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NICHOLAS MARTINO v. WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (SIGNAL DELIVERY SERVICE) (01/22/85)

decided: January 22, 1985.

NICHOLAS MARTINO, PETITIONER
v.
WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (SIGNAL DELIVERY SERVICE), RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of Nicholas Martino v. Signal Delivery Service, Inc., No. A-81288.

COUNSEL

Thomas M. Nocella, for petitioner.

Susan McLaughlin, with her, David L. Pennington, L. Oliver Frey, Harvey, Pennington, Herting & Renneisen, Ltd., for respondent, Signal Delivery, Service.

Judges Rogers and Colins and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Colins.

Author: Colins

[ 87 Pa. Commw. Page 155]

Nicholas Martino (claimant) appeals from a decision of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) which reversed a referee's decision awarding him workmen's compensation benefits pursuant to the Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act (Act).*fn1

Claimant was employed by Signal Delivery Service, Inc. (employer) as a platform loader and unloader. On September 23, 1977, claimant experienced chest pains and general weakness while loading a truck. He went home and was later taken to Northeastern Hospital. At the hospital, he was given an electrocardiogram which indicated that he had suffered an acute myocardial infarction. Claimant is a moderate smoker, obese, and has a history of high blood pressure. Also, he had a pre-existing heart condition.

As a result of the heart attack, claimant was unable to return to work for employer. He was, however, able to resume work, the first week of December, 1979, as a Steward for the Posusky Club of Philadelphia.

The referee granted claimant total disability benefits of $199.00 per week from September 24, 1977, to November 30, 1979, and partial disability benefits of $120.00 from December 1, 1979, until such time as his condition may change or cease as provided by the Act. In addition, the referee awarded claimant medical expenses, counsel fees and interest at the rate of 10% per annum on all deferred payments of compensation. Employer appealed to the Board, which, on July 22, 1982, reversed the referee's award of benefits because it found that claimant's expert witness, Dr. Abdollahian,

[ 87 Pa. Commw. Page 156]

    gave equivocal testimony as to the causal connection between the accident and the heart attack. Claimant now brings this appeal.

Claimant argues that the testimony of Dr. Abdollahian was sufficient as a matter of law to establish the necessary causal connection between the injury and the work activities.

We have previously stated that, in a heart attack case, where no obvious causal connection between work and injury exists, it must be established by unequivocal medical testimony. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board v. ...


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