For the prosecutors, Cox & Walburg and Arthur F. Mead.
For the defendant, David Roskein and John A. Laird.
Before Justices Donges, Colie and Eastwood.
The opinion of the court was delivered by
DONGES, J. This writ of certiorari brings up a determination of the Hudson County Court of Common Pleas reversing a finding of the Workmen's Compensation Bureau and awarding compensation for partial permanent disability to the petitioner-defendant against the prosecutor-respondent Otis
Elevator Company. The petitioner rested his claim upon the doctrine of the case of Geltman v. Reliable Linen and Supply Co., 128 N.J.L. 443, and similar cases, and claimed that the heart condition from which he is suffering and which is causing his disability was the result of disturbance and excitement caused by an altercation which arose in the course of his performance of his duties.
On January 18th, 1945, petitioner was pursuing his duties as a guard at the Second Street gate of the Otis Elevator plant in Harrison, New Jersey. It was a stormy day, with rain and sleet, and petitioner was standing on the step of the guardhouse, a short distance from the gate, to secure some measure of shelter from the weather. Three agents of the United States government came to the plant for the performance of their work in connection with the entry into a contract between the company and the government. They drove their automobile into the gate and onto the driveway where they were stopped by the petitioner. After inquiries as to the purpose of their visit, they were told that they could not leave the car in the driveway. Accordingly they moved it some fifty feet to a parking area and, leaving the car, came to the guardhouse where they conferred with petitioner and also with a woman guard or receptionist on duty in the house.
After the location of the person they were to see was ascertained the government men left to enter the plant by another gate. The petitioner claims that his negotiations with these men grew into an argument which excited him and that his pain around the heart "did not start until I started the argument and got them to back out." And further he testified that after the incident which occurred at about 11 or 11:30 o'clock in the morning, he sat down for about five minutes.
The woman guard on duty with the petitioner testified that the car came through the gate and was parked in the lot; that the men and petitioner came into the guardhouse to learn their destination; that no argument took place in her presence and that the men seemed to be co-operative. She did not hear what went on outside the guardhouse but petitioner told her he had had an argument with them and seemed to be nervous.
Petitioner continued to work until quitting time at 3 o'clock when he went home. His chest pain persisted and that evening he called guard headquarters and a fellow guard was sent with a car to take him to the hospital. He remained overnight but left the ...