PETITION FOR REVIEW (WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION).
Vatche Kaloustian, Thomas F. McDevitt, P.C., Richard R. DiStefano, Philadelphia, for petitioner.
I. Michael Luber, Philadelphia, for respondent.
Crumlish, Jr., President Judge, Colins, J., and Narick, Senior Judge. Colins, J., dissents.
Philadelphia Electric Company (Employer) appeals the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board's (Board's) decision affirming the reinstatement of John Vona's (Claimant's) benefits for an indefinite period. We affirm.
The facts as found by the referee are as follows. On August 25, 1975, Claimant suffered a work-related injury to his lower back while lifting a one hundred pound bag of sand in his capacity as a sand blaster. Accepting liability for the incident, Employer issued a notice of compensation payable to Claimant on September 11, 1975 at $171.00 per
week. With intermittent periods of partial and total disability, for which Claimant received appropriate compensation, he was able to perform light duty work for his Employer until December 5, 1981.
After one of Claimant's several recurrences of disability, he returned to work on September 21, 1981 as a watchman. The position involved walking the grounds every hour on the hour of an eight hour shift, lifting a bar on heavy iron gates and opening the gates hourly.
Evidence was presented at the hearing that Claimant had great difficulty performing his watchman job because the duties greatly exacerbated the pain in his lower back. Even though Claimant notified his supervisor and the company physician of his inability to perform the job due to pain, he continued to work in that capacity until December 5, 1981 when the pain became too severe.
The referee was persuaded by the testimony of Claimant's physician, Dr. Anthony LoBianco, who testified that Claimant's back condition no longer allowed him to continue as a night watchman. Conversely, Employer's evaluating physician, Dr. Leonard Klinghoffer, testified that there was no physical reason why Claimant could not perform his duties as watchman. In addition to Dr. Klinghoffer's testimony, the referee also chose to reject the testimony of William A. Campbell, Assistant Superintendent at the station where Claimant was working, whose testimony regarding Claimant's ability to perform his duties was the same as that of Employer's physician.
The referee concluded that Claimant had carried his burden of proving total disability and granted his petition for reinstatement of compensation as of December 14, 1981 when ...