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HESS BROTHERS v. WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (GORNICK) (08/24/89)

decided: August 24, 1989.

HESS BROTHERS, PETITIONER,
v.
WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (GORNICK), RESPONDENTS



PETITION FOR REVIEW

COUNSEL

John P. Thomas, Allentown, for petitioner.

F. Paul Laubner, Samuel A. Scott, Allentown, for Paul Gornick.

Doyle and McGinley, JJ., and Barbieri, Senior Judge.

Author: Mcginley

[ 128 Pa. Commw. Page 242]

Hess Brothers (Employer) appeals an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) reversing a referee's decision granting Employer's petition for termination on the basis that Mary Anne Gornick (Claimant), the widow of Paul Gornick (Decedent), was living in a meretricious relationship under Section 307 of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act (Act).*fn1 We affirm.

Employer filed a petition on January 25, 1984, for termination of compensation benefits payable to Claimant as of January 15, 1978, on the grounds that Claimant was living in a meretricious relationship. The referee took testimony at hearings dated February 13, 1984, February 22, 1984, and August 29, 1984, and on October 15, 1985, issued a decision sustaining Employer's petition effective January 23, 1984, and denying the petition as of January 15, 1978, to January 22, 1984. (Referee's Decision, October 15, 1985, at 3-4.)

The referee made these relevant findings of fact:

1. The husband of Claimant Mary Anne Gornick, Paul Gornick, died on June 13, 1975 due to a work-related injury, as a result thereof a Compensation Agreement dated July 29, 1975 was entered into by Claimant and Defendant employer/insurer providing for payment of compensation to Claimant at the rate of $164.80 per week from June 13, 1975 to September 30, 1978 in her on [sic] behalf and that of her minor son, Paul, Jr., at which latter

[ 128 Pa. Commw. Page 243]

    date Paul, Jr. attained the age of 18, whereafter Claimant was to receive compensation at the rate of $140.08 per week for the duration of widowhood.

2. Claimant, presently 49 years of age, has not formally remarried following the death of her husband on June 13, 1975.

3. Claimant Mary Anne Gornick and her deceased husband purchased a two story row house located at 1123 Union Street, Allentown, Pennsylvania on January 16, 1969, and Claimant, her husband, and 2 children resided at said location to the time of her husband's death and Claimant and her 2 ...


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