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FRANK BERNARDI v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (12/08/81)

decided: December 8, 1981.

FRANK BERNARDI, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD AND INTERSTATE AMIESITE CORP., RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Frank Bernardi v. Interstate Amiesite Corp., No. A-78777.

COUNSEL

J. Kerrington Lewis, Lewis and Stockey, for petitioner.

Joseph F. Grochmal, Fried, Kane, Walters & Zuschlag, for respondent, Interstate Amiesite Corp.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges Blatt and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.

Author: Craig

[ 63 Pa. Commw. Page 104]

This appeal questions a denial of compensation by the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board to claimant,*fn1 a laborer, affirming a referee's decision.

[ 63 Pa. Commw. Page 105]

In his claim petition, claimant alleged that on June 27, 1978, while he was riding in the back of a flatbed truck, several bundles of signs fell on claimant, causing a spinal fracture and strained back muscles. Claimant alleged that he was disabled from July 1, 1978 to July 6, 1978 and from October 3, 1978 to the present.

In the answer, the employer denied any knowledge of the injury before October 2, 1978, and further averred: (1) the entire road construction project was closed from July 1, 1978 through July 6, 1978 for the July Fourth holiday; and (2) claimant was laid off from the completed project on October 2, 1978.

Claimant, the only witness who testified, also introduced four depositions from the three physicians who had treated him. Each deposition contained a history of the accident which claimant gave the doctor; the histories were contradictory.*fn2

Defendant also offered by stipulation the report of Dr. Novak. In the history claimant gave Dr. Novak, claimant stated that he had injured his left arm, left leg, and currently had pain in his lower back.*fn3 Dr. Novak found no objective basis for his complaints, stating the accident date as June 30, 1978.*fn4

[ 63 Pa. Commw. Page 106]

In deciding against the claimant, the referee found that claimant lacked credibility. We cannot discard that finding because questions of credibility are for the referee and he may accept or reject in whole or in part the testimony of any witness as he in his lawful discretion sees fit. American Refrigerator Equipment Co. v. ...


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