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GREAT AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (03/19/81)

decided: March 19, 1981.

GREAT AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD AND COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR & INDUSTRY, RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, in the case of Great American Insurance Company v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Labor and Industry, No. A-77132.

COUNSEL

Joseph S. Bekelza, with him David L. Pennington, Harvey, Pennington, Herting & Renneisen, Ltd., for petitioner.

Gregory D. Geiss, Assistant Attorney General, with him Laurence W. Dague, Assistant Attorney General, for respondents.

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

Author: Williams

[ 58 Pa. Commw. Page 14]

In this appeal we are faced with the question of whether appellant Great American Insurance Company (Company) was entitled to reimbursement from the Supersedeas Fund pursuant to Section 443 of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act.*fn1

[ 58 Pa. Commw. Page 15]

In October 1974 the Company issued a Notice of Compensation Payable for a work related injury of one Mamie Lee Warren. The rate of compensation was set at $93.87 per week, beginning October 2, 1974. On January 17, 1975, the Company petitioned to terminate the benefits. That petition alleged only that all disability had ceased and terminated on November 18, 1974, and that the claimant had been discharged to return to work on November 18, 1974, according to a medical report attached to the petition. The petition to terminate did not expressly designate or request that a supersedeas be granted; and no such relief was otherwise expressly requested when the petition was filed.

Several hearings on the petition were held between May, 1977, and December, 1977. At the hearing on September 7, 1977, the referee entered a supersedeas in the Company's favor, providing that no compensation was to be paid to Ms. Warren after September 7. Apparently, the Company's express request for the supersedeas was made on that date. On September 20, 1979, the referee finally entered an order terminating benefits, as of November 18, 1974.

On December 8, 1978, the Company filed a petition with the state Department of Labor and Industry requesting reimbursement from the Supersedeas Fund for amounts paid to or on behalf of Ms. Warren from the date of the termination petition (January 17, 1975) to the date a supersedeas was obtained (September 7, 1977). The sum claimed for was $25,087.35 in compensation and $1316.00 in medical bills. In February, 1979, a referee's hearing was held on the reimbursement petition; and on March 23, 1979, the referee entered an order denying that petition. The Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board affirmed the referee's decision per curiam ; and the Company further appealed to this Court.

The legal source of the right to reimbursement here in question is Section 443(a) of the Workmen's Compensation

[ 58 Pa. Commw. Page 16]

Act. That Section in pertinent part provides ...


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