Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Irvin J. Stiffler v. Great A & P Tea Co., No. A-80965.
S. R. DiFrancesco, Sr., for petitioner.
David P. Andrews, Patterson, Evey, Routch, Black, Dorezas & Magee, for respondent, Great A & P Tea Co.
Judges Blatt, Craig and Doyle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.
[ 73 Pa. Commw. Page 301]
Irvin J. Stiffler appeals from a Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board order which suspended his benefits, modifying a referee's order which had granted the Great A & P Tea Company its termination petition.
[ 73 Pa. Commw. Page 302]
Mr. Stiffler has been a regular part-time employee with A & P since December of 1972, primarily responsible for stocking shelves with merchandise weighing 40 to 50 pounds. On May 3, 1977, Mr. Stiffler suffered a work-related injury described as "severe lumbo-sacral sprain" and received compensation under a Notice of Compensation Payable by his self-insured employer.
In support of its termination petition, A & P offered the deposition of Dr. William R. Davison, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon, who testified that, in his two examinations of the claimant, he could find neither orthopedic abnormalities nor clinical or physical evidence of any neurological deficit. Accordingly, Dr. Davison recommended that Mr. Stiffler return to his employment with a restriction against lifting weights over 50 pounds on a repetitive basis.
A & P also offered the deposition of Dr. Howard B. Finkelhor, a board-certified neurologist and psychiatrist who, after taking a history of the claimant's injury and seeing him on five separate occasions in 1980, testified that Mr. Stiffler did not exhibit any neurological abnormalities*fn1 and that he should return to work.*fn2
Dr. Finkelhor also testified that, although Mr. Stiffler complained of back pains, the prolongation of
[ 73 Pa. Commw. Page 303]
his symptoms was psychosomatic in origin*fn3 and ...