On certiorari to the Workmen's Compensation Bureau. See 19 N.J. Mis. R. 276.
For the prosecutor, George E. Meredith.
For the respondent, David Roskein (Harry Cohn, of counsel).
Before Brogan, Chief Justice, and Justices Case and Heher.
The opinion of the court was delivered by
HEHER, J. Petitioner suffered injury by an accident which arose out of and in the course of his employment; and the Workmen's Compensation Bureau made an award of compensation against the defendant corporation under R.S. 1937, 34:15-7, et seq., notwithstanding that petitioner had previously entered into an agreement with the Federal Furniture Company, a corporation organized under the laws of the Company, a corporation organized under the laws of the State of North Carolina, as his employer, for the payment of compensation under the laws of that state, "at the rate of $18 per week, payable weekly, beginning from 7-1-38, * * * until this agreement has been terminated by final receipt or supplemental agreement approved by the North Carolina Industrial Commission or by the order of such Commission." The agreement was "approved" by the tribunal last-named under a provision of the North Carolina statute that "otherwise such agreement shall be voidable by the employee or his dependents," and, if so approved, "the memorandum shall for all purposes be enforceable by the court's decree as hereinafter specified." Chapter 120 of Public Laws of North Carolina, 1929, p. 139. The mishap occurred on June 24th, 1938, at the plant of the Furniture Company in Elkin, North Carolina. Compensation for sixteen weeks, at the stated weekly rate, was paid under the agreement. When petitioner, a resident of New Jersey, declined to enter a hospital in North Carolina for an "operation" and "necessary medical attention," at the direction of the state Industrial Commission, payments were discontinued. Thereupon, this proceeding was instituted. The defendant sued out the writ.
A basic question litigated was whether petitioner and defendant had entered into a contract of employment in the State of New Jersey, where they had a common residence (and where defendant also maintained its plant and place of business), and whether this stipulation, if such there was, still subsisted at the time petitioner suffered his injury and the accident arose out of the service rendered pursuant thereto.
And defendant contends further that, even though these issues be resolved in the affirmative, petitioner cannot prevail
for the following reasons: That the North Carolina Industrial Commission "had previously acquired jurisdiction," and therefore the judgment under review is coram non judice; that the filing of the agreement adverted to with the Industrial Commission is "comparable to a petition for compensation under our act," and so the employee, "by his own act and under a valid law, submitted himself to the jurisdiction" of that body, and thereby our Compensation Bureau "was deprived of jurisdiction in the matter;" that the employee is precluded from a recovery under our statute "on the grounds of estoppel, election of remedies and res adjudicata," in that he "had a live remedy under the laws" of North Carolina, and, conceding "a choice of remedies," he "has made that choice," and by filing "a petition or agreement for compensation" in the foreign jurisdiction, "he elected his remedy and is bound by it," and is "estopped from pursuing a further remedy in another tribunal;" and that the "petition or agreement was adjudicated by the subsequent acts" of the Industrial Commission "whereby it approved the agreement and ordered subsequent payments for compensation, traveling expenses and medical bills for treatment." These points are all untenable.
Ours is an elective system of compensation, contractual in nature; and if, as found by the Deputy Commissioner, the then subsisting contract of service was made with defendant in this state, the rights of the parties in this behalf are governed by our Workmen's Compensation Act. By mere inaction, the parties to such a contract impliedly stipulate for the payment of compensation under article 2 of that enactment for the consequences of an accident of the statutory class, no matter where it may occur. Sexton v. Newark District Telegraph Co., 84 N.J.L. 85; Rounsaville v. Central Railroad Co., 87 Id. 371 (reversed on another ground, 90 Id. 176); Foley v. Home Rubber Co., 89 Id. 474; Burns v. Edison, 92 Id. 288; Steinmetz v. Snead & Co., 123 Id. 138; Same Case, 123 Id. 497; affirmed, 124 Id. 450; affirmed, sub nom. Snead & Co. v. Steinmetz, 311 U.S. 605; 61 S. Ct. 12; 85 L. Ed. 605; A.L.I., Conflict of Laws, § 398.
The adoption of that scheme of compensation ...