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PHILADELPHIA COLLEGE OSTEOPATHIC MEDICINE v. WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (ROBERT L. LUCAS) (09/15/83)

decided: September 15, 1983.

PHILADELPHIA COLLEGE OF OSTEOPATHIC MEDICINE, PETITIONER
v.
WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (ROBERT L. LUCAS), RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of Robert L. Lucas v. Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, No. A-78141.

COUNSEL

Lynn Sare Kornblav, with her Alfred Sarowitz and Leonard S. Lipson, for petitioner.

S. Robert Levant, for respondent, Robert L. Lucas.

Judges Blatt, Craig and Doyle, sitting as a panel of three. President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges Rogers, Blatt, Williams, Jr., Craig, MacPhail and Doyle. Opinion by Judge Rogers. Dissenting Opinion by Judge Blatt. Dissenting Opinion by Judge MacPhail.

Author: Rogers

[ 77 Pa. Commw. Page 203]

The Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine has petitioned for review of an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board affirming a referee's award of workmen's compensation benefits to

[ 77 Pa. Commw. Page 204]

    claimant, Robert L. Lucas, for temporary total disability.

The claimant was employed by the petitioner from December, 1976, through May, 1977, as a security guard. His duties included patrol at nine different posts three of which were out-of-doors. The claimant's stint included the very cold winter months of 1976-1977.

On cold days the claimant suffered leg pains. He notified his employer of his complaints and requested inside work. He also requested permission to wear heavier, more appropriate cold weather clothing. This request was denied as not conforming to the required guard attire. He did not miss any work until April 13, 1977, when for a time his legs were so swollen that he could not work. His last day of work was May 17, 1977. He called in sick on May 18 and did not thereafter return to work.

The claimant suffers from advanced osteoarthritic degenerative joint disease affecting, in addition to other limbs, his lower extremities. His treating physician testified that this condition was aggravated by the duties of the claimant's employment -- the requirements that he be on his feet for long hours, the walking and climbing of steps and most importantly the exposure to cold, humidity and changes in the weather and barometric pressure. The same doctor expressed the opinion that the claimant could do only some -- that is, part-time -- sedentary work. The employer adduced the testimony of a physician to the effect that there was no relationship between the claimant's symptoms and his work. This doctor conceded that the claimant's condition would allow him to do only sedentary work. A rehabilitation psychologist testified for the employer that there were in his opinion some jobs available which the claimant could do -- such as bench work in the optical trade, lot assemblies in the appliance

[ 77 Pa. Commw. Page 205]

    industry, and tube tester in the electrical equipment field. Since this witness was not a medical doctor, his opinions were necessarily based on psychological considerations only. The jobs this witness mentioned seem all to have required the applicant to work full time.

As noted, the referee concluded that the claimant was totally disabled and awarded appropriate benefits. He found as facts (1) that the claimant's pre-existing arthritic condition was aggravated by his work as a security guard for the employer and that the aggravation was a cause of his disability and (2) that the extent of the claimant's disability was such ...


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