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KENT SMITH v. WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (PACESETTER SYSTEMS (11/01/84)

COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


November 1, 1984

KENT SMITH, PETITIONER
v.
WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (PACESETTER SYSTEMS, INC.), RESPONDENTS

No. 3560 C.D. 1983

Before Honorable James Crumlish, Jr., President Judge Honorable James Gardner Colins, Judge Honorable Genevieve Blatt, Judge

Author: Blatt

JUDGE BLATT

Kent Smith (petitioner) appeals from an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) which affirmed a referee's dismissal of his claim petition as barred by the applicable statute of limitations and the doctrine of res judicata.

In October, 1977, the petitioner filed a claim petition, alleging that a work-related injury to his knees on July 28, 1977 had rendered him totally disabled beginning September 9, 1977, the date on which he was last employed. In the proceedings which followed, he was found to have become totally disabled on September 15, 1977, not as a result of the work-related injury of July, 1977, but as a result of a fall from his porch in August, 1977. Benefits were accordingly denied, and we affirmed this decision in Smith v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, 63 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 340, 437 A.2d 1301 (1981). Allocatur was thereafter denied by our Supreme Court.

In January, 1983, the petitioner filed another claim petition, again seeking benefits for total disability, setting forth July, 1977 as the date of his work-related injury and September, 1977 as the commencement of his total disability. A hearing was held by a referee, who filed a decision on March 11, 1983, dismissing the claim petition as untimely filed pursuant to the three year statute of limitations applicable to workmen's compensation claims.*fn1 The referee additionally concluded that, as a consequence of the proceedings regarding the prior claim petition, the petitioner's second claim was barred by the doctrine of res judicata. This decision was appealed to the Board, which affirmed the referee's decision on October 6, 1983, and the instant appeal ensued.

The petitioner contends that this claim petition is not barred by the three year statute of limitations because he custained additional injuries subsequent to his employment as a direct consequence of the original injury.*fn2 He argues that these injuries should be considered apart from the original work-related injury, and that they would, in effect, extend the time for filing the instant claim petition. The time period for filing compensation claims, however, commences with the date of the original injury, and is not calculated from the dates of subsequent injuries, even if such may be causally related to the original work-related injury. D'Andrea v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, 39 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 55, 394 A.2d 1086 (1978). The applicable statute of limitations here, therefore, began to run on July 28, 1977 and expired July 29, 1980. The petitioner, therefore, may not prevail on a claim asserted in January, 1983.

We will, accordingly, affirm the Board's order, and, in light of our disposition of this matter, we need not reach the remaining contentions advanced by the petitioner.

Genevieve Blatt, Judge

Order

AND NOW, this 1st day of November, 1984, the order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the above-captioned matter is affirmed.

Genevieve Blatt, Judge


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