seek medical attention. She reported there. While on the X-ray table, she was injured when the foot stand of the table became loose, causing her to fall.

[ 284 Pa. Super. Page 302]

Appellant filed a complaint in trespass and assumpsit against the hospital alleging negligence and a breach of warranty of the safety of appellee's equipment and services. Appellee filed an answer alleging as New Matter that at the time of the various incidents appellant was an employee whose exclusive remedy is under the Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act. Appellant's reply averred that she was a patient at the time of her injury and that she was not acting in the scope of her employment.

Appellee's Motion for Summary Judgment was denied by the lower court on the ground that there was perhaps a factual problem as to whether appellant was required to go to the emergency room and thus "to be present on his employer's premises." The parties went to trial on the basis of an alleged stipulation of the relevant facts, with a further stipulation that the judge should first decide the "threshold question" of whether appellant's exclusive remedy was under the Workmen's Compensation Laws. It was further agreed that if the court ruled in favor of appellant the parties would proceed before a jury; if the court found in favor of appellee then a non-jury verdict was to be entered for appellee. The lower court decided the question in favor of appellee and entered a non-jury verdict in its favor.

Appellant's exceptions were dismissed. The opinion in support of the verdict was adopted by the court en banc. From the order dismissing exceptions, appellant has filed this appeal.

The opinion of the lower court states that the injury was compensable under the Workmen's Compensation Act, and that plaintiff's exclusive remedy was with the Workmen's Compensation Board. The opinion is in part as follows:

"The court concludes that the provisions of § 301(c) of the Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act, 77 P.S. § 411, are dispositive of the issue at bar. That section, in its pertinent part, reads as follows:

'(1) . . . The term 'injury arising in the course of his employment,' as used in this article, . . . shall include all other injuries sustained while the employe [sic] is actually

[ 284 Pa. Super. Page 303]

    engaged in the furtherance of the business or affairs of the employer, whether upon the employer's premises or elsewhere, and shall include all injuries caused by the condition of the premises or by the operation of the employer's business or affairs thereon, sustained by the employe, [sic] who, though not so engaged, is injured upon the premises occupied by or under the control of the employer, or upon which the employer's business or affairs are being carried on, the employe's [sic] presence thereon being required by the nature of his employment.' (Emphasis supplied).

"The parties have stipulated that plaintiff became ill during the course of her employment and that she was directed by her supervisor as to how she should proceed in seeking the medical attention ...


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