Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of Joseph L. Caparosa v. Bowlaway Lanes and Eleventh Frame Lounge, No. A-85255.
Francis E. Pipak, Jr., with him, Joseph S. Weimer, Darragh, Buckler, Bebenek & Eck, for petitioners.
Walter E. Werner, III, with him, Matthew R. Wimer and Thomas J. Lowery, Reale, Fossee & Ferry, P.C., for respondents.
Judge MacPhail, and Senior Judges Blatt and Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.
[ 90 Pa. Commw. Page 535]
Bowlaway Lanes appeals here from an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) which affirmed a referee's decision holding Bowlaway Lanes liable for workmen's compensation benefits payable to Joseph L. Caparosa (claimant), and which also dismissed the Eleventh Frame Lounge, a previous employer of the claimant, as a party to these proceedings.
The record indicates that the claimant suffered a work-related injury in 1975 while in the employ of the Eleventh Frame Lounge. Following this injury, he underwent two operations which resulted in the replacement of his hip joint with a prosthesis, and he received workmen's compensation benefits until October 1978. Thereafter, Bowlaway Lanes hired him as an Assistant Manager, and, while working there on December 21, 1979, in the course of lifting a bowling alley machine, he suffered a stress fracture to his artificial hip joint. The injury necessitated the replacement of the damaged hip joint with a new prosthesis.
[ 90 Pa. Commw. Page 536]
Following the 1979 incident, the claimant filed a claim petition naming Bowlaway Lanes as the sole defendant. In turn, Bowlaway Lanes joined the Eleventh Frame Lounge, alleging that the claimant's current disability was the result of the 1975 injury. A second claim petition was then filed by the claimant naming only the Eleventh Frame Lounge as the defendant, and this petition was later amended to seek the reinstatement of benefits from the Eleventh Frame Lounge. The two petitions were thereafter consolidated for hearings before the referee.
The referee held that the 1979 incident resulted in a new injury and did not stem from the injury claimant had sustained while employed at the Eleventh Frame Lounge in 1975. He consequently ordered Bowlaway Lanes to pay the workmen's compensation benefits and the medical expenses incurred in the replacement of the claimant's damaged hip implant. Additionally, he dismissed the petition filed against the Eleventh Frame Lounge. Bowlaway Lanes then appealed to the Board which, in turn, affirmed the referee. The present appeal ensued.
The petitioner argues that the Board erred as a matter of law.*fn1 It contends that, pursuant to Section 306(f) of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act (Act), Act of June 2, 1915, P.L. 736, as amended, 77 P.S. § 531, the Eleventh Frame Lounge is liable for the costs of replacing the damaged prosthesis.*fn2 The Eleventh Frame Lounge, on the other
[ 90 Pa. Commw. Page 537]
hand, contends that Section 306(f) of the Act is inapplicable here because the December 1979 incident resulted in a new injury,*fn3 and it argues that, because the injury was new and not an aggravation of a previous work-related injury, the responsibility for the payment of benefits rests with Bowlaway Lanes. Moreover, it maintains that the referee's finding that the fracture occurred when the ...