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LUTHER WASHINGTON v. WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (HARRISBURG HOSPITAL AND AETNA LIFE AND CASUALTY COMPANY) (10/01/82)

decided: October 1, 1982.

LUTHER WASHINGTON, PETITIONER
v.
WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (HARRISBURG HOSPITAL AND AETNA LIFE AND CASUALTY COMPANY), RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of Luther Washington v. Harrisburg Hospital, No. A-74881.

COUNSEL

David F. Tamanini, for petitioner.

R. Burke McLemore, Jr., with him Joseph P. Hafer, Thomas & Thomas, for respondent, Harrisburg Hospital.

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

Author: Doyle

[ 69 Pa. Commw. Page 256]

This is an appeal by Luther Washington (Claimant) from an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) holding that it was without jurisdiction to address Claimant's appeal from a referee's denial of his reinstatement petition by virtue of Claimant's failure to file an effective appeal pursuant to the requirements of Section 423 of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act (Act).*fn1 We affirm.

The referee's decision herein was issued on March 6, 1978. Subsequently, Claimant's counsel at the time submitted a letter to the board dated March 26, 1978 but postmarked March 27, 1978, P.M., which stated:

This is to advise the Appeal Board that we wish to appeal the decision of the Referee, Thomas B. Noonan, in the above-captioned case.

[ 69 Pa. Commw. Page 257]

The formal Appeal From Referee's Findings Of Fact and Appeal From Referee's Alleging Error Of Law will be forwarded to your office in the very near future. (Emphasis in original.)

Despite this letter, no "formal" appeal was ever submitted to the Board. On June 9, 1978, Claimant's employer, Harrisburg Hospital (Employer), filed a petition to quash Claimant's "appeal" on the grounds of noncompliance with the requirements of Section 423 of the Act. A hearing, at which neither Claimant or his counsel appeared, took place on October 26, 1978, and on November 6, 1980, the Board held that it was without authority to address the merits of Claimant's "appeal" because no proper appeal pursuant to Section 423 of the Act had been taken.

In his appeal to this Court, Claimant asserts that the decision of the Board is in error because the letter of March 26, 1978, placed the parties on notice that the appeal would be based both on errors of law and fact and was therefore in and of itself sufficient to constitute an effective appeal under the Act or, in the alternative, that a brief filed by Claimant with the Board on April 30, 1979, provided detail as to the merits of his claim so as to amend and perfect under the Act the appeal initiated by the March 26, 1978, letter. Claimant also alleges that the Board's ...


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