Appeals from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, in the case of Ronald Lawrence v. Commercial Lovelace Motor Freight, No. A-92156.
William F. Goodrich, Dixon & Goodrich, P.C., for petitioner/respondent, Ronald Lawrence.
James R. Zies, Baglinski and Bashline, for petitioners/respondents, Commercial Lovelace Motor Freight, Inc./Banner Industries and Liberty Insurance Company.
Roy F. Walters, Jr., Fried, Kane, Walters & Zuschlag, for petitioners/respondents, Commercial Lovelace/Banner Industries and Aetna Life & Casualty Co.
President Judge Crumlish, Jr., and Judges Craig, Doyle, Colins, Palladino, McGinley and Smith. Opinion by Judge McGinley.
[ 125 Pa. Commw. Page 703]
Ronald Lawrence (Claimant), Commercial Lovelace Motor Freight (Employer), and Liberty Mutual Insurance Company (Liberty Mutual), appeal from an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) affirming a referee's decision reinstating Claimant's compensation payments and modifying the referee's decision ordering Liberty Mutual to reimburse Aetna Life and Casualty Company (Aetna) for compensation payments made by Aetna to the Claimant. We affirm.
Claimant was employed as a truck driver for Employer on August 20, 1979, when he suffered an acute back sprain while in the course of his employment. On August 31, 1979, Liberty Mutual filed a notice of compensation payable. On November 3, 1980, Claimant returned to work and his benefits were suspended. On December 2, 1982, Claimant again sustained an alleged back injury while in the course of his employment. In the interim Employer changed workmen's compensation insurance carriers and was insured by Aetna. On January 2, 1983, Aetna filed a notice of compensation payable awarding Claimant compensation benefits for the December 2, 1982, injury.
[ 125 Pa. Commw. Page 704]
On March 19, 1984, Employer, represented by Aetna, filed a petition for modification of Claimant's benefits under the January 2, 1983, notice of compensation payable alleging a change in Claimant's disability and contending that Claimant was partially disabled. Claimant subsequently filed a petition for review of the notice of compensation payable alleging that Aetna was not paying his medical bills. On April 19, 1985, the Claimant filed a petition for reinstatement of compensation against Employer and the previous insurer, Liberty Mutual, under the notice of compensation payable filed August 31, 1979. In that petition, Claimant alleges that on May 4, 1984, he again became totally disabled from all employment.*fn1 At the referee's hearing, Claimant testified on his own behalf. Claimant subsequently introduced the deposition testimony of Dr. Mario Ludmer, a board certified neurosurgeon. Employer also introduced a subsequent deposition of Dr. Ludmer into the record.
In his decision, the referee found that Claimant was totally disabled as a result of the work-related injury suffered on August 20, 1979. The referee concluded that Claimant sustained no compensable injury on December 2, 1982, and that any physical disabilities experienced by Claimant after that date were a continuation of the injury Claimant sustained on August 20, 1979.
Further, the referee ordered that the notice of compensation payable filed August 31, 1979, be reinstated,
[ 125 Pa. Commw. Page 705]
that Employer's petition for modification be dismissed and that Liberty Mutual reimburse Aetna for all compensation benefits ...