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BETHLEHEM MINES CORPORATION v. WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (JAMES) (07/28/87)

decided: July 28, 1987.

BETHLEHEM MINES CORPORATION, SELF INSURED, PETITIONER
v.
WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (JAMES), RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, in case of Dean W. James, Deceased, Dorothy E. James, Widow v. Bethlehem Mines Corporation, No. A-88899.

COUNSEL

Robert G. Rose, Spence, Custer, Saylor, Wolfe & Rose, for petitioner.

David J. Tulowitzki, Tulowitzki, Creany & Tulowitzki, for respondent, Dean W. James, Deceased, Dorothy E. James, Widow.

Judges Craig and Barry, and Senior Judge Narick, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Senior Judge Narick.

Author: Narick

[ 108 Pa. Commw. Page 69]

This is an appeal by Bethlehem Mines Corporation (Employer) from a decision of the Workmen's Compensation

[ 108 Pa. Commw. Page 70]

Appeal Board (Board) affirming a decision of the referee which awarded benefits to Dorothy E. James (Claimant). We affirm.

Claimant, widow of Dean W. James (Decedent), filed a fatal claim petition on September 29, 1983 alleging that her husband's death was a result of silicosis contracted through his employment with Employer. Decedent had been employed in the coal mines for approximately forty years, the majority of this time with Employer. At the time of his death on July 9, 1983, Decedent was receiving partial disability compensation for silicosis.

Claimant, in support of her position that silicosis contributed to her husband's death, offered the report and testimony of Dr. Bernard P. McQuillan. Decedent's death certificate was also admitted into evidence. The death certificate indicated that the immediate cause of death was gastric carcinoma but under Part II of the death certificate, coal workers' pneumoconiosis was indicated as "Other Significant Conditions: contributing to death but not related to the immediate cause". Employer, in support of its position, offered the report and testimony of Dr. George W. Strother.

The referee made the following pertinent findings of fact.

9. At the time of his death, the Deceased was partially disabled because of coal workers' pneumoconiosis, . . .

10. Dr. Bernard P. McQuillan, a treating physician for the Deceased, testified that the Deceased had coal workers' pneumoconiosis at the time of his death.

11. Dr. McQuillan further testified that although the primary cause of the Deceased's death was cancer of his stomach, his coal workers' pneumoconiosis was a major contributing

[ 108 Pa. Commw. Page 71]

    cause of his death because he would have lived weeks or months longer if he had not had this ...


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