Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of James P. Leed v. Quaker Alloy Casting Company, No. A-74802.
Marc S. Jacobs, Galfand, Berger, Senesky, Lurie & March, for petitioner.
Robert P. Reed, Metzger, Wickersham, Knauss & Erb, for respondent, Quaker Alloy Casting Co.
Judges Rogers and MacPhail, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.
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James Leed (claimant) has filed a petition for review of an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (board) affirming a referee's decision denying him benefits for his alleged total disability on the ground that he failed to meet his burden to prove that the incidence of the condition of which he complained -- aggravation of his disabling lung condition -- was greater in the casting or foundry industry than in the general population, as required by Section 108(n) of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act (Act), Act of June 2, 1915, P.L. 736, as amended, 77 P.S. § 27.1(n).
The claimant was employed by the Quaker Alloy Casting Company (employer) for twenty years. During the claimant's first year of work, he worked in a sand mill, mixing sand and other ingredients, and for the next nineteen years he worked as a core paster. The claimant's occupation as a core paster required
[ 95 Pa. Commw. Page 126]
him to place previously baked cores of sand on a table and paste them together using zirconate. While the claimant worked as a sand mill operator and as a core paster, he was exposed to smoky and dusty conditions.
In 1976, the claimant filed a petition claiming a disability caused by an "occupational disease" as defined in Section 108(n) of the Act, as amended, 77 P.S. § 27.1(n), alleging that he became totally disabled on June 4, 1976, from "lung disease due to work environment." After hearings, the referee found that since June 4, 1976, the claimant was totally disabled from chronic obstructive lung disease, bullous emphysema, and chronic bronchitis, and that "the claimant's disabling lung conditions, and in particular the disabling conditions of chronic obstructive lung disease and chronic bronchitis, were aggravated by claimant's work environment . . . in the breathing of smoke and fumes. . . ." The referee dismissed the claim petition because the "claimant failed to establish that the incidence of chronic obstructive lung disease, bullous emphysema, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and restrictive lung disease is substantially greater in the casting or foundry industry or in the occupation of core paster than in the general population."
The claimant filed an appeal with the board, which remanded the matter to the referee to consider whether in the light of Plasteel Products Corporation v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, 32 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 405, 379 A.2d 908 (1977), the incidence "of what [the claimant] was exposed to in his work environment and which the referee had found aggravated his diseased condition," is substantially greater in the claimant's industry and occupation than in the general population.*fn1
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Following remand of the claim petition, the referee received additional evidence and issued a decision, dated August 9, 1982, in ...