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Bobertz v. Board of Education of Township of Hillside

Decided: September 17, 1946.

L. CECILIA BOBERTZ, PETITIONER-RESPONDENT,
v.
BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE TOWNSHIP OF HILLSIDE, COUNTY OF UNION, STATE OF NEW JERSEY, RESPONDENT-PROSECUTOR



On certiorari.

For the respondent, Milton A. Feller and Peter L. Hughes, Jr.

For the prosecutor, Wilbur A. Stevens.

Before Justices Bodine, Perskie and Wachenfeld.

Wachenfeld

The opinion of the court was delivered by

WACHENFELD, J. This writ of certiorari brings up a judgment of the Union County Court of Common Pleas in a workmen's compensation case. That court affirmed the determination of the Bureau, which awarded compensation in accordance with the prayer of the petition.

For approximately eight years the respondent was employed as a teacher by the prosecutor, Hillside Board of Education. In addition to her duties of teaching, she served as faculty advisor for the Junior Girls Reserve Club, which was composed of student members of the school. Like all other teachers of that school system, she was required to assume and perform extracurricular activities. Opportunity was afforded the teachers to select a particular activity, but upon failure to do so, an activity was assigned to them. Respondent selected this duty, which required her to attend all meetings of the club held at the school or elsewhere. If she refused to perform these extra duties, her rating and standing as a teacher would be adversely affected. It would also be considered in making promotions and fixing salary increases.

The importance of this particular extracurricular work is further indicated by the fact that when these meetings interfered with the teaching of regular classes, the principal of the school took over the classes in order that the teacher could attend the meeting assigned her.

On December 21st, 1943, the respondent, as such faculty advisor, attended a meeting and Christmas party of the Junior Girls Reserve Club of Hillside at the Y.W.C.A. in Elizabeth. Upon termination of the party somewhat after 9:30 P.M., she walked to the corner of East Jersey Street and Madison Avenue, which is one-half block from the Y.W.C.A., to her parked car. She unlocked the door opposite the driver's seat, slid over behind the steering wheel, put on the lights, and started the motor. She was then struck on the head from the rear by someone in the back of the car, who immediately ran away. (Although both the Bureau and the court below found that the unknown assailant seized and took away her handbag, there is no testimony to that effect in the record, and for the purpose of this review that fact will be disregarded.) She ran for help and was then driven in her car to the Elizabeth General Hospital, where she remained for fifteen days. She suffered lacerations and a fractured skull causing 17 1/2% of partial permanent disability.

The question presented is whether or not, after an independent determination by this court of the facts and law

(R.S. 2:81-8), the assault from which the respondent's injury resulted was (a) an accident, (b) arising out of, and (c) in the course of her employment. R.S. 34:15-7, et seq. The basic case defining the scope of these terms is Bryant, Admx., v. Fissell, 84 N.J.L. 72. There the court held the injury was the result of an "accident" within the purview of the Workmen's Compensation Act, because it "is an unlooked-for mishap or untoward event which is not expected or designed." The court also held, "And a risk may be incidental to the employment when it is either an ordinary risk directly connected with the employment, or an extraordinary risk ...


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