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GEORGIA RUHL v. WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (ERIE COUNTY GERIATRIC CENTER AND AETNA LIFE & CASUALTY) (12/05/86)

decided: December 5, 1986.

GEORGIA RUHL, PETITIONER
v.
WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (ERIE COUNTY GERIATRIC CENTER AND AETNA LIFE & CASUALTY), RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of Georgia Ruhl v. Erie County Geriatric Center, No. A-88188.

COUNSEL

Joseph J. May, Plate, Shapira, Hutzelman, Berlin, May, Walsh and Brabender, for petitioner.

John C. Brydon, Marsh, Spaeder, Baur, Spaeder & Schaaf, for respondents.

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

Author: Macphail

[ 102 Pa. Commw. Page 375]

Georgia Ruhl (Claimant) appeals an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board affirming a referee's decision to grant a petition for termination of compensation filed by her employer, the Erie County Geriatric Center (Employer). We affirm.

Claimant worked as a nurse's aide for Employer until November 7, 1980 when she injured her back lifting a patient. A notice of compensation payable was filed pursuant to which Claimant received benefits for total disability. On June 15, 1981, a supplemental compensation agreement was entered into under which Claimant received partial disability due to the fact that she returned to work part-time on May 26, 1981.

On February 14, 1983, Employer filed a termination petition along with a physician's affidavit asserting that Claimant could return to her full-time, nurse's aide position as of that date. Claimant testified that she returned to her prior position on May 15, 1983 and suffered a recurrence of the back injury on that day. She further

[ 102 Pa. Commw. Page 376]

    testified that on May 25, 1983, while at home recuperating, her leg grew numb as a result of the back injury and that she fell and fractured her ankle.*fn1

The referee granted Employer's termination petition, finding that as of February 14, 1983, all of Claimant's disability resulting from the November 7, 1980 injury had ceased. Claimant appealed to the Board which affirmed the referee's decision on December 31, 1984. Her petition for review of the Board's order is now before us.

Claimant argues that the referee committed reversible error in rejecting the uncontroverted medical testimony of her physicians concerning the alleged recurrence of the back injury and the subsequent ankle fracture without setting forth reasons therefor. We do not agree.

The employer bears the burden of proof when petitioning for termination of an employee's compensation benefits. Waleski v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Times Mirror Magazine), 78 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 75, 466 A.2d 796 (1983). Our scope of review is limited to a determination of whether any constitutional rights were violated, an error of law was committed, or a necessary finding of fact was not supported by substantial evidence. Swink v. ...


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