Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Carl W. Armstrong v. Davis Brothers Plumbing & Heating, No. A-78258.
Daniel V. Delaney, Delaney, Vuckovich, Carmella & Delaney, for petitioner.
Frederick C. Trenor, II, Meyer, Darragh, Buckler, Bebenek & Eck, for respondent, Davis Brothers Plumbing and Heating.
Judges Mencer, Rogers and Williams, Jr., sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.
[ 62 Pa. Commw. Page 575]
Carl Armstrong appeals from an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board reversing a referee's order granting the prayer of Armstrong's claim petition for benefits related to his total disability and denying the prayer of the petition of Armstrong's employer, Davis Brother Plumbing and Heating, for the termination of benefits then being paid pursuant to a compensation agreement.
Armstrong tripped on a recessed drain at his workplace. He and his employer entered into a compensation agreement in which the employer accepted that Armstrong had injured his "left leg and ankle, [with] chronic pain and swelling" and agreed to pay Armstrong $100 a week during total disability. After about five months, during which Armstrong's leg injury did
[ 62 Pa. Commw. Page 576]
not improve to any significant degree, it was ascertained that he was suffering from a herniated disc which caused the claimant to suffer a "drop foot" of the left leg. The herniated disc was treated by surgery. Armstrong continued to be totally disabled.
Armstrong says that his back problem and resulting condition of "drop foot" are direct results of the tripping incident at work. The employer contends that the back problem is totally unrelated to that incident and that the sprained ankle for which it accepted liability is totally cured and is not the cause of any present disability.
The referee made the following findings of fact in support of his award:
18. Your Referee finds as a fact from the testimony of Dr. Barclay that Claimant had a sprained ankle, but that it was the result of a drop foot which was from the back which he has not fully recovered from and probably will never get any better than he is right now.
19. That your Referee finds from the testimony of Dr. Barclay regarding the injury in April of 1973 that the Claimant apparently had a sprained ankle, but it was a ...