Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, in case of Anna Polenz v. City of Philadelphia, No. A-85335.
A. Arthur Hanamirian, with him, Thomas F. McDevitt, Thomas F. McDevitt, P.C., for petitioner.
John B. Day, with him, Carol A. Mickey, Deputy City Solicitor, and Barbara W. Mather, City Solicitor, for respondents.
Judges MacPhail and Colins, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Senior Judge Kalish.
[ 105 Pa. Commw. Page 54]
Anna Polenz (claimant) petitions for review of a Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) decision which reversed a referee's decision and denied her workmen's compensation benefits. We reverse the Board.
Claimant began working for the City of Philadelphia as an appointed magistrate in April, 1965. She then worked as a clerk in the Traffic Court from November, 1965 until December, 1975, when she was hospitalized with coronary artery disease and angina. She returned to work, and worked intermittent days in January and February, 1976. On March 1, 1976, she was readmitted to the hospital, and did not return to work thereafter. Claimant filed a claim petition on August 27, 1979.
[ 105 Pa. Commw. Page 55]
The referee found that although claimant's claim petition was filed outside of the statute of limitations, she had given notice of her work-related injury to her employer's representatives and was misled by the employer's representatives into believing that compensation would be paid. Thus, the referee granted total disability benefits, concluding that claimant's claim petition was timely filed, and that her condition was work-related.
On appeal to the Board, the sole issue raised was whether the claim was barred by the statute of limitations set forth in section 315 of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act (Act), Act of June 2, 1915, P.L. 736, as amended, 77 P.S. § 602. The Board reversed, determining that claimant failed to support her claim that she was misled by the employer, and that therefore her claim was barred by the statute of limitations.
Claimant argues that the employer had notice of her work-related injury, but failed to investigate, commence compensation payments, or issue a denial, as required by section 406.1 of the Act, 77 P.S. § 717.1. Additionally, claimant contends that the employer lulled her into a false sense of security, and that therefore her claim should not have been barred by the statute of limitations.
Our scope of review is limited to a determination of whether constitutional rights were violated, an error of law was committed, or whether necessary findings of fact are supported by substantial evidence. Section 704 of the Administrative Agency Law, 2 Pa. C.S. § 704; Estate of McGovern v. State Employees' Retirement Board, 512 Pa. 377, 517 A.2d 523 (1986).
The referee made the following pertinent findings of fact:
14. Although Claimant did not file the instant Claim Petition until ...