Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of Robert Lang, Deceased, Mary Lang, Widow v. U.S. Steel Corporation, No. A-88697.
Amiel B. Caramanna, Jr., with him, Alexander J. Pentecost, for petitioner.
LuAnn Haley, with her, Martha R. Conley and Louis A. Raimond, for respondents.
Judges Craig and Barry, and Senior Judge Narick, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Senior Judge Narick.
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The sole question presented by this appeal is whether decedent, Robert Lang, was acting within the scope of his employment when the automobile accident at issue occurred, so as to entitle his widow, Mary Lang (Petitioner), to fatal claim benefits under The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act (Act), Act of June 2, 1915, P.L. 736, as amended, 77 P.S. §§ 1-1603. The
[ 108 Pa. Commw. Page 383]
referee awarded benefits, but the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) reversed. For the reasons which follow, we reverse the order of the Board and reinstate the award.
Decedent was employed as a metallurgist by United States Steel (now USX) Corporation (Employer). He was a management employee, and had an office in Employer's Homestead Works. His regular working hours were, at a minimum, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. In his capacity as a division process engineer, decedent had the authority to be at either Employer's Homestead or Edgar Thompson Works, or in transit between the two. His work occasionally involved travel to Employer's research center in Monroeville, or downtown offices. On June 1, 1982, at approximately 9:40 a.m., decedent was involved in a fatal automobile accident when his vehicle left the public roadway and struck a concrete abutment and the cyclone fence at the Edgar Thompson Works. He had been traveling on Mill Road adjacent to the Edgar Thompson plant, but was headed away from both that plant and the Homestead Works. Petitioner testified that her husband had left for work on June 1, 1982 at 7:15 or 7:30 a.m. Although he had scheduled a meeting in Homestead at 9:00 or 9:30 that morning, no one apparently saw decedent again until he was discovered at the scene of the accident.
The parties stipulated that the nature of decedent's job required him to travel between the two plants, that the accident occurred on a public road, and that decedent died as a result of the blunt force trauma to the head, neck and chest caused by the automobile accident.
The referee determined that decedent was acting within the scope of his employment when the accident occurred. Our scope of review is limited to a determination of whether constitutional rights have been violated,
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an error of law committed, or whether necessary findings of fact are supported by substantial competent 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). From our review of the record, it is apparent that the factual findings, as ...