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Bertucci v. Metropolitan Construction Co.

Decided: September 3, 1952.

VINCENT BERTUCCI, AN INFANT, BY COSMO BERTUCCI, HIS NATURAL GUARIAN AND PARENT, PETITIONER-RESPONDENT,
v.
METROPOLITAN CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, A CORPORATION, RESPONDENT-APPELLANT, AND GERALD TORLUCCI AND JOSEPH TORLUCCI, AND NATIONAL CASUALTY INSURANCE CO., RESPONDENTS-RESPONDENTS



Schettino, Lloyd and Woods. The opinion of the court was delivered by Lloyd, J.s.c.

Lloyd

[21 NJSuper Page 319] This is an appeal to this court from a judgment of the County Court affirming a judgment of the

Deputy Director of Compensation in favor of the petitioner-respondent. The question involved is whether or not a general contractor is liable for the "double" compensation due a minor for injury arising out of and in the course of his employment while illegally employed by a subcontractor who failed to carry insurance.

The undisputed facts are that petitioner-respondent, Vincent Bertucci, was a minor, 17 years of age, employed by Torlucci Brothers, subcontractors of respondent-appellant, Metropolitan Construction Co., a corporation. He was employed in violation of R.S. 34:15-10, sustained compensable injury and obtained judgment for double compensation under said section of the Workmen's Compensation Act against Metropolitan Construction Company, respondent-appellant:

R.S. 34:15-10 provides:

"* * * If the injured employee at the time of the accident * * * is a minor * * * between fourteen and eighteen years of age employed, permitted or suffered to work * * * at an occupation prohibited at the minor's age by law, a compensation * * * shall be payable to the employee * * * which shall be double the amount payable under the schedules provided in sections 34:15-12 and 34:15-13 of this Title.

The employer alone and not the insurance carrier shall be liable for the extra compensation * * * which is over and above the amount of the compensation * * * provided under said sections 34:15;12 or 34:15-13. Any provision in an insurance policy undertaking to relieve an employer from the liability for the extra compensation * * * shall be void."

R.S. 34:15-79 provides:

"* * * Any contractor placing work with a sub-contractor shall, in the event of the subcontractor's failing to carry workmen's compensation insurance as required by this article, become liable for any compensation which may be due an employee * * * of a subcontractor. The contractor shall then have a right of action against the subcontractor for reimbursement."

The contractor has paid the compensation due the injured employee as provided in section 34:15-12 but denies its

liability to pay the extra or double compensation awarded by reason of the illegal employment.

The aforementioned section, 34:15-79, was amended in 1924 to substantially its present form. Counsel and the court have been unable to find any case in this ...


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