Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of Michael P. Duffy (Dec'd) Mary Duffy (Widow) v. City of Scranton/Fire Dept. and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Bureau of Workers' Compensation, No. 86-Civ. 2692.
Richard T. Kelley, with him, Wanda A. Whare, for appellant.
George W. Teets, for appellee, Mary Duffy.
Daniel A. Miscavige, with him, Frederick H. Hobbs, for appellee, City of Scranton/Fire Dept.
Judges Craig, Colins, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Senior Judge Barbieri.
[ 112 Pa. Commw. Page 539]
The Bureau of Workers' Compensation (Bureau), acting for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,*fn1 and the City of Scranton (Employer), appeal here the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County which affirmed the grant of widow's benefits to Mary Duffy (Claimant) by the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) under The Pennsylvania Occupational Disease Act (Act).*fn2 We shall affirm.
Claimant's husband, Michael P. Duffy, had been employed as a fire fighter by the City of Scranton for twenty-one years. As a result of exposures during the performance of his duties, he became totally disabled on November 2, 1971 from coronary insufficiency. During his lifetime he filed for and was awarded disability
[ 112 Pa. Commw. Page 540]
benefits payable by the Commonwealth under Section 108(o) of the Act*fn3 which he received until his death on December 6, 1984, from coronary insufficiency. His widow, Mary Duffy, Claimant herein, filed a fatal claim petition seeking compensation and funeral benefits under Sections 301(a) and 307.2*fn4 of the Act for the disease death under Section 108(o).*fn5 The referee concluded that Decedent's death was the result of the occupational disease incurred in the hazardous employment as a fire fighter with the City of Scranton and ordered the Commonwealth to pay weekly compensation benefits and funeral expenses.
On appeal to this Court, the Bureau contends as it did before the trial court and the Board, that the death claim herein is time barred under Section 301(c) of the Act. The pertinent portion of that section reads:
Whenever compensable disability or death is mentioned as a cause for compensation under this Act, it shall mean only compensable disability or death occurring within four years after the date of his last employment in such occupation or industry.
Although there was compensable disability, it is argued, the death did not occur within four years after the date of Decedent's ...