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WESTINGHOUSE ELECTRIC CORPORATION v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (06/09/81)

decided: June 9, 1981.

WESTINGHOUSE ELECTRIC CORPORATION, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD AND BEULAH R. TEITT, RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Beulah R. Teitt, Widow of Matthew J. Teitt, deceased v. Westinghouse Electric Corporation, No. A-77875.

COUNSEL

Robert W. Murdoch, Jones, Gregg, Creehan and Gerace, for petitioner.

Morrison F. Lewis, Jr., for respondent, Beulah R. Teitt.

Judges Mencer, Craig and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.

Author: Mencer

[ 59 Pa. Commw. Page 559]

Matthew J. Teitt suffered a myocardial infarction in the course of his employment with Westinghouse Electric Corporation (Westinghouse) and died as a result thereof. His widow, Beulah R. Teitt (claimant)

[ 59 Pa. Commw. Page 560]

    filed a fatal claim petition and, following a hearing, a workmen's compensation referee made an award of benefits to the claimant. Westinghouse appealed this award to the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) which affirmed the referee's decision and dismissed Westinghouse's appeal. Westinghouse seeks our review of the Board's order. We affirm.

Westinghouse raises here a single question: Was the award of the referee based upon an insufficient quality and quantity of competent evidence so that the Board erred in affirming the referee's findings of fact and conclusions of law?

Westinghouse contends that the claimant's medical testimony was not sufficiently competent to unequivocally establish that the myocardial infarction suffered by Matthew J. Teitt was work related.

Our scope of review is critical in this case and, since the claimant prevailed in the administrative process, we are to determine whether constitutional rights were violated, an error of law was committed, or findings were not based upon substantial evidence. Latrobe Steel Co. v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, 41 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 460, 399 A.2d 465 (1979). Where a decedent is performing his or her usual job assignment at the time of the fatal heart attack and the connection between the work and the heart attack is supported by competent medical testimony, decedent's claimant is entitled to compensation. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board v. Bernard S. Pincus Co., 479 Pa. 286, 388 A.2d 659 (1978).

It is settled that it is not for this Court to resolve conflicts in the testimony or to assess the credibility of witnesses. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board v. Vitello, 33 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 172, 380 A.2d 1326 (1977). The referee is the ultimate factfinder in our system of resolving workmen's compensation ...


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