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CHARLES J. RIZZO v. WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (PITTSBURGH BOARD EDUCATION) (09/16/82)

decided: September 16, 1982.

CHARLES J. RIZZO, DECEASED BY MATILDA RIZZO, WIDOW, PETITIONER
v.
WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (PITTSBURGH BOARD OF EDUCATION), RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of Matilda Rizzo, w/o Charles v. Pittsburgh Board of Education, No. A-77075.

COUNSEL

Amiel B. Caramanna, with him Alexander J. Pentecost, for petitioner.

David H. Dille, Assistant Solicitor, with him Robert J. Stefanko, Solicitor, for respondent, Pittsburgh Board of Education.

Judges Williams, Jr., MacPhail and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges Rogers, Blatt, Williams, Jr., Craig, MacPhail and Doyle. Opinion by President Judge Crumlish, Jr. Judge Doyle concurs in the result only.

Author: Crumlish

[ 69 Pa. Commw. Page 93]

Matilda Rizzo (claimant) appeals a Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board order denying her fatal claim petition. We reverse.

Charles Rizzo (decedent) died of a myocardial infarction on October 9, 1976. At the onset of his attack, he was home.*fn1

The decedent was employed by the Pittsburgh Board of Education as a mechanical engineer and was responsible for maintaining the plumbing, heating and air conditioning at 104 area schools. The claimant alleged that her husband's heart attack was the result of the stress that he experienced in his job and was thus a compensable injury under Section 301(c)(1) of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act.*fn2

The referee awarded benefits but the Board reversed, concluding that since decedent's heart attack occurred at home benefits must be denied because claimant had failed to prove that he was engaged in the business of his employer when the attack occurred.

[ 69 Pa. Commw. Page 94]

In light of our Supreme Court's decision in Krawchuk v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, Pa. , 439 A.2d 627 (1981), we reverse.

In Krawchuk the Supreme Court wrote:

Not infrequently, a stress heart attack is a gradual injury wherein the pressures and strain of the job -- physical, mental, or both -- take their toll in small doses until, at some point, those doses in the aggregate push the heart past its limits. That such point happens to manifest itself at the victim's home is irrelevant except insofar as the location of the final onslaught might have some bearing in a given case on whether the injury arose in the course of employment and was related thereto. (Emphasis in original.)

Id. at , 439 A.2d at 631.

Thus, the Board must be reversed unless the referee's conclusions of law are not adequately supported by the evidence. Id. at , 439 A.2d ...


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