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ECONOMY DECORATORS v. WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (FEDERICI) (03/31/86)

decided: March 31, 1986.

ECONOMY DECORATORS, INC., PETITIONER
v.
WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (FEDERICI), RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of Richard Federici v. Economy Decorators, Inc., No. A-86487, Rehearing No. 4237.

COUNSEL

Ronald F. Bove, with him, David A. Pennington, Swartz, Campbell & Detweiler, for petitioner.

Thomas F. McDevitt, Thomas F. McDevitt, P.C., for respondent, Richard Federici.

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

Author: Colins

[ 96 Pa. Commw. Page 210]

Economy Decorators (employer) appeals an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board), affirming the referee's award of workmen's compensation benefits for a heart attack suffered by Richard Federici (claimant). We affirm.

The material facts of this case are not in dispute and, accordingly, do not warrant recital. Suffice it to say that the claimant, a wallpaper hanger, was found to have suffered a compensable injury under The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act (Act).*fn1 The referee awarded compensation for total disability in the amount of $227.50 per week from February 23, 1979, the date of claimant's heart attack, until his return to work on February 4, 1980. The referee suspended compensation from February 5, 1980 to December 31, 1980, having found that the claimant remained partially disabled but sustained no loss of earning power for that period. The referee then reinstated compensation from January 1, 1981 to December 31, 1981, in the amount of $196.50, or two-thirds of the claimant's weekly wage loss, computed as $294.74, and finally awarded compensation beginning January 1, 1982 at the rate of two-thirds of

[ 96 Pa. Commw. Page 211]

    claimant's future loss in earnings.*fn2 The Board affirmed. The employer's appeal to this Court followed on November 13, 1984.*fn3

Upon appeal, the employer concedes that the claimant suffered a compensable injury. The employer does contend, however, that the claimant returned to his pre-injury job without sustaining a loss in earning power attributable to his disability, such that the referee's reinstatement of compensation beginning January 1, 1981 was in error. Assuming, arguendo, that the claimant is entitled to a reinstatement of compensation, the employer contends that the referee erred in finding the claimant's pre-injury wage to be $449.60 per week and that the computation of subsequent benefits based on this figure was in error.

The law is settled that for purposes of workmen's compensation, the term disability is synonymous with a "loss of earning power." Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corp. v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Smith), 70 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 100, 452 A.2d 611 (1982); Carpentertown Coal and Coke Co. v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board 52 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 134, 415 A.2d 450 (1980). When this loss of earning power results from a medical condition related to the

[ 96 Pa. Commw. Page 212]

    claimant's employment, the claimant suffers a disability compensable under the Act. Wheeling-Pittsburgh. Where there is a disability with a resultant loss of earning power but the employee receives as much for his services as he earned before the injury, payments of compensation must be suspended when the disability is not reflected in loss of wages. Cannon Boiler ...


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