Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of Helen L. Showalter v. Topflight Corporation, No. A-87305.
W. Jeffrey Sidebottom, Barley, Snyder, Cooper & Barber, for petitioners.
Gary D. Martz, with him, Dale E. Anstine, for respondent, Helen L. Showalter.
Judges Rogers and Palladino, and Senior Judge Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.
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Topflight Corporation (employer) has filed a petition for review of an order of the Workmen's Compensation
[ 92 Pa. Commw. Page 452]
Appeal Board (board) upholding a referee's conclusion that the condition of Helen L. Showalter (claimant) had changed from partial to total disability and granting the prayer of her petition for modification of compensation benefits.
The claimant injured her back on May 17, 1976, while in the course of her employment. Pursuant to a notice of compensation payable, the claimant received benefits for total disability. She returned to work on January 21, 1977 and signed a final receipt. The claimant's disability recurred on March 7, 1977, and the parties entered into a supplemental compensation agreement which provided for the claimant's receipt of benefits for total disability. On September 5, 1978, the parties entered into a second supplemental agreement showing that the claimant's disability had changed from total to partial and providing for partial disability benefits.
The claimant stopped working in January, 1979 and in December, 1979, she filed a petition for modification, alleging that her disability had changed from partial to total disability. A referee's hearing on the modification petition was held on March 12, 1980. In a decision filed May 1, 1980, the referee concluded that the claimant failed to meet her burden of proving that her disability had changed from partial to total. No appeal was taken from the decision.
On March 23, 1981, the claimant filed a second modification petition in which she averred that "her condition has significantly deteriorated" since April 25, 1980 and that her disability had increased from partial to total. In support of her petition, the claimant testified on her own behalf and presented the deposition of her treating physician, Dr. J. Joseph Danyo, and the deposition of a psychiatrist, Dr. Howard N. Frederickson, who treated her from February to May of 1981. On cross-examination, Dr. Frederickson, as
[ 92 Pa. Commw. Page 453]
will be seen, more or less volunteered his opinion that the claimant's condition had been stable for an ...