Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of Charles R. Angstadt, Deceased, Rose C. Angstadt, Widow v. Township of Haverford, No. A-92392.
Peter J. Weber, with him, Clifford Goldstein, Rawle & Henderson, for petitioner.
Leonard V. Tenaglia, Richard, DiSanti, Hamilton & Gallagher, for respondent.
Judges Craig and Palladino, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Senior Judge Barbieri.
[ 118 Pa. Commw. Page 468]
The Township of Haverford (Employer) petitions for review of the order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) that granted the fatal claim petition
[ 118 Pa. Commw. Page 469]
of Rose C. Angstadt (Claimant), which asserted that her husband, Charles R. Angstadt (Decedent), died of a myocardial infarction precipitated by stressful demands made upon Decedent by his Employer. We affirm.
Decedent died on October 17, 1983, at the age of 53. For the last 27 years of his life, Decedent was employed as a police officer for the Haverford Police Department. During the last six years of his life, Decedent held the position of Lieutenant and commanding officer of the investigations division directly under the Chief of police, James A. Myers. Decedent was responsible for reviewing all reported incidents involving the police, assigning and supervising investigators on cases, approving search and arrest warrants, and preparing internal reports and memoranda for the Chief of police. In addition to these duties, Decedent also served a rotating shift as duty Lieutenant in command of the department, during which he would be "on call" during weekends, although not actually in the office.
Decedent reported directly to Chief Myers in the performance of his duties. Several other police officers testified that Chief Myers was a harsh and overbearing superior who made excessive demands on his men. The officers stated that on numerous occasions Decedent upon being summoned to the Chief's office would look frightened and after emerging would appear upset, very distressed and physically drained. The referee specifically found that Decedent's work environment under Chief Myers was unusually stressful and that in and before September of 1983, Decedent was involved in a series of abnormal, stressful incidents at work (Referee's Finding of Fact No. 7, R.R. 8a).
On September 7, 1982, Chief Myers assigned Decedent to prepare an internal report on a criminal case involving one Edward Shimko, who had been arrested
[ 118 Pa. Commw. Page 470]
on what the Chief believed to be an exaggerated charge of aggravated assault after a minor domestic dispute. Claimant testified that the Chief wanted this report turned in by 9:00 a.m. on September 13, 1983 (R.R. 34a). Chief Myers does not remember this but does state he wanted the report before the preliminary hearing in the case. The preliminary hearing was scheduled for September 15, 1983. On September 8 and 9, 1983, Chief Myers held what he termed "conferences" with Decedent concerning this report (R.R. 77a). But another officer testified that on Friday, September 9th, Decedent told him that he just had ...