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AMERICAN CHAIN AND CABLE COMPANY v. WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (JOHNSON) (10/07/85)

decided: October 7, 1985.

AMERICAN CHAIN AND CABLE COMPANY, PETITIONER
v.
WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (JOHNSON), RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Eugene Johnson v. American Chain & Cable Company, No. A-86705.

COUNSEL

Robert H. Griffith, Kagen, Griffith, Strickler, Lerman & Solymos, for petitioner.

Dale E. Anstine, for respondent, Eugene Johnson.

Judges Rogers and MacPhail, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail.

Author: Macphail

[ 92 Pa. Commw. Page 173]

American Chain and Cable Company (Employer) appeals a decision of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) that affirmed a referee's decision awarding benefits to Eugene Johnson (Claimant) for the specific loss of his hand.

On September 25, 1980, Claimant suffered a crushing injury to his right hand while working as a hydraulic press operator. As a result of that injury, Claimant suffered the total amputation of his middle, ring and little fingers of his right hand. Claimant received workmen's compensation benefits for the specific loss of those fingers and for a healing period. He then filed a petition for permanent loss of use of his right hand for all practical intents and purposes. Hearings were held before a referee, during which Claimant testified on his own behalf and also submitted into evidence the medical testimony of Dr. J. Joseph Danyo, an orthopedist, and Dr. Mary Louise Marley, a psychologist. On July 17, 1981, the referee, utilizing a percentage loss of functional use test,

[ 92 Pa. Commw. Page 174]

    awarded benefits to Claimant for the loss of his right hand.

On appeal, the Board held that the referee had used an improper standard and remanded the case to the referee for a decision as to whether Claimant had lost the use of the hand "for all practical intents and purposes."

After a further hearing at which Claimant testified and a second deposition from Dr. Danyo was offered and received into evidence, the referee awarded to Claimant benefits at the rate of $175.62 per week for 355 weeks for the specific loss of his right hand. In his decision, the referee made the following critical findings which were accepted and adopted by the Board:

5. The referee accepts the testimony of Dr. Danyo that Claimant has suffered a permanent injury to his right hand which has caused derangement of the bones of the hand; large fatty sacks of flesh on the back of the hand; the amputation of the 3rd, 4th and little fingers, the result being that for all intents and purposes Claimant has lost the use of his right hand.

6. In addition it is found that Claimant has suffered a psychiatric condition to this work related injury to his right hand which has caused the loss of the functional use of his ...


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