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Williams v. New Jersey State Highway Department

Submitted: December 28, 1943.

FLORENCE VANLUE WILLIAMS, SUBSTITUTED FOR ARTHUR GARFIELD WILLIAMS (DECEASED), PETITIONER-RESPONDENT,
v.
NEW JERSEY STATE HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT, RESPONDENT-PROSECUTOR



On application for writ of certiorari.

For the petitioner-respondent, Joseph R. Megill.

For the respondent-prosecutor, David T. Wilentz, Attorney-General, and Robert S. Hartgrove, Assistant Attorney-General.

Before Justice Case, Donges and Porter.

Case

The opinion of the court was delivered by

CASE, J. The matter comes before us on application for a writ of certiorari to review the determination and judgment made April 9th, 1943, by the Camden County Common Pleas Court on the appeal from the determination of facts and rule for judgment of the Workmen's Compensation Bureau made September 16th, 1942. With the application comes the stipulation that if the court should decide that a writ of certiorari should issue the court may, if it will, decide the case on its merits as if a writ had theretofore issued. The determination was, in part, that Arthur Garfield Williams suffered a coronary thrombosis as the result of an accident which arose out of and in the course of his employment and that as a result thereof he suffered a disability total in character and permanent in quality.

Prosecutor's first contention is that the determination of the Compensation Bureau was erroneous in finding that the petitioner "suffered a coronary thrombosis which caused a permanent disability total in character" and that the determination should, under the authority of the statute, have grounded in a finding that there was a "disability total in character and permanent in quality." We think that the wording of the award was in substantial accord with the statute. The Bureau found that the disability was both permanent and total; and that, in our understanding, is what the statute requires. The variance, such as it was, was corrected by the Court of Common Pleas on the appeal. The Pleas, reviewing both the reasoning of and the result reached by the lower tribunal (Calicchio v. Jersey City Stock Yards Co., 125 N.J.L. 112, 117), found that the disability was "total in character and permanent in quality" -- the precise terminology for which the appellant argues.

It is next said that the evidence does not support a determination that the disability was permanent in quality. There is ample proof that Williams had suffered from arteriosclerosis,

that his arteries had progressively thickened and because of the diminished opening had retarded the blood flow, and that ultimately a blood clot formed which, unable to pass through the opening, occluded or shut off the blood stream in one of the arteries or artery branches. That result is known as a coronary thrombosis and, without dispute, happened to Williams. Whether the result did, or could have, come from a trauma was sharply controverted, but there was support for resolving the dispute in the affirmative and we are not disposed to reverse the lower tribunals for so doing. We do not discover in the proofs a statement in haec verba that the total disability which came upon Williams as an incident to the thrombosis was permanent in quality. But it is reasonably clear from the medical testimony that the disability was total from the time of the accident or a day or two thereafter until the time of the hearing, a period of one year and eight months. We find no serious dispute in the proofs over that proposition, and we find no denial therein that the disability was permanent in quality. The controversy waged over the question whether the thrombosis was in any degree attributable to the trauma. There is, we think, adequate support for the finding that the disability was both total and permanent. Dr. Albright testified for the employer and said this on cross-examination:

"Q. * * * But there are cases, are there not, especially in younger persons where there would be a healing, and after, say, six months or a year, a person might be apparently normal again?

"A. You mean after a coronary ...


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