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Hodgdon v. Project Packaging Inc.

Decided: December 8, 1986.

TERRY HODGDON, PETITIONER-RESPONDENT,
v.
PROJECT PACKAGING, INC., RESPONDENT-APPELLANT



On appeal from the Division of Workers' Compensation.

Furman, Shebell and Stern. The opinion of the court was delivered by Shebell, J.A.D.

Shebell

Pennsylvania Manufacturers Insurance Company ("PMA"), appeals from an order finding that petitioner, Terry Hodgdon, suffered a compensable accident on September 28, 1983 and that only PMA was liable for providing the necessary medical treatment, including surgery to relieve petitioner's carpal tunnel syndrome, and for the payment of temporary disability benefits, rather than any of the other carriers who previously insured respondent.

Petitioner filed a claim petition seeking workers' compensation benefits for injury to his right shoulder and neck based on his allegation that during the period from September 13 to September 28, 1983, "[h]ard work for respondent in use of right arm overhead aggravated, accelerated, exacerbated the compensable injuries of 5/6/81 & 7/27[/82]-9/21/82." Respondent's insurer at the time was PMA.

Petitioner had previously filed a claim petition alleging an accidental injury to his right shoulder on May 6, 1981. At that time respondent was insured by Harleysville Mutual Insurance Company who paid temporary disability payments for 11 4/7 weeks.

Subsequently petitioner filed a claim petition in which he alleged the shoulder condition became worse during the period from July 27, 1982 to September 21, 1982, the date upon which he stopped work as a result of that condition. At that time respondent was insured by North River Insurance Company.

Petitioner filed a motion seeking medical treatment and temporary disability benefits starting from September 29, 1983. He then amended his first claim petition, alleging that on September 28, 1983 he injured his right shoulder and neck as follows: "Standing on top of truck holding wire, attempting to put rope on, crew down the line pulled wire taught [ sic ], petitioner's right arm was pulled up and over his head almost lifting his body from the truck." Thereafter, petitioner filed a

motion for medical care and temporary disability against all three insurance carriers for respondent.

Petitioner next filed a second amended claim petition, alleging an injury to his left arm and left hand in addition to the right shoulder and neck, wherein he described the September 28, 1983 injury as follows:

Standing on top of truck, holding wire by means of rope in left hand, with right hand pushing cables up to put dolly on, crew down line, pulled wire tight, this caused wires to go up and out, pulling right arm overhead almost lifting body from truck. petitioner [ sic ] let go with right hand, now petitioner off truck in air; left wrist snagged in rope being used to hold wires, freed slef [ sic ] and dropped to ground, injured right shoulder, neck, left arm and left hand.

The three petitions were joined for purposes of the hearings on the motions. The judge of compensation held that PMA was solely responsible for supplying medical treatment to petitioner and for the payment of temporary disability benefits beginning September 29, 1983.

PMA filed a motion for leave to appeal which this court denied. The judge of compensation then signed an order submitted by PMA which contained the following paragraph:

14. The Court does further certify that the finding that the Pennsylvania Manufacturer's Association Insurance Co. is responsible for the total temporary disability since September 28, 1983 for the treatment for said conditions is a Final Judgment assessing liability for said conditions, thence the respondent through its insurance company Pennsylvania Manufacturer's Association Insurance Co. and the insurance carriers for the respondent under Claim Petitions No. 82-292 and 82-36091 are hereby absolved from any liability in connection with any injuries sustained in the accident of September 28, 1983, or for any sequelae thereof.

Petitioner, who was 33 years old on the date of the first hearing, testified that he injured his right shoulder when he fell from a pole on May 6, 1981. He was treated and was out of work for three months. When he returned to work, he did "[o]verhead aerial ...


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