Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of Meredith M. Naugle v. Penn Machine Company, No. A-77804.
Stephen L. Dugas, Glass, Glass & Dugas, for petitioner.
Joseph F. Grochmal, Fried, Kane, Walters & Zuschlag, for respondents.
President Judge Crumlish and Judges Craig and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.
[ 62 Pa. Commw. Page 133]
In this workmen's compensation appeal, the claimant*fn1 questions a denial of compensation by the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, affirming the referee's decision that the claimant was not injured in the course of his employment.*fn2
[ 62 Pa. Commw. Page 134]
An employee of the Penn Machine Company (employer), the claimant was injured on February 23, 1979 when he slipped on ice, fell and broke his hip while walking to the plant after parking his car. The lot where the claimant was injured, located across a set of railroad tracks from the employer's property, was owned by U.S. Steel; the claimant and several other Penn Machine employees regularly preferred to park there, rather than to try finding a space in the lot provided by the employer or in the metered on-street parking near the plant.
The employer was aware of employee use of the lot, having posted a notice detailing complaints from U.S. Steel and the municipal authorities as to the employees' haphazard manner of parking.*fn3
[ 62 Pa. Commw. Page 135]
The employer presented testimony concerning the general availability of space in the employer's lot. The referee concluded that the claimant "was not injured by reason of the condition of or on the premises of the employer within the meaning of [the Act]." The board affirmed, holding the injury to be non-compensable because it occurred on property which the employer neither owned, operated nor controlled.
Because the claimant was not actually working at the time of his fall, his eligibility depends upon whether or not the incident occurred on the employer's premises.*fn4 Schofield v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, 39 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 282, 395 A.2d 328 (1978). That requirement was interpreted by the Supreme Court in Epler v. North American Rockwell Corp., 482 Pa. 391, 393 A.2d 1163 (1978) as embracing property that is so connected to the ...