Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Earl H. Roberts, Jr. v. Carpenter Technology Corp., No. A-77528.
William David Murphy, Sager & Sager Associates, for petitioner.
John E. Domalakes, Rubright, Domalakes, Troy & Miller, for respondent, Carpenter Technology, Inc.
Judges Craig, MacPhail and Williams, Jr., sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Williams, Jr. This decision was reached prior to the expiration of the term of office of Judge Wilkinson, Jr..
[ 58 Pa. Commw. Page 124]
This is the appeal of Earl H. Roberts, Jr. (claimant) from an Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board). The Board's Order affirmed a referee's decision denying compensation to the claimant, and affirmed the referee's treatment of the case as a Petition to Set Aside a Final Receipt.
Roberts was employed by Carpenter Technology Corporation (employer) as a furnace charger. His position often required that he do heavy lifting. On May 16, 1975, he injured his lower back while doing such lifting. Although the severity and duration of his injury were disputed, the claimant received workmen's compensation benefits over three separate periods. Initially, he received benefits from May 17, 1975 to May 26, 1975. He returned to work on May 27, 1975, and executed a Final Receipt on June 6, 1975. On May 29, 1975, he re-injured his lower back while moving empty oil drums; this incident resulted in payment of additional benefits from May 30, 1975 to October 20, 1975. On October 21, 1975, he returned to work in a janitorial capacity; and a second Final Receipt was executed by him on October 23, 1975. He continued working as a janitor until December 30, 1975, when he was again disabled by pain in his lower back. This disability was compensated by payment of benefits from December 31, 1975 to January 19, 1976. The
[ 58 Pa. Commw. Page 125]
claimant returned to work on January 20, 1976, and executed a third Final Receipt on January 29, 1976.
Roberts ceased working for the employer on January 29, 1976. Thereafter he received additional treatment on his lower back, including surgery in June, 1976. On June 21, 1976, he filed a claim petition alleging compensable disability from May 16, 1975, to the date of filing. This claim was filed in spite of the benefits which the claimant had already received; and despite the fact that he had also received $118 per week after January 29, 1976, through the employer's sickness and accident insurance program.
The claim petition was denied by a referee, and the claimant appealed to the Board. Some procedural confusion ensued during pendency of that appeal; this confusion was due to the several Final Receipts, and two apparently incompatible Notices of Compensation Payable, which are part of this record. The Board remanded the case to the referee with directions that the procedural confusion be resolved by treatment of the matter as a Petition to Set Aside the claimant's most recent Final Receipt, which was executed on January 29, 1976.
On remand the referee, after taking conflicting medical testimony, found that the claimant failed to carry his burden of proof and held for the employer. The claimant appealed this decision to the Board. The Board affirmed the referee, and claimant brings this appeal from the Board's Order.
Putting aside the procedural problems, which were properly resolved by the Board's remand, the record before us presents one simple issue for our consideration: Did the claimant meet his burden of proof ...