Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of Joseph F. Ryan v. Automatic Timing & Controls Company, No. A-84031.
Thomas F. McDevitt, Thomas F. McDevitt, P.C., for petitioner.
John P. Knox, with him, David R. Weyl, Timoney, Knox, Hasson & Weand, for respondent, Automatic Timing & Controls Co.
Judges Doyle, Palladino and Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Palladino.
[ 82 Pa. Commw. Page 644]
Claimant, Joseph F. Ryan, appeals from a Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) decision affirming a referee's decision to deny Claimant disability benefits. We affirm.
Claimant, who was employed as a production manager by Automatic Timing & Controls Co. (Employer), became ill in April of 1976 after attending a labor negotiations meeting. Claimant's illness continued intermittently for the next nine months so as to restrict his work schedule to part-time work coupled with numerous absences. February 7, 1977, was Claimant's last day of work. He was hospitalized on June 1, 1977, for a heart catheterization and subsequently for open heart surgery. Not having worked in the interim, Claimant filed a claim petition on January 14, 1980, alleging work injuries on April 15, 1976 and February 4, 1977.
[ 82 Pa. Commw. Page 645]
Two issues are presented for our review: first, whether there was a capricious disregard of competent evidence*fn1 when it was determined that no causal link existed between Claimant's heart condition and his employment, and second, whether or not the Claimant gave proper and timely notice of his disability to his Employer.
Heart related disabilities have been held to be compensable injuries under Section 301 of the Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act*fn2 (Act), provided however, that they a) arise during the course of employment and b) are causally related thereto. Haney v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, 65 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 461, 463, 442 A.2d 1223, 1225 (1982).
There is no question that Claimant has sustained injury; to be sure, Claimant's coronary bypass operation was performed after a confirmed diagnosis was made of occlusive coronary arteriosclerosis. Conceding for the moment that the injury arose in the course of Claimant's employment, a causal nexus must be shown between the injury and Claimant's work. Claimant testified that he received increased responsibility, worked long hours and participated in tension-filled labor negotiations. Witnesses for the employer disputed Claimant's testimony regarding his work activity and the scope of his responsibility. The referee specifically rejected Claimant's testimony on these points and accepted the testimony of witnesses for the
[ 82 Pa. Commw. Page 646]
employer as the more credible. Credibility of witnesses is exclusively a ...