Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of Edward Magayna v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation, No. A-91111.
Paul E. Sutter, Tillman & Thompson, for petitioner.
Leonard P. Kane, with him, Michael E. Relich, Fried, Kane, Walters & Zuschlag, for respondent.
Judges Craig and Palladino, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Palladino.
[ 115 Pa. Commw. Page 270]
Edward Magayna (Petitioner) appeals an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) affirming a referee's decision to deny payment by Jones and Laughlin Steel Corporation (Employer) of certain of Petitioner's medical expenses and to deny assessment of penalties and counsel fees. We affirm in part and remand in part.
Petitioner suffered a work-related injury on January 31, 1975 while employed by Employer.*fn1 As a result of Petitioner's injury, he received medical treatment from various physicians and hospitals. Petitioner thereafter sought payment from Employer for these expenses pursuant to The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act (Act).*fn2 On May 10, 1977, a referee found some of the expenses causally connected to the work injury and ordered Employer to pay those medical bills. Employer appealed this order, but the Board dismissed its appeal.
On June 19, 1981, Petitioner filed a petition for review alleging that Employer had not paid the medical bills specified in the 1977 order.*fn3 Petitioner also sought payment from Employer for additional medical bills for treatment received after 1977 as well as counsel fees and penalties. Employer contested this petition on the grounds that some of the medical treatment pertained to a cardiac condition unrelated to Petitioner's work injury.
[ 115 Pa. Commw. Page 271]
At the hearings before a referee, Petitioner presented the reports of Dr. Leopold Bobak and Dr. Marvin Silverblatt.*fn4 Both Dr. Bobak and Dr. Silverblatt opined that Petitioner's cardiac condition and related treatment were causally connected to the work injury. Employer presented the report of Dr. A. A. El Attar which indicated that Petitioner's cardiac condition was unrelated to the work injury.*fn5
By order dated January 3, 1986, the referee determined that Employer was required to pay Petitioner's pre-1977 medical bills in the amount of $1,508.95. In addition, Employer was ordered to pay some of Petitioner's post-1977 medical bills in the amount of $4,364.44.*fn6 The referee found that Employer was not required to pay the medical bills arising from Petitioner's treatment by Dr. Bobak in the amount of $2,540.17. The referee specifically found the opinion of Dr. El Attar to be credible and concluded that Dr. Bobak's treatment of Petitioner was too remote from the work injury to be related. Finally, the referee declined to assess counsel fees and penalties against Employer because Employer had established a reasonable basis for contest. On December 19, 1986, after reviewing the decision of the referee, the Board affirmed.
On appeal, Petitioner presents three issues for our review. Petitioner argues that the referee erred in rejecting the opinion of Dr. Bobak as too remote and asserts ...