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Gullo v. American Lead Pencil Co.

Decided: July 26, 1937.


On certiorari.

For the prosecutor-petitioner, Edward Stover.

For the defendant-respondent, Perkins, Drewen & Nugent (John Drewen).

Before Justices Bodine, Heher and Perskie.


BODINE, J. The prosecutor was employed at the plant of the American Lead Pencil Company in Hoboken. On February 17th, 1936, she arrived in the vicinity of the factory shortly before the time required for her to commence work. When on the sidewalk about two feet from the entrance gate used by the defendant for the entry and departure of its employes, as well as for trucks and vehicles, she fell on an uncleared patch of ice, sustaining injuries for which she sought compensation. The bureau and the Court of Common Pleas refused an award on the theory that the accident did not occur upon the employer's premises. In this there was error, since the bounds of the employer's premises cannot be so narrowly construed.

"It would be entirely too narrow a construction to limit the benefit of the statute to the time the workman is actually employed at his machine. He must have time to reach his machine and to get away from his employer's premises. In fact, it is a necessary implication of the contract of employment that the workman shall come to his work and shall leave with reasonable speed when the work is over. The preparation reasonably necessary for beginning work after the

employer's premises are reached and for leaving when the work is over, is a part of the employment. A workman is none the less in the course of employment because he is engaged in changing his street clothes for his working clothes." Terlicki v. Strauss, 85 N.J.L. 454; affirmed, 86 Id. 708.

"As a general rule an injury suffered by an employe in going to or returning from the employer's premises where the work of his employment is carried on does not arise out of and in the course of his employment. Fisher v. Tidewater Building Co., 96 N.J.L. 103; affirmed, 97 Id. 324. * * * We believe that the pertinent rule to be extracted from the case is this: The relation of employer and employe continues while the employe is riding to and from his employer's premises, in a truck used in connection with his employer's work, by direction of his employer, with his knowledge and acquiescence in the continued practice, which was beneficial to both the employer and employe; and an injury sustained while so riding arises out of and in the course of his employment. See Cicalese v. Lehigh Valley Railroad Co., 75 Id. 897; Depue v. Salmon Co., 92 Id. 550; Dunbaden v. Castles Ice Cream Co., 103 Id. 427; Bolos v. Trenton Fire Clay and Porcelain Co., 102 Id. 479; affirmed, 103 Id. 483." Alberta Contracting Corp. v. Santomassimo, 107 Id. 7. See, also, Laverty v. Ludington Management, Inc., 110 Id. 410.

"As an exception to the general rule that injuries sustained by an employe while going to or from work are not ordinarily compensable, injuries which occur to an employe while going to or from his work and after he has come upon the employer's premises or at a place so close thereto as to be considered a part thereof, or before leaving such premises or place, as the case may be, are held to be compensable." 71 C.J. 716.

In Cudahy Packing Co. v. Parramore, 263 U.S. 418, 423, an employe going to work at his employer's factory and using a public road was killed by a locomotive of another concern on a railroad crossing adjacent to the plant. The accident occurred a few minutes before it was necessary for the man

to commence his services. The court held that the imposition of liability on the employer for the benefit of the workman's dependents by a workmen's compensation law similar to our own was not improper. Mr. Justice Sutherland delivering the opinion of the court said: "But the contention here, shortly stated, is that the accident was one which occurred off the premises of the employer on a public road, outside the hours of employment and while the employe was not engaged in any business of the employer; that it was not the result of any industrial risk but arose from a common peril to which the public generally was exposed; and that consequently liability is imposed arbitrarily and capriciously. * * * Workmen's compensation legislation rests upon the idea of status, not upon that of implied contract; that is, upon the conception that the injured workman is entitled to compensation for an injury sustained in the service of an industry to whose operations he contributes his work as the owner contributes his capital -- the one for the sake of the wages and the other for the sake of the profits. The liability is based, not upon any act or omission of the employer, but upon the existence of the relationship which the employe bears to the employment because of and in the course of which he has been injured. And this is not to impose liability upon one person for an injury sustained by another with which the former has no connection; but it is to say that it is enough if there be a causal connection between the injury and the business in which he employs the latter -- a connection substantially contributory though it need not be the sole or proximate cause. Legislation which imposes liability ...

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