Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of Rose Zacek v. Republic Steel Corporation, No. A-78424.
Linton L. Moyer, Thomson, Rhodes & Grigsby, for petitioner.
Daniel D. Harshman, with him, Margaret D. Blough, for respondent, United Mine Workers of America, District No. 5.
Judges Craig, Barry and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.
Republic Steel Corporation questions the award of death claim benefits to Rose Zacek, widow of Joseph Zacek. Because of our Supreme Court's holding in McCloskey v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, Pa. , 460 A.2d 237 (1983), we will vacate the order of the board and remand this case for a further
hearing, if necessary, and findings on the issue of causation. Lady Jane Collieries, Inc. v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, 81 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 564, A.2d (1984). We will also certify this case for interlocutory appeal to the Supreme Court.
Joseph Zacek was a retired coal miner and the recipient of life-time benefits for disability resulting from coal miner's pneumoconosis. See Republic Steel Corp. v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, 47 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 74, 407 A.2d 117 (1979). He died on November 26, 1977. The death certificate, certified by his personal family physician, Dr. Andrew J. Cerne, listed coronary occlusion as the immediate cause of Mr. Zacek's death, due to acute myocardial infarction and generalized arteriosclerosis. The doctor listed pulmonary fibrosis, emphysema, and anthracopneumoconiosis under that section of the certificate which called for "OTHER SIGNIFICANT CONDITIONS: contributing to death but not related to the immediate cause given [above]. . . ."
Mrs. Zacek filed a death claim petition on January 6, 1978, alleging that her husband's death resulted from pneumoconiosis. After several hearings, the referee awarded benefits, determining that coal workers' pneumoconiosis was "one of the causes" of Mr. Zacek's death. The board affirmed on the basis that substantial record evidence supported a finding that coal miner's pneumoconiosis was "a significant factor" in Mr. Zacek's death, and that it was "indeed the cause" of his death.
Republic Steel has appealed, contending, among other things, that the referee and the board applied a legally improper standard of causation.
Over six years have elapsed since Mrs. Zacek filed her petition. During that period, our courts have struggled with no less than four tests of causation under section 301(c)(2) of The Pennsylvania Workmen's
Compensation Act,*fn1 which establishes the requirements which a claimant must meet to receive benefits where, as here, occupational ...