Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of James Albert Paxson v. Grocery Store Products, No. A-84048.
Kenneth R. Werner, Cadmus, Patten, Werner and Wood, for petitioner.
Charles S. Katz, Jr., Swartz, Campbell & Detweiler, for respondent, Grocery Store Products.
Judges Rogers, Craig and Barry, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.
[ 82 Pa. Commw. Page 423]
This is a claimant's appeal from an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board affirming a referee's grant of the prayer of the employer's petition to terminate compensation.
The claimant was employed as a maintenance mechanic by Grocery Store Products when on May 1, 1976, while welding overhead, a spark entered his left ear. The claimant became disabled as of May 17, 1976 and was paid compensation for total disability in the amount of $187.00 per week until March 11, 1981 when referee Frank Perna granted the employer's petition for supersedeas as of September 23, 1980.
Hearings on the termination petition were conducted by two referees; referee Frank Perna received the deposition of Doctor Joseph Sataloff, the employer's expert and heard the testimony of the claimant and his wife. The matter was then transferred to
[ 82 Pa. Commw. Page 424]
referee Fred Troilo who received the deposition of Doctor Maury Hoberman for the claimant and a rebuttal deposition of Doctor Sataloff and heard the testimony of Doctor Merwin Jackson, produced by the employer.
The claimant testified that he suffered an injury to his left ear at work on May 1, 1976, that several hours later he began to feel nauseous, dizzy and light-headed, and experienced a loss of balance and intermittent migraine headaches, that these symptoms continued from the date of his injury until the date of the hearing and that because of these conditions he has not been able to return to work. Doctor Hoberman, an otolaryngologist, testified that he performed surgery on the claimant's left ear, that in the course of the surgery he discovered a piece of metal which had penetrated the bone separating the claimant's middle and inner ear and that the damage to the claimant's inner ear was the cause of the claimant's nausea, dizziness, light-headedness, headaches and loss of balance. Doctor Hoberman further testified that the claimant's symptoms were the result of his work-related injury of May 1, 1976 and that the claimant was not able to return to work.
Doctor Joseph Sataloff, who is also an otolaryngologist, testified that the claimant's symptoms were not consistent with an injury to the inner ear, that his symptoms were not causally related to the claimant's injury at work and that there was no objective evidence of any residual disability caused by the spark which would prevent the claimant's return to work.
The referee found as a fact, based on Doctor Sataloff's testimony, that the claimant's disability had ceased as of September 23, 1980 and granted the prayer of the employer's petition to terminate. The claimant ...