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WILLIAM STANTON v. BEN RUBIN AJAX CLEANERS-DYERS AND COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (06/07/83)

decided: June 7, 1983.

WILLIAM STANTON, APPELLANT
v.
BEN RUBIN AJAX CLEANERS-DYERS AND COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in the case of William Stanton v. Ben Rubin Ajax Cleaners-Dyers and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, No. 5160 April Term, 1981.

COUNSEL

Edward Blumstein, for appellant.

David L. Pennington, with him, Susan McLaughlin, for appellee, Ben Rubin Ajax Cleaners-Dyers.

John T. Kupchinsky, Assistant Counsel, for appellee, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Labor and Industry.

Judges Blatt, Williams, Jr. and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Williams, Jr.

Author: Williams

[ 74 Pa. Commw. Page 630]

William Stanton (claimant) appeals from a decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County upholding the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board's (Board) decision reversing the referee's award of maximum compensation for total disability under the Pennsylvania Occupational Disease Act (Act).*fn1 We affirm.

For approximately eighteen years, claimant worked in defendant-firm's laundry and dry cleaning plant where he was exposed to dust, irritants, detergents and noxious fumes. In April 1969, claimant, suffering from emphysema and chronic obstructive lung disease, left defendant-firm on his physician's advice to obtain lighter work. In November 1970, claimant filed a total disability claim for benefits under Section 108(n) of the Act, 77 P.S. ยง 1208(n).*fn2 After numerous hearings, the referee awarded claimant total disability benefits upon finding that claimant contracted, while in the employ of defendant-firm, the occupational diseases of obstructive lung disease, pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema. Upon appeal the Board reversed the referee and substituted its own findings of fact,*fn3 to wit:

4. Claimant's said diseases were not caused by exposure in the employ of defendant-firm.

[ 74 Pa. Commw. Page 6315]

. Claimant's said diseases were aggravated by exposure to fumes and the like in the employ of the defendant-firm.

The Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County affirmed the decision and order of the Board. This appeal follows.

Two issues are raised for resolution. First, is the work-related aggravation of a pre-existing disease an occupational disease under the Act? Second, did the Board capriciously disregard competent evidence in finding that claimant aggravated, but did not contract, the emphysema and ...


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