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CAROLYN R. CROUSE v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (03/12/81)

decided: March 12, 1981.

CAROLYN R. CROUSE, WIDOW OF ROBERT E. CROUSE, DECEASED, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD AND SPERRY UNIVAC, RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Carolyn S. Crouse, widow of Robert E. Crouse, deceased v. Sperry Univac, No. A-77764.

COUNSEL

Earl T. Britt, with him Wayne A. Schaible, Duane, Morris & Heckscher, for petitioner.

Lowell A. Reed, Jr., with him Michael D. Melie, of counsel, Rawle & Henderson, for respondent, Sperry Univac.

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

Author: Macphail

[ 57 Pa. Commw. Page 431]

Carolyn Crouse (Claimant) appeals here from an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) which affirmed the referee's dismissal of the Claimant's fatal claim petition.

[ 57 Pa. Commw. Page 432]

Claimant is the widow of Robert E. Crouse (Decedent). The Decedent had been employed as a sales representative for Sperry Univac Corporation (Employer). His job required servicing computer accounts in the publishing industry. One of his major accounts was TV Guide. The Decedent used his own vehicle for travel to his accounts. It was the Employer's policy to compensate the Decedent for all mileage excluding the mileage from his home in West Chester to the Employer's Whitemarsh office where the Decedent had a desk and his supervisor was headquartered.

On December 13, 1973, the Decedent was working with his supervisor and others in the Whitemarsh office, preparing a three million dollar proposal to be presented to TV Guide on the morning of December 14, 1973. The Decedent was responsible for delivering the materials to TV Guide. He left his office at 7:30 p.m., taking the presentation materials with him. While enroute home, he stopped at a restaurant for about an hour where he visited with some friends and consumed one or two drinks. Shortly thereafter, he was injured in an automobile accident which resulted in his death on December 16, 1973.

Claimant filed a fatal claim petition with the Board on December 6, 1976. After conducting several hearings, the referee dismissed the petition on the ground that the Decedent had not sustained his fatal injuries during the course of his employment as defined by Section 301(c)(1) of the Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act (Act)*fn1 and consequently was

[ 57 Pa. Commw. Page 433]

    ineligible for benefits under the Act. The Board affirmed the referee.

The gravamen of the Claimant's argument is that the referee and the Board capriciously disregarded substantial competent evidence and erred as a matter of law in determining that the Decedent was not within the ...


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