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INGERSOLL RAND COMPANY v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (11/19/81)

decided: November 19, 1981.

INGERSOLL RAND COMPANY, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD AND TERRY L. BROWN, RESPONDENTS. PENNSYLVANIA MANUFACTURERS' ASSOCIATION INSURANCE COMPANY, INTERVENOR



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Terry L. Brown v. Ingersoll Rand Company, No. A-77521.

COUNSEL

Paul A. Barrett, of Nogi, O'Malley & Harris, P.C., for petitioner.

Robert J. Beirne, Beirne & Barrett, for respondent, Terry L. Brown.

John W. Schmitthenner, of Epstein & Schmittenner, for intervenor.

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

Author: Williams

[ 62 Pa. Commw. Page 508]

The question presented by this workmen's compensation case is who, as between employer Ingersoll Rand Company (Ingersoll) and its former insurance carrier, must bear liability for specific loss benefits to Terry Lee Brown, the claimant below. When the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) affirmed a referee's decision that Ingersoll was liable, the employer appealed to this Court.

[ 62 Pa. Commw. Page 509]

In December 1977, Terry Lee Brown (claimant) filed a claim petition against Ingersoll, alleging that he had lost the use of his left hand as the result of an August 1977 work injury. In the instant appeal it is uncontested that the claimant lost the use of his hand to a degree and in a manner entitling him to specific loss benefits. The loss of use was ascertained after the second of two adverse incidents concerning the claimant's left hand. Both incidents, one in 1973 and the other in August 1977, occurred in the course of claimant's employment with Ingersoll. However, at the time of the first incident Ingersoll was insured by the Pennsylvania Manufacturers' Association Insurance Company (PMA); and, at the time of the second incident, Ingersoll was self-insured.

Ingersoll here challenges the referee's finding that the claimant's loss of use of the left hand was caused by the second adverse incident, as distinguished from the first. In that regard, Ingersoll argues that the referee's finding was not only unsupported by substantial evidence, but was also in capricious disregard of competent medical testimony from the claimant's own physician.

On May 21, 1973, the claimant was working for Ingersoll as a machinist. On that date, while he was operating a band saw, the claimant's left hand was caught under the blades of the saw and severely cut. The hand was cut almost entirely through; but medical procedures were successful in sewing it together. As a result of this injury the claimant was unable to work for 15 1/2 weeks, for which he received workmen's compensation benefits from PMA. He returned to full-time work with Ingersoll on September 10, 1973.

Concerning the condition of his hand after returning to work in 1973, the claimant testified in the instant matter as follows: He was able to use his left hand, but ...


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