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CRUCIBLE STEEL COMPANY v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (12/23/81)

decided: December 23, 1981.

CRUCIBLE STEEL COMPANY, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD AND EARL E. DOUGHTY, RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Earl Doughty v. Crucible Steel Corporation, No. A-77061.

COUNSEL

Joseph A. Fricker, Jr., for petitioner.

Benjamin L. Costello, Yablonski, King, Costello & Leckie, for respondent, Earl E. Doughty.

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

Author: Palladino

[ 63 Pa. Commw. Page 375]

Crucible Steel Company (Employer) appeals from an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) which affirmed a referee's decision awarding benefits to Earl E. Doughty (Claimant). We affirm.

Claimant worked for Employer in various capacities from November 19, 1935, through March 1, 1977, when he quit because of shortness of breath. In April, 1977, and again on February 20, 1978, Claimant had physical examinations after the second of which he was diagnosed as being totally and permanently disabled as a result of anthraco-silicosis with complications of pulmonary emphysema and chronic asthmatic bronchitis. Following a consultation with his attorney, Claimant notified Employer on March 23, 1978,

[ 63 Pa. Commw. Page 376]

    that his disability was the result of an occupational disease, and, on March 27, 1978, he filed a Claim Petition under the occupational disease provisions of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act (Act).*fn1

Hearings were held before a referee during which both sides presented, inter alia, evidence describing Claimant's work environment and medical testimony as to the causation of Claimant's disability. At the conclusion of these hearings, the referee awarded Claimant benefits for total disability. The Board took no new evidence and affirmed the referee's award.

On appeal to this Court, Employer contends (1) that Section 301(d) of the Act, 77 P.S. § 412, was not satisfied because a conclusion that Claimant had an occupational disease could only be drawn from an analysis of his work environment over the ten year period prior to his disability and (2) that Claimant was aware of the fact that he was disabled as the result of an occupational disease more than 120 days prior to the date of notice to Employer and thus the referee was in error in finding that Section 311 of the Act, 77 P.S. § 631 had been satisfied.

"A claimant seeking [workmen's compensation] benefits for an injury occasioned by an occupational disease has the burden of proving that his or her disability resulted from the occupational disease." Crucible Steel Corp. v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, 59 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 184, 189, 429 A.2d 123, 125 (1981). Where, as here, the party with the burden of proof prevailed before the referee and the Board did not take additional evidence, this Court's scope of review is ...


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