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TASTYKAKE v. WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (MICHAEL K. FORNWALT) (04/06/83)

decided: April 6, 1983.

TASTYKAKE, INC., PETITIONER
v.
WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (MICHAEL K. FORNWALT), RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of Michael K. Fornwalt v. Tastykake, Inc., No. A-80738.

COUNSEL

Charles E. Wasilefski, Foulkrod, Peters & Wasilefski, for petitioner.

Thomas S. Long, Siegrist, Koller, Brightbill & Long, for respondent.

Judges Rogers, Blatt and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.

Author: Rogers

[ 73 Pa. Commw. Page 275]

Tastykake, Inc. (employer) has filed this appeal from the decision by the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) which affirmed the referee's decision granting benefits to Michael K. Fornwalt (claimant) pursuant to the The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act*fn1 for injury "arising in the course of his employment and related thereto." Section 301(c) of the Act, 77 P.S. ยง 411. We affirm.

Claimant worked for the employer, as a deliveryman, for over ten years. The claimant's responsibilities throughout his employment required him to step in and out of his truck approximately 150 times a day in order to make deliveries to at least 40 stores each day. The process of getting in and out of his truck required the claimant to place his weight on his left leg and turn the leg to sit in the driver's seat. The first step in the truck is twenty and one-quarter inches high and the second step is approximately the same height. Six to eight weeks before August 20, 1978, the claimant experienced a cracking and small amount of pain in his left knee when he got in and out of his truck. The cracking and pain eventually came to occur nine of ten times the claimant got into and out of his truck.

Before August 20, 1978, the claimant told his supervisor, while the supervisor was riding in his truck, that he was experiencing pain and cracking in his knee. On August 20, 1978, while walking normally in his swimming pool at home, the claimant's knee locked and became immovable. The claimant told his employer the next day of the condition of his knee and that he could not work.

The claimant visited a doctor who diagnosed his problem as a sprained knee. Three weeks later, after

[ 73 Pa. Commw. Page 276]

    failing to regain mobility, the claimant visited an orthopedic surgeon who ordered testing and eventual surgery to repair a tear of the medial meniscus of the left knee. It was the opinion of the surgeon that the torn meniscus was due to trauma.

The employer states two questions: 1) whether there is substantial evidence in the record to support the referee's and the Board's conclusions that the claimant suffered a work-related injury; and 2) whether the claimant gave timely notice of his injury to his employer.

Where no obvious causal relationship exists between a work incident and a disabling injury, a workmen's compensation claimant has the burden of proving causation by unequivocal medical evidence. Cooper-Jarrett, Inc. v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal ...


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