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GARNER P. MITCHELL v. WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (4-J HARVESTORE) (03/08/85)

decided: March 8, 1985.

GARNER P. MITCHELL, DECEASED, MARIAN S. MITCHELL, WIDOW, PETITIONER
v.
WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (4-J HARVESTORE), RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of Garner P. Mitchell, Deceased, Marion S., Widow v. 4-J Harvestore, No. A-85472.

COUNSEL

John R. Morgan, for petitioner.

Frank J. Rubinate, with him, James K. Martin, for respondents.

Judges MacPhail, Colins and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail. This decision was reached prior to the resignation of Judge Williams, Jr. Dissenting Opinion by Judge Colins.

Author: Macphail

[ 88 Pa. Commw. Page 162]

Marian S. Mitchell (Claimant) appeals from the decision and order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) reversing a referee's decision granting compensation to Claimant. We affirm the decision of the Board.

[ 88 Pa. Commw. Page 163]

Claimant's husband, Garner P. Mitchell (Decedent), died in his garage at home on Saturday, December 5, 1981. The Decedent, an employee of 4-J Harvestore Systems, Inc. (Harvestore), served as a consultant/salesman of Harvestore products to farmers. The referee found that Decedent's work required him to call on the farmers during the evening and on weekends. The referee also found that Harvestore supplied the Decedent with a car for both work and personal use and paid the maintenance and repair costs for the vehicle.

With respect to the circumstances of the fatal accident, the referee found the following facts: Decedent had backed the car into his garage to change a tire; Decedent let the engine run in order to heat the garage; the Decedent was under the car for the purpose of checking the differential or otherwise examining the underside of the car; Claimant found Decedent lying on his back under the rear of the car; and Decedent died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning. On the basis of these findings, the referee concluded as a matter of law that the Deceased suffered a work-related injury and that his fatal injury was compensable.

Harvestore appealed the referee's decision to the Board. Without taking additional evidence, the Board reversed, holding that there was no causal connection between Decedent's employment as a farm advisor and sales consultant and his death. Claimant's appeal to this Court followed.

Section 301(c)(1) of the Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act*fn1 states:

(1) The terms "injury" and "personal injury," as used in this act, ...


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