Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Florence Pruitt, w/o Murlon T. Pruitt v. Standard Steel Co., No. A-81415.
Dennis N. Persin, Stewart, Belden, Herrington & Belden, for petitioner.
Edwin H. Beachler, McArdle, Caroselli, Spagnolli & Beachler, for respondent, Florence Pruitt w/o Murlon T. Pruitt.
Judges Rogers, Palladino and Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Barbieri. Judge Palladino dissents.
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Standard Steel Company (Petitioner), appeals a Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board order affirming a referee's award of benefits to Florence Pruitt, as statutory dependent of Murlon T. Pruitt, a deceased employe, for compensation due him during his lifetime and in her own right as his widow.
Murlon T. Pruitt was employed by Petitioner from 1941 until he became totally disabled on October 2, 1977. There is evidence to support the referee's findings that during this time exposure to asbestos caused his total disability and death from bronchogenic carcinoma. The referee concluded that the total disability and the death were compensable under Section 108(1) of the Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act.*fn1 Section 108(1) reads, in pertinent part, as follows:
The term "occupational disease," as used in this act, shall mean only the following diseases.
(1) Asbestosis and cancer resulting from direct contact with, handling of, or exposure to
[ 82 Pa. Commw. Page 548]
the dust of asbestos in any occupation involving such contact, handling or exposure.
The referee's findings contain determinations in which he adopted the testimony of Dr. George Eastman, a Board certified internist, and that of Dr. Joshua Perper, a Board certified pathologist, who both gave unequivocal opinion testimony that the decedent's occupational exposure to asbestos was a substantial contributing factor in causing bronchogenic carcinoma which resulted in his death.*fn2 A key finding states:
TWENTY-FIRST: In reviewing the medical testimony presented in this case, the Referee accepts as a fact and finds as credible that the decedent's occupational asbestos exposure caused his bronchogenic carcinoma which disabled him during his lifetime and resulted in his death on September 27, 1978. The Referee accepts as credible Doctor Eastman's testimony that a hazard exists for workers in decedent's occupation for developing bronchogenic carcinoma. The Referee further finds that the incidence of ...