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Williams v. Corby''s Enterprise Laundry

Decided: December 28, 1960.

RUTH WILLIAMS, PETITIONER-APPELLANT,
v.
CORBY'S ENTERPRISE LAUNDRY, RESPONDENT-RESPONDENT



Conford, Freund and Kilkenny. The opinion of the court was delivered by Freund, J.A.D.

Freund

[64 NJSuper Page 563] The issue before us, in this workmen's compensation action by a widow claiming dependency benefits, is whether her husband's death, concededly occurring in the course of his working hours, arose out of his

employment. The deputy director decided in petitioner's favor, but the County Court, on hearing de novo based on the record below, dismissed the petition on the ground that decedent had died as a result of a non-work-connected cerebral hemorrhage, induced solely by an antecedent arteriosclerotic condition. The instant appeal followed.

Decedent, John Williams, was employed by respondent as a night watchman in its Summit plant on the 11 P.M. to 7 A.M. shift. On the morning of December 14, 1957 his body was discovered by a fellow employee. The 63-year-old Williams was stretched out on his back on the floor of the plant, his blood-stained head resting on a pile of laundry nets, his right hand still gripping a metal stanchion. About 30 to 40 feet from where Williams lay, in a machine-laden area of the 100 by 200 foot plant, were his cap and time clock, resting close to another spatter of blood. The path between these two points was clearly marked by a trail of blood droplets.

At first it was thought that Williams was the victim of foul play; such a theory was in fact posited in the widow's petition but was discarded before the Division. Instead, two factual contentions, set out in detail below, were put forth by petitioner, predicated on the physical facts and circumstances and on the following relevant autopsy findings by Dr. Horre, the County Physician:

"Head

Scalp -- Laceration 2" in length -- right occipital area. Hemotoma [ sic ] of the right side

Skull -- Small stellate fracture -- right occipital area

Dura-mater -- Tear in posterior middle fosa

Brain -- Left side cerebral hemorrhage, left basel [ sic ] ganglion. Marked ateriocerebral [ sic ] sclerosis

Spinal cord -- normal"

As expounded by her medical witness, Dr. Lieb, petitioner's alternative hypotheses were: (1) that decedent had slipped on a sloping portion of the laundry floor, or tripped over one of the ...


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