Appeal from the Order of the Court of the Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in the case of Robert A. Amanto v. Philadelphia Board of Pensions and Retirement, No. 2081 December Term, 1983.
Ralph J. Teti, Divisional Deputy City Solicitor, with him, Barbara W. Mather, City Solicitor, for appellant.
Ben W. Joseph, for appellee.
Judges Rogers and MacPhail, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail.
[ 97 Pa. Commw. Page 551]
The Philadelphia Board of Pensions and Retirement (Board) appeals here an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County which reversed a decision of the Board and remanded the matter to the Board with instructions to enter an order granting Robert A. Amanto's application for disability benefits.*fn1
[ 97 Pa. Commw. Page 552]
Mr. Amanto served as a Philadelphia City (City) police officer from December 6, 1965 to March 13, 1972. On August 14, 1970, Mr. Amanto's neck was injured when his patrol car was hit by a drunk driver who was trying to avoid arrest. Mr. Amanto was dismissed from the Police Department because of his injuries. The City denied Regulation 32*fn2 disability benefits. Mr. Amanto appealed this denial to the City's Civil Service Commission, the Common Pleas Court and then to this Court. We ruled that Mr. Amanto suffered from a service-connected disability and ordered the City to pay him Regulation 32 benefits, which are limited to a period of three years after the date of a City employee's injury. See Smith v. Civil Service Commission, City of Philadelphia, 53 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 164, 174-75, 417 A.2d 810, 815-16 (1980).
On April 15, 1981, Mr. Amanto applied to the Board for disability retirement benefits, which differ
[ 97 Pa. Commw. Page 553]
from Regulation 32 benefits. The Board considered the application at an August 13, 1981 meeting. The Board voted five to four to deny Mr. Amanto's application.
Mr. Amanto then requested a hearing before the Board so that he could cross-examine the members of the Medical Panel who had submitted reports to the Board. A hearing was held before three members of the Board on August 23, 1983, although the Medical Panel members did not testify because the Board did not require them to do so. Mr. Amanto's attorney instead presented depositions from two of the members. The hearing panel voted two to one to recommend denial of Mr. Amanto's application.
On November 17, 1983, the Board voted four to three to deny Mr. Amanto's application for disability benefits. Mr. Amanto filed a timely appeal with the Common Pleas Court. ...