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Person v. Firemen''s Insurance Co.

Decided: April 21, 1941.

ALMA PERSON, PROSECUTOR,
v.
FIREMEN'S INSURANCE CO., DEFENDANT



On writ of certiorari.

For the prosecutor, Charles Hershenstein.

For the defendant, Henry M. Grosman and Isidor Kalisch.

Before Justices Case, Donges and Heher.

Donges

The opinion of the court was delivered by

DONGES, J. A single question is involved in this case, namely, did the death of prosecutor's husband result from an electric shock said to have been sustained on November 23d, 1938? The Compensation Bureau concluded that it did. Judge Flanagan, for the Essex County Court of Common Pleas, determined that petitioner failed to establish that any shock received by prosecutor's husband on that day produced his death, which occurred on January 26th, 1939.

It is undisputed that decedent was employed by defendant as an electrician; that prosecutor and one daughter were dependents of deceased at the time of his death; that deceased went to the infirmary maintained by defendant and received treatment for his hands which had been injured by a "flash" or "ground" while working on a panel board in defendant's building; and that the injury consisted of "both hands blackened, no blisters or break in the skin." The prosecutor

testified as to the condition of her husband when he arrived home the day of the occurrence. She testified that he was always in good health, and that on the day in question he came home with both hands bandaged; that he was "pale and did not look himself;" that he could not get his breath; and that he retired at once. The claim is that the shock of an electric "short" so affected deceased that it was the ultimate cause of death.

To support this claim, petitioner at the hearing in the Compensation Bureau produced testimony that, in addition to the condition of deceased on the day of the alleged shock, as above described, on November 26th, three days after the occurrence, deceased was in bad physical condition, being brought home from work in a taxicab and, as described by prosecutor, "he was gray looking and very sick, he collapsed on the floor and the taxi driver drove him home." Deceased did not thereafter return to his work.

The petitioner sought to support the claim of fatal electric shock by a written statement of one Farley, who was an electrician in defendant's employ. It appears beyond question, however, that Farley was not present at the place of the alleged accident and his only information came from decedent; that Farley was working at Blairstown, about sixty-five miles from the scene of decedent's work on the day in question. His written statement touching matters of which he had no knowledge was given to help decedent with respect to the collection of some insurance. Farley did testify to seeing decedent several days following the accident and that he had every appearance of suffering from a cold.

On or about November 26th, deceased was visited by Dr. Furne, and on or about November 27th, by Dr. Brick, and on November 29th, by Dr. Bedell, who was called by petitioner from the Jersey City Medical Center. Another doctor from the Center also visited decedent and advised that X-ray pictures be taken and on December 26th they were taken. Both Dr. Furne and Dr. Brick testified that they were given no history of an alleged ...


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