Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of Eugene Dudley v. Township of Marple, No. A-81935.
Howard Richard, with him Michael A. Paul, and Leonard V. Tenaglia, Richard, DiSanti, Hamilton, Gallagher and Paul, for petitioner.
William J. McKee, LaBrum and Doak, for respondent, Township of Marple et al.
Judges Craig, Doyle and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.
[ 80 Pa. Commw. Page 234]
Claimant Eugene Dudley appeals from a decision of the Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, which reversed a referee's decision granting benefits to Dudley. We must determine
[ 80 Pa. Commw. Page 235]
whether the board erred in concluding that Dudley's claim was barred by the statute of limitations.*fn1
On January 29, 1973, during the course of his duties as a police officer with the Township of Marple, Dudley fell, injuring his face, arm and back. The township police surgeon, Dr. Linn, treated Dudley for his injuries and referred him to a second doctor who operated on his elbow. Dr. Linn continued to treat Dudley for his back injuries and also for pains which radiated down his leg. In 1978, Dr. Lubin, then police surgeon, began treating Dudley for continued back pain, and in July, 1978, Dudley underwent a hemi-laminectomy, performed by still another doctor. In August, 1979, Dudley retired from the police force on a service-connected disability pension.
The township paid Dudley his full salary for the days he was unable to work, and it apparently submitted the medical bills for Dudley's initial surgery to Blue Cross/Blue Shield, through a township-sponsored program. The township refused to pay for Dudley's second surgery. By petition filed in November of 1979, Dudley now seeks compensation benefits and reimbursement for medical expenses arising from his July, 1978 surgery.
After hearings, the referee found as fact that, because the police secretary had prepared several forms, with Dudley's assistance, following the 1973 accident, Dudley reasonably believed the township had filed a workmen's compensation claim on his behalf. The referee therefore concluded that, because the township's
[ 80 Pa. Commw. Page 236]
action had induced Dudley to believe it had filed his claim, the three-year statute of ...