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ELIZABETH SHULESKI (WIDOW) v. WYOMING VALLEY IMPROVEMENT CO. AND COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (12/23/87)

COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: December 23, 1987.

ELIZABETH SHULESKI (WIDOW), PETER A. SHULESKI (DEC'D)
v.
WYOMING VALLEY IMPROVEMENT CO. AND COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, BUREAU OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION, COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, BUREAU OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION, APPELLANT

Appeal from the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County in case of Elizabeth Shuleski (Widow), Peter A. Shuleski (Deceased) v. Wyoming Valley Improvement Co. v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Bureau of Workers' Compensation, No. 1052-C of 1983, WCAB Docket No. A-84471.

COUNSEL

Wanda Whare, Assistant Counsel, for appellant.

No appearance for appellee.

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

Author: Macphail

[ 112 Pa. Commw. Page 144]

The Bureau of Workers' Compensation (Bureau) appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County (trial court) which remanded this case to the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) to allow Elizabeth Shuleski (Claimant) an opportunity to present further medical testimony. For the reasons which follow, we quash the Bureau's appeal.

Claimant's husband, Peter Shuleski (Decedent) received benefits during his life pursuant to The Pennsylvania

[ 112 Pa. Commw. Page 145]

Occupational Disease Act (Act)*fn1 from May, 1962, when it was determined that he was totally disabled from anthracosilicosis, until his death on May 12, 1982. Decedent's death certificate lists "Metastatic Anaplastic Carcinoma" as the immediate cause of death and it lists, inter alia, anthracosilicosis among the "other significant conditions contributing to death but not related to the immediate cause."

Claimant filed a fatal claim petition under the Act alleging that Decedent died as a result of anthracosilicosis. Following a hearing on the matter, a referee found as fact that Decedent's death was caused by anthracosilicosis and he awarded benefits. The Board affirmed the referee on appeal citing Evon v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (U.S. Steel Corp.), 70 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 325, 453 A.2d 55 (1982), for the proposition that the occupational disease need not be the sole cause of death to be compensable but that it need only be causally related to the death. The Bureau appealed to the court of common pleas which ordered a remand to permit Claimant to present further medical testimony because the standard enunciated in Evon had been rejected during the course of Claimant's appeal by McCloskey v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, 501 Pa. 93, 460 A.2d 237 (1983) and the parties agreed that the record testimony would not support an award of death benefits under McCloskey.*fn2 It is from the trial court's remand order that the Bureau has now appealed.

[ 112 Pa. Commw. Page 146]

This Court's jurisdiction over the instant appeal is governed by Section 762(a)(4) of the Judicial Code (Code), as amended, 42 Pa. C.S. ยง 762(a)(4) and is limited to appeals from final orders of the courts of common pleas.*fn3 We have held that a final order is one which disposes of the entire case, ends the litigation, or effectively puts the litigant out of court. Kratz v. Board of Commissioners of Upper Gwynedd Township, 88 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 108, 488 A.2d 670 (1985).

In the present case, it is clear that the trial court's remand order does not end the litigation or put the litigants out of court but rather permits Claimant an opportunity to meet the more stringent standard enunciated in McCloskey. Accordingly, the order is interlocutory in nature and is not appealable unless an appeal is expressly authorized by statute.*fn4 Kratz. Finding no express statutory authorization for the instant appeal, we must quash it as interlocutory.*fn5 Id.; Commonwealth v. 1316, Inc., 48 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 514, 410 A.2d 906 (1980).

[ 112 Pa. Commw. Page 147]

Order

The appeal of the Bureau of Workers' Compensation in the above-captioned matter is quashed.

Disposition

Appeal quashed.


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