Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Thomas A. Cushey v. Consolidation Coal Company, No. A-85997.
Stephen I. Richman, with him, William F. Henkel, Stephen I. Richman & Partners, for petitioner.
Lawrence R. Chaban, Yablonski, King, Costello & Leckie, for respondent, Thomas A. Cushey.
Judges Rogers, Craig and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.
[ 86 Pa. Commw. Page 519]
Consolidation Coal Company (petitioner) has appealed from an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board affirming a referee's award of benefits to Thomas A. Cushey (respondent), a claimant whom the referee found to be totally disabled due to coal worker's pneumoconiosis.
The respondent worked in the coal mining industry for twenty-five years. During the last ten years of his employment, he worked underground as a roofbolter. He retired in 1980, when the mine shut down. In 1982, the respondent filed a claim alleging pneumoconiosis due to exposure to dust and glue fumes. At the referee's hearing, the respondent offered the deposition and medical reports of a Dr. Jerry Silverman, who reported that the respondent's symptoms of shortness of breath and chest pain, his employment history of
[ 86 Pa. Commw. Page 520]
exposure to coal dust and glue fumes in the mines, and his x-ray reading of 1/0*fn1 were indicia of pulmonary disease. Dr. Silverman testified that although a series of tests conducted on the respondent showed normal readings and no evidence of pulmonary distress, the respondent had a total, disabling respiratory condition which was the result of his work in the mines.
The petitioner introduced eleven reports of physicians and clinics, indicating that the respondent had a normal reading on a battery of pulmonary tests. The petitioner also introduced the deposition of a Dr. C. L. Anderson, to the effect that the respondent's breathing problems and chest pains were attributable to coronary artery disease, and not to a pulmonary condition. The referee found Dr. Silverman's testimony to be credible and awarded the respondent benefits for total disability.
The Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board affirmed, holding that Dr. Silverman's testimony provided substantial evidence for the referee's findings. The board quite unsuitably volunteered that it considered Dr. Silverman's testimony to be "incredulous."
The petitioner argues that the Administrative Agency Law, enacted and codified in 1978 at 2 Pa. C.S. § 101-754, has somehow enlarged the scope of judicial review of adjudications of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board. If we understand the employer's thesis, it is that although there may be substantial evidence supporting the findings favoring the respondent in this ...