For the prosecutor, Albert E. Schober (John J. Francis, of counsel).
For the respondent, Anna B. Hogan (William W. Shaw, of counsel).
Before Justices Bodine, Perskie and Wachenfeld.
The opinion of the court was delivered by
PERSKIE, J. This is a workmen's compensation case. The meritorious question for consideration is whether the employee suffered a compensable hernia. R.S. 34:15-12x.
Arthur Csont, petitioner below and respondent here, hereafter referred to as respondent, caused a claim petition for compensation to be filed against his employer, Standard Brands, respondent below and prosecutor here, hereafter referred to as prosecutor. Respondent's answers to the formal questions of his petition indicate that his claim for compensation was based upon the premise that he suffered an accident, on August 3d, 1944, namely, a "right traumatic inguinal hernia and bilateral strain of inguinal muscles," and that this accident arose out of and in the course of his employment.
Prosecutor, substantively stated, denied that respondent suffered a compensable hernia. The proofs are free from dispute; their legal effect is not.
From the record submitted, we ascertain that respondent, a single man, thirty-six years of age, was employed by prosecutor as a tea blender. In the course of the duties incident to his employment, respondent was obliged to, and did, with the help of an adult fellow employee, lift cases of tea, each of which weighed between 90 to 160 pounds, from the floor on to a vehicle. The lift from the floor to the vehicle was about three feet.
In the afternoon of August 3d, 1944, respondent, with the aid of a sixteen-year-old boy, who had been assigned instead of an adult to help the respondent, was engaged in lifting one of the cases. Apparently unable to hold up his end of the case, the boy dropped it. Respondent held up his end of the case. As a result, he "felt sharp pain and strain followed by continuous pain in the abdomen." More specifically, as described by respondent, he "felt a sharp pain in his right side," in his "right groin," it "felt as if the pain shot all over [his] whole abdomen." There is no proof that the case either touched or struck respondent's abdomen.
Although respondent could not thereafter work the way he usually worked (he took his time while working), nonetheless, he continued to work from 1:30 P.M. (time of the accident) to the end of the afternoon. He worked the following day. On Monday following the date of the alleged accident, respondent first reported the accident to his foreman who in turn sent respondent to prosecutor's doctor. The doctor examined respondent and sent him back to the foreman with instructions that respondent be placed on light work. This work, while lighter than the work respondent had previously performed, required some light lifting and some bending, all of which respondent did for about three days although the pain in the lower right part of his abdomen persisted. He again reported to the doctor and was again told to go back to his work. Respondent did not do so. He was again examined by the same doctor and was advised to go home ...