Lambing v. Consolidation Coal Co.

CourtSuperior Court of Pennsylvania
Citation54 A.2d 291,161 Pa.Super. 346
Decision Date29 September 1947

161 Pa.Super. 346
54 A.2d 291


Superior Court of Pennsylvania.

July 17, 1947.
Application for Allocatur Refused Sept. 29, 1947.

Appeal No. 138, April term, 1947, from the judgment of the County Court of Allegheny County at No. A 583 of 1946; L. Kenneth Harkins, Judge.

Proceeding under the Workmen's Compensation Act by Carrie Lambing, widow of Glenn Lambing, deceased, claimant, opposed by the Consolidation Coal Company, employer, to recover compensation for the deceased's death. The referee made an award, and the employer appealed to the board which upheld the referee's award. From a judgment of the county court upholding the award, the employer appeals.

Judgment affirmed.

54 A.2d 292

Edw. J. I. Gannon and Hazlett, Gannon & Walter, all of Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Samuel Krimsly, of Pittsburgh, for appellee.


ROSS, Judge.

In this workmen's compensation case, the widow of Glenn Lambing, a loading machine operator employed by the defendant

54 A.2d 293

in its mine, filed a claim petition on behalf of herself and four minor children, averring that the decedent on July 5, 1944, while in the course of his employment, was injured by the fall of a mine timber, receiving injuries which resulted in his death on October 19, 1944. An answer was filed denying that Lambing sustained an accidental injury in the course of his employment and that his death resulted therefrom, and also raising the question of notice. After hearing, the referee made an award which was upheld by the board and the court below and this appeal was taken by the defendant employer.

The referee, affirmed by the board, found as a fact, inter alia: ‘Fourth: On July 5, 1944, the decedent was bruised on the right shoulder with a timber in the course of his regular employment with the defendant and, as a result thereof, this wound became infected and the decedent came to his death on October 19, 1944 from staphylococcic septicemia and acute pulmonary edema which, in the opinion of your Referee, was caused by the bruise received in the accidental occurrence of July 5, 1944.’ The first question involved in this appeal is whether this finding of fact is supported by competent evidence, and unless it can be said that there was no competent evidence to support the findings and conclusions of a referee and board, they cannot be disturbed. Petrovan v. Rockhill Coal & Iron Co., 130 Pa.Super. 58, 196 A. 516; Barkus v. Thornton-Fuller Co., 157 Pa.Super. 239, 42 A.2d 320. As the fact-finding body has found in her favor, we must review the evidence in the light most favorable to the claimant, Hockenberry v. State Workmen's Insurance Fund, 133 Pa.Super. 249, 2 A.2d 536, and she is to be given the benefit of inferences reasonably deducible therefrom. Paulin v. Williams & Co., Inc., et al., 122 Pa.Super. 462, 186 A. 415, affirmed 327 Pa. 579, 195 A. 40.

The only medical witness in the case, Dr. H. S. D. Mock, who had attended the decedent, testified, inter alia:

‘Q. And what was the cause of death? A. The cause of death was staphylococcic septicemia and empyema. In other words, septicemia is a germ in the blood stream and empyema is multiple pus, pus in the blood accompanied by pus all through the body. * * *

‘Q. Taking into consideration, Doctor, the history that you received from the claimant and the findings on your physical examination and the eventual cause of death, are you able to state whether or not there is any connection? A. In my opinion, the wound on his shoulder became infected with this staphylococcic germ, which spread through his body and was the cause of his death.

‘Q. Doctor, how does one contract such a disease as staphylococcic germ? A. It comes through a break in the skin.

‘Q. Is that the only way it comes or can be contracted? A. Yes.

‘Q. Are you able in your professional opinion to say where this germ had its portal of entry? A. The right shoulder.

‘Q. At the point of injury, Doctor? A. Yes, sir.’

This testimony is sufficient to establish the causal connection between the bruise on Lambing's shoulder and his death. However, a more difficult problem is presented by defendant's contention that there is not sufficient evidence to support the referee and board's finding that ‘the decedent...

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