For the respondent, Henry Grossman and Felix Rospond.
For the prosecutrix, Cox & Walburg and Arthur F. Mead.
Before Justices Bodine, Heher and Perskie.
The opinion of the court was delivered by
PERSKIE, J. In this workmen's compensation case we are called upon to determine the usual basic questions; did the relation of employer and employe exist at the time of the accident for which compensation is sought, and, if the answer to that question be in the affirmative, did the accident arise out of and in the course of the employment?
The facts are rather unusual. Frank Rojeski, husband of the prosecutrix, and petitioner below, was, together with several other men, employed by respondent dairy concern as a farm hand. Board, lodging and other facilities were furnished these men by respondent as the result of arrangements made between the latter and the wife of one of its employes. Being dissatisfied with the food served, the men complained to respondent. As a result thereof it arranged with Rojeski and his wife that the latter should take charge of the farm house and tend to the men. More specifically, her duties consisted of "taking care of the house;" "cooking meals;" "fixing the beds." She "cooked and cleaned up the house and [did the] washing and everything;" she helped awake the men early in the morning to milk the cows; she bought the food which she supplied the men. For this service it was agreed that Rojeski was to receive, in addition to his regular monthly pay, $20 a month for his own board and care and that respondent was to pay $20 a month (plus a house, wood and two or three quarts of milk a day) for each farm hand cared for by the wife.
Accordingly prosecutrix moved from her home and family in Trenton to the farm house designated by respondent and performed her part of her undertaking. There is no complaint on that score. While so employed she was directed to move from the farm house first assigned to her to one of the other farm houses on the premises, and while cleaning and repairing this last house for occupancy and service in accordance with her original agreements with respondent, she fell and suffered injuries for which she seeks compensation.
In the bureau, the deputy commissioner determined: "I find that the respondent did give certain orders to the petitioner [prosecutrix], and had her do certain things which would indicate that she was not acting in an entirely independent manner of any supervision." Accordingly compensation was allowed.
In the Mercer County Court of Common Pleas, the judge held that the prosecutrix was not an employe, her "services being rendered more in the nature of those of an independent
contractor, or in aiding her husband." The judgment of the bureau was reversed. This court ...