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HELEN STINER v. WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (HARMAR COAL COMPANY) (05/07/87)

decided: May 7, 1987.

HELEN STINER, WIDOW OF ELMER J. STINER, DECEASED, PETITIONER
v.
WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (HARMAR COAL COMPANY), RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of Elmer J. Stiner, Dec'd, Helen Stiner, widow v. Harmar Coal Company, No. A-87903.

COUNSEL

John D. Hendricks, Tarasi, Tierney & Johnson, P.C. for petitioner.

Wanda Whare, Assistant Counsel, for respondent.

Beth S. Kromer, with her, George H. Thompson, Paul E. Sutter, Tillman & Thompson, for respondent.

Judges MacPhail and Colins, and Senior Judge Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail. Judge Colins dissents.

Author: Macphail

[ 106 Pa. Commw. Page 31]

Helen Stiner (Petitioner) petitions for our review of an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) which reversed a referee's decision and dismissed the fatal claim petition she had filed following the death of her husband, Elmer Stiner (Decedent). We affirm.

Petitioner filed a fatal claim petition following her husband's death on February 21, 1980 in which she alleged that his death resulted from coal worker's pneumoconiosis. Decedent's death certificate listed two immediate causes of death: (1) advanced carcinoma of the esophagus and (2) generalized inanition-cachexia (in laymen's terms, starvation due to inability to eat or drink). Coal worker's pneumoconiosis was listed under the category of "other significant conditions: contributing to death but not related to the immediate cause." Decedent had received total disability benefits due to pneumoconiosis during his life dating from July 21, 1976.

The referee rendered the following pertinent fact findings regarding the issue of a causal link between Decedent's occupational disease and his death:

5. That it was the opinion of the decedent's treating physician that one of the cuases [sic]

[ 106 Pa. Commw. Page 32]

    which ultimately contributed to Mr. Stiner's death, was the coal worker's pneumoconiosis from which he suffered during his lifetime.

6. That your Referee finds as a fact that a major contributing factor of the decedent's death was coal worker's pneumoconiosis which was causally ...


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