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COOPER ENERGY SERVICES v. WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (TOTH) (01/28/88)

decided: January 28, 1988.

COOPER ENERGY SERVICES, PETITIONER
v.
WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (TOTH), RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of Alex Toth v. Cooper Energy, No. A-89662.

COUNSEL

Carl J. Smith, Jr., with him, Daniel J. Iler, Ceisler, Richman, Sweet, for petitioner.

Samuel S. Blaufeld, with him, Pamela M. Schiller, for respondent.

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

Author: Barry

[ 113 Pa. Commw. Page 145]

Petitioner, Cooper Energy Services (employer), appeals an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) which affirmed a decision of a referee awarding benefits to the claimant, Alex Toth, for the loss of use of hearing in both ears for all practical intents and purposes.

The claimant had worked for the employer from 1951 until his retirement on December 31, 1981. On March 9, 1984, the claimant filed a claim petition alleging

[ 113 Pa. Commw. Page 146]

    that he had suffered the loss of use of hearing in both ears and that the loss was work related. At the hearing before the referee, the claimant testified concerning his hearing loss. Based upon this testimony, the referee found:

     that the claimant's hearing impairment gradually progressed to the point that he cannot hear the television without turning the amplification up to the point where it disturbs other members of the household, he cannot hear his wife speak to him if he is in another room, he cannot hear the telephone ring if he is in another room and he cannot hear what is being said to him in social situations where there is background noise unless he has direct eye contact with the person speaking to him and that person is within a few feet of him. In essence, he cannot carry on a conversation with another person unless it is on a face-to-face basis in a relatively quiet environment and that person is speaking at a relatively loud level.

(Finding of fact # 4, referee's decision, January 9, 1985).

Both the claimant and the employer presented testimony from medical experts. Dr. Stephen Froman, for the claimant, opined that claimant's hearing loss was the result of exposure to loud noises at work. He further stated his belief that claimant had lost the use of his hearing in both ears for all practical intents and purposes. Dr. Ralph Caparosa, for the employer, testified that while claimant did have a hearing impairment, he did not lose his hearing for all practical intents and purposes. Dr. Caparosa agreed with Dr. Froman that the loss was the result of noise exposure at work. The referee found ...


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