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ISABELLA C. LEONARD v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (08/10/81)

decided: August 10, 1981.

ISABELLA C. LEONARD, WIDOW OF ROY G. LEONARD, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD AND AUTOMOTIVE MAINTENANCE INC., D/B/A CHADDERTON TRUCKING, RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of Isabella C. Leonard, widow of Roy G. Leonard v. Automotive Maintenance, Inc., t/d/b/a Chadderton Trucking, No. A-77635.

COUNSEL

David J. Graban, Fruit, Dill, Goodwin & Scholl, for petitioner.

Joseph F. Grochmal, with him Roy F. Walters, Jr., Fried, Kane, Walters & Zuschlag, for respondent, Automotive Maintenance Inc.

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

Author: Craig

[ 61 Pa. Commw. Page 201]

Isabella Leonard, claimant-widow of Roy G. Leonard, questions a denial of benefits by the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, reversing a referee's decision which had awarded compensation on the basis of her fatal claim petition.

The decedent, employed by Automotive Maintenance, Inc. (employer), died on February 16, 1977.

At the hearing, a co-worker testified that he and the decedent were working outdoors, with eight inches of snow on the ground and temperatures in the thirties. They removed a fuel tank from a truck by burning off the bolts, then rolled it about ten or fifteen feet. The co-worker stated that the tank was "pretty heavy"; he estimated that it weighed "somewhere between a hundred, a hundred fifty pounds."

The two took a coffee break in the warm cab of the truck they had driven to the scene, then prepared to remove the steering box from the truck by crawling underneath to locate and check the part. The co-worker stated that the decedent, who had crawled out to

[ 61 Pa. Commw. Page 202]

    retrieve the torch, fell over and began gasping for breath, groaning, shaking and shivering. Ambulance attendants, immediately called, concluded that death had occurred.

The claimant testified that the decedent was 51 years old when he died, was taking medication to control his cholesterol level, and that, as the result of several hernia operations, was not supposed to lift heavy objects. She stated that he was under stress because of personality conflicts with other employees.

The claimant submitted into evidence a copy of the death certificate, signed by a lay deputy coroner, which listed as the cause of death "Acute Coronary Occlusion." Counsel for the employer objected to that ...


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