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PORT AUTHORITY ALLEGHENY COUNTY v. WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (HAMILTON) (03/14/86)

decided: March 14, 1986.

PORT AUTHORITY OF ALLEGHENY COUNTY, PETITIONER
v.
WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (HAMILTON), RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of William M. Hamilton v. Port Authority of Allegheny County, No. A-78455.

COUNSEL

James H. Norris, Eckert, Seamans, Cherin & Mellott, for petitioner.

Gordon David Fisher, Titus, Marcus & Shapira, for respondent, William M. Hamilton.

Judges Craig and Palladino, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Senior Judge Kalish.

Author: Kalish

[ 95 Pa. Commw. Page 595]

The Port Authority of Allegheny County has petitioned this court for review of an order of the Workmen's

[ 95 Pa. Commw. Page 596]

Compensation Appeal Board (Board) affirming a referee's decision. The referee granted the petition of the claimant, William M. Hamilton, to set aside a final receipt.

The claimant was injured in a work-related accident on April 28, 1975, when the Port Authority bus he was operating collided with a truck. The claimant filed a claim petition and received workers' compensation for a short period of time. He signed a final receipt of compensation on May 19, 1975. Almost three years later, on May 5, 1978, the claimant filed another claim petition based on the April 28, 1975 accident. The Port Authority answered the claim petition by denying certain factual allegations contained in it and by asserting the claim petition was improper because a final receipt regarding compensation for the April 28, 1975 accident had already been signed. On August 9, 1978, the claimant filed with both the Bureau of Workers' Compensation and a referee, a petition to set aside the final receipt, and a petition to amend the claim petition by the filing of a petition to set aside the final receipt. A hearing was held and the referee issued a decision in favor of the claimant. The Authority appealed to the Board which first remanded the case to the referee to obtain a complete record of the proceedings, and then later issued a decision affirming the referee. The Port Authority timely petitioned this court for review.

[ 95 Pa. Commw. Page 597]

In a workers' compensation case such as the instant appeal, where the claimant had the burden of proof and prevailed before the referee, and where the Board took no additional evidence, review by the Commonwealth Court is limited to determining whether any constitutional rights were violated, whether an error of law was committed or whether any necessary findings of fact were not supported by substantial evidence. King Fifth Wheel v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board Page 597} (Rhodes), 79 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 300, 468 A.2d 1211 (1983). Mindful of our scope of review, we will address the issues properly raised by the Port Authority in its appeal.

The Port Authority's first contention is that the findings of fact and conclusions of law of the referee are vague and not sufficiently specific on crucial issues which are necessary for this court to properly apply the law. Consequently, the Port Authority argues that the Board erred in not granting its request for a remand. The Port Authority ...


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