On appeal from Hudson County Court, Law Division.
Colie, Eastwood and Jayne. The opinion of the court was delivered by Jayne, J.s.c. Colie, J.A.D., dissenting.
Did the competent and credible evidence in this action adequately sustain the determination of facts and consequent judgment of the Hudson County Court concluding that the permanent disability of the plaintiff resulted from an accident arising out of and in the course of her employment? The Deputy Director of the Division of Workmen's Compensation and the Hudson County Court both resolved that controversial issue in favor of the plaintiff.
If their conclusions rest upon competent evidence, they ought not to be overthrown incautiously. Mason v. Evans , 5 N.J. Super. 338 (App. Div. 1949).
For some period of time prior to the alleged accident on November 20, 1947, the plaintiff was employed by the defendant to operate a slurring machine in the teflon department at its Arlington plant. The machine may be generally described as a container into which the proportions of powder and water are imported and then agitated. It is imperative to close the aperture in the receptacle after the admission of the materials by the insertion of a rubber stopper weighing about one-half pound and to maintain it in its position during the churning period. It was pragmatical and expedient
to seat the stopper firmly to prevent its dislodgment or ejectment by the operation of the apparatus.
It was on November 20, 1947, in the pursuit of this occupation that the plaintiff, in her endeavor securely to install the stopper by means of the exertion of pressure with her right arm and shoulder, sensed an acute and painful "click" or "crack" in the area of her right shoulder and neck. Proof of the occurrence of the alleged mishap is reinforced by the testimony of the shop foreman who recalls that the plaintiff at once informed him of her anguish and that he forthwith issued to her a "pass" entitling her to treatment at the company hospital. Additional confirmation is available in the testimony of the attending nurse and in the contemporaneous records of the infirmary.
The plaintiff's injury is classified as a subluxation of the right sternoclavicular articulation. Dr. Visconti testified that the subluxation "is an accidental condition" and "would not come on with the ordinary occupational hazard." The X-rays did not reveal any bone disease in the region of the right sternoclavicular articulation.
The appellant more vigorously impugns the finding that a causal relationship between the alleged accident and the injury has been evidentially established. We recognize that the proof of that essential element of the plaintiff's case is somewhat frail, but from a comprehensive survey of all of the circumstances disclosed by the evidence and the permissible inferences drawn therefrom, we are of the opinion that there is competent evidence upon which the judgment for the plaintiff can be based.
The following excerpts from the testimony of the witness Mary Starzecky are noteworthy:
"Did you see * * * the front part of the collarbone?"
"Yes, I seen it right after that happened; when ...