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JAMES R. ROYSTER v. WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (NATIONAL MINES CORP.) (12/03/86)

decided: December 3, 1986.

JAMES R. ROYSTER, PETITIONER
v.
WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (NATIONAL MINES CORP.), RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of James R. Royster v. National Mines Corp., No. A-88802.

COUNSEL

Richard J. Schubert, Litman, Litman, Harris, Brown and Watzman, P.A., for petitioner.

Paul E. Sutter, Tillman & Thompson, for respondents.

Judges MacPhail, Colins and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail.

Author: Macphail

[ 102 Pa. Commw. Page 339]

James R. Royster, Petitioner, petitions for review of an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) which affirmed a referee's order terminating Petitioner's compensation. We affirm the Board.

Petitioner injured his right knee while in the course of his employment at National Mines Corporation (Employer) on January 27, 1981. As a result, Petitioner was totally disabled and began receiving workmen's compensation benefits pursuant to a Notice of Compensation payable filed February 17, 1981. Petitioner was

[ 102 Pa. Commw. Page 340]

    subsequently treated by Dr. Richard S. Gehl, who diagnosed him as suffering from osteoarthritis which he stated probably pre-dated his January, 1981 injury. Dr. Gehl opined that the osteoarthritis was probably aggravated to some extent by the work-related injury.

Petitioner underwent surgery for the osteoarthritic degeneration of his knee and removal of a posterior horn of the medial meniscus on March 31, 1981 and thereafter continued to be treated by Dr. Gehl for associated symptoms.

On June 17, 1982, Employer filed a Petition for Termination and an Affidavit of Recovery signed by Dr. Robert Botkin. Dr. Botkin subsequently died and Employer withdrew that petition. Immediately thereafter, Employer filed a second Petition for Termination dated March 13, 1983. This petition was supported by an Affidavit of Recovery signed by Dr. William J. Mitchell alleging that Petitioner could return to work as of March 12, 1983. Petitioner answered by denying all material allegations.

Hearings were held on Employer's petition and on August 2, 1984, Referee Luich granted the Petition for Termination finding that Petitioner had completely recovered from his work-related injury. Petitioner appealed to the Board which affirmed the order of the referee.

Petitioner argues here that the referee erred in granting the Termination Petition because there was insufficient evidence of record to establish that he had recovered from his work-related injury and because the referee's findings of fact numbers 11 and 12 ...


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