Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of Richard Scott v. Packaging Corporation of America, No. A-90197.
Marc S. Jacobs, Galfand, Berger, Senesky, Lurie & March, for petitioner.
George C. Werner, Barley, Snyder, Cooper & Barber, for respondent, Packaging Corporation of America.
Judges Barry and Colins, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Senior Judge Barbieri.
[ 113 Pa. Commw. Page 81]
Richard Scott, Claimant, appeals here an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board), in which the Board reversed an award to Claimant by a referee. We will reverse.
This case involves an injury to an employee incurred while engaged in a softball game on a team sponsored by his Employer, Packaging Corporation of America. The facts are that Claimant had been a member of the softball team for four years; the team was entered in the Industrial League and played softball against teams of other employers in the area; in the second year of the team's career it won the championship trophy which was displayed on the Employer's premises in the lunchroom for all employees to see; the Employer paid the entrance fee or membership charge for each year of the team's entry into the Industrial League and the Employer required bats, balls and other equipment to be kept on the company premises, these items having been paid for by the Employer. The company name "PACKAGING" was displayed on the uniform shirts; the Employer paid $30 toward the cost of each uniform. The umpires at each game were paid for by the Employer and a raffle was permitted to be held in cooperation with the Employer and the members of the team on the Employer's premises during working hours in order to help gain more financial support for the team. In addition, schedules were passed out at the plant, a copy of which was given to the Employer. As noted by the referee, the Employer has since withdrawn its support from the team which has resulted in the disbanding of the team for lack of Employer support.
[ 113 Pa. Commw. Page 82]
The injury and disability are not in dispute. Claimant's injury, a triple fracture of the left humerus shaft with damaged nerves, was incurred by him as a result of a sharp relay throw from short left field to home plate. He was immediately hospitalized with the application of a cast and splint for some seven weeks. The referee's principal findings on the issues with which we are concerned here are as follows:
9. I have reviewed all the testimony regarding whether or not the baseball team on which the Claimant played was an employer-sponsored team. I find that from 1980 through 1984, the employer did in fact sponsor this softball team in an industrial league in which the employer paid the teams' entrance fee of $100.00; the employer paid $30.00 for each of the uniforms, each of which had the name of the employer, 'packaging,' on the front side of the uniforms; the employer paid the empire [sic] fees for each game including the one the Claimant was injured; the company paid for the bats and balls and these were stored after each game within the employer's property; that the employer displayed a trophy on its premises which was won by the company-sponsored team in 1982; and that immediately after this injury, the employer withdraw [sic] its sponsorship and financial support of the team. Further that the employer was given a schedule of the games to be played and that the injury occurred at one of these regular scheduled games.
12. The Defendant failed to establish a reasonable basis for contest. Witnesses on behalf of the employer presented testimony which supports the Claimant's allegations. Basically the witnesses admitted supporting a company sponsored
[ 113 Pa. Commw. Page 83]
baseball team although they did not realize the legal ramifications of the insurance coverage. However, this latter point is not a valid basis to contest a claim once the employer was aware ...