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CURTIS NEWHOUSE v. WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (HARRIS CLEANING SERVICE (09/02/87)

decided: September 2, 1987.

CURTIS NEWHOUSE, PETITIONER
v.
WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (HARRIS CLEANING SERVICE, INC.), RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of Curtis Newhouse v. Harris Cleaning Service, Inc., No. A-88600.

COUNSEL

David J. Watson, with him, Edward J. Balzarini, Jr., Balzarini, Carey & Watson, for petitioner.

William D. Clifford, with him, Eugene F. Scanlon, Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote, P.C., for respondent.

Judges Barry and Palladino, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Palladino.

Author: Palladino

[ 109 Pa. Commw. Page 97]

Curtis Newhouse (Petitioner) petitions for review of an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) which reversed a referee's award of workmen's compensation benefits for an injury Petitioner alleges to have been work-related within the meaning of Section 301 of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act.*fn1

Petitioner's injury occurred at the Westinghouse Research and Development Center (Westinghouse) in Monroeville, Pennsylvania. Petitioner's Employer, Harris Janitorial Services, Inc. (Employer) provided janitorial services at the Westinghouse plant and was provided with office space at that facility. Westinghouse provided a parking lot adjacent to the plant for the use of Harris employees. However, in order to reach the parking lot from a public roadway, one had to travel over Westinghouse's private access road.

On the evening of November 26, 1979, Petitioner worked until 10:00 PM, and proceeded to the parking lot with a co-employee, Derek Walko (Walko). Upon reaching the parking lot Petitioner and Walko requested another co-employee to give them a ride from the parking lot, over the access road, to an exit gate from

[ 109 Pa. Commw. Page 98]

    which Petitioner and Walko intended to walk to a public road and then walk to their respective homes. Petitioner and Walko sat on opposite sides of the front hood of the car, and the driver of the car proceeded along the access road toward the exit gate. However, the exit gate was closed and the driver had to make a right turn to follow a bend in the road. Petitioner, who was on the driver's side of the car, fell from the hood of the car, hit the road and was rendered unconscious. As a result of this accident, which occurred approximately 15 minutes after "punching out" from work, Petitioner sustained a severe brain injury to the brain stem and cerebral cortex in addition to a skull fracture which rendered him totally disabled.

On June 10, 1982, Petitioner filed a claim petition seeking compensation for the injuries sustained on November 26, 1979. Several hearings were held and a referee concluded that Petitioner met his burden of proving, while in the course of his employment, an injury on the premises of Employer. Employer appealed to the Board which reversed the referee's conclusion that Petitioner sustained a compensable injury while in the course of his employment. Petitioner's claim petition was dismissed.

On appeal to this court, Petitioner asserts that the Board committed an error of law in reversing the referee. Specifically, Petitioner asserts that the injury which he sustained, approximately fifteen minutes after work and which was related to a condition of the Employer's premises, was within the course of his employment.

Section 301 of the Act provides that compensable injuries include those "sustained while the employee is actually engaged in the furtherance of the business or affairs of the employer, whether upon the ...


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