Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of John Bosack, Jr. v. Arlington Auto Body Service, No. A-82601.
Matthew R. Wimer, with him, Edwin P. Brown, Jr., Murovich, Reale, Fossee & Ferry, P.C., for petitioners.
Thomas P. Geer, for respondent, John Bosack, Jr.
Judges Doyle and Palladino and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle. This decision was reached prior to the resignation of Judge Williams, Jr. Concurring Opinion by Judge Palladino.
[ 89 Pa. Commw. Page 329]
This is an appeal by the Arlington Auto Body Service (Employer) from an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) which affirmed a referee's decision granting benefits to John Bosack, Jr. (Claimant).
Claimant was employed as a frame and body repairman in Employer's body shop when, on October 5, 1979, another employee began painting in the same location, rather than in a separate painting booth where such work was normally performed. After three hours of exposure to the acrylic paint fumes, Claimant became ill and was forced to leave work early. Later that day Claimant began gasping for air and was taken to a hospital where he received treatment for pulmonary insufficiency. Claimant remained under the care of Dr. A. Nathan Alpern, a pulmonary specialist, who advised Claimant not to return to work. Claimant submitted a claim for workmen's compensation benefits, alleging that he was totally disabled as a result of the
[ 89 Pa. Commw. Page 330]
exposure to paint fumes on October 5, 1979. After a hearing before the referee, Claimant was granted benefits. The Board affirmed,*fn1 and an appeal to this Court followed.*fn2
Before this Court Employer argues that Claimant's disability was not the result of a single incident on October 5, 1979, but was rather the result of an unspecified occupational disease, contracted during his thirty-two years as an automobile repairman. Employer argues therefore that this case is controlled by Crucible Steel Corp. v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, 52 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 165, 415 A.2d 458 (1980), and Plasteel Products Corp. v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, 32 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 405, 379 A.2d 908 (1977), and that under the authority of these cases Claimant's claim is for an occupational disease injury under Section 301(c)(2) of the Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act (Act), Act of June 2, 1915, P.L. 736, as amended, 77 P.S. § 411(2), rather than for any ordinary injury under Section 301(c)(1) of the Act, 77 P.S. § 411(1). More precisely, Employer asserts that the claim is based on an aggravation of a pre-existing disease which is occupational in nature. Therefore, there must be the proof required under Section 108(n) of the Act, 77 P.S. § 27.1(n).*fn3
[ 89 Pa. Commw. Page 331]
A review of the record before the referee, however, does not support the factual allegation that Claimant's disability resulted from a disease which was occupational in nature.*fn4 Although Dr. Alpern, Claimant's treating physician, testified that Claimant previously suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, he attributed the disease to a combination of allergies and cigarette smoking, rather than to any condition at work. The underlying disease was not therefore occupational in nature. Dr. Alpern further testified that the inhalation of paint fumes on October 5, 1979 aggravated the disease, causing the acute pulmonary insufficiency which disabled Claimant. This case is thus distinguishable from our ...