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Anderson v. Chatham Electronics

Decided: November 13, 1961.

GLORIA ANDERSON, PETITIONER-RESPONDENT,
v.
CHATHAM ELECTRONICS, DIVISION OF TUNGSOL ELECTRIC COMPANY, RESPONDENT-APPELLANT



Gaulkin, Kilkenny and Herbert. The opinion of the court was delivered by Gaulkin, J.A.D.

Gaulkin

This is a workmen's compensation case. Gloria Anderson, the employee, was awarded compensation in the Division and the award was affirmed by the County Court. The employer appeals.

In February 1957 Mrs. Anderson was granted a leave of absence by the employer to undergo surgery unrelated to her employment. She was operated on for an "appendectomy, left ovary forectomy * * * and a uterine suspension" by her own Dr. Mahood, under whose care she continued after she left the hospital. She testified that on Wednesday,

May 1, 1957, Dr. Mahood had told her she could go back to work "about Monday"; on Thursday, May 2, she telephoned the employer's personnel department and told Miss Geraldine (Gerry) Koegel she was ready to come back to work on Monday; and that "Gerry" replied "I would have to have a slip * * * from my doctor saying that I was okay to come back to work * * * I had to bring the slip in before I could start."

Mrs. Anderson lived in South Orange; Dr. Mahood's office was in Maplewood. Mrs. Anderson claimed she telephoned the doctor's office on Thursday and made an appointment for Friday evening, May 3, to obtain the slip. On Friday evening, after having obtained the slip and while returning from the doctor's office to her home by taxi, she was involved in a collision in which she was seriously and permanently injured. It was for these injuries that she received the award.

The employer contends that the injury did not arise out of and in the course of the employment.

The employer points to the fact that "Gerry" testified that Mrs. Anderson told her she was going to the doctor on Friday and if "everything was all right she would be in on Monday"; that Dr. Mahood testified that on April 30, when Mrs. Anderson came to his office for one of her post-operative examinations, she had a cold, for which he gave her an injection and prescribed penicillin and a cough mixture; that she returned on said Friday, May 3, at which time, after giving her a thorough examination, he discharged her as cured post-operatively and gave her a writing certifying that she was physically fit to go back to work. The employer argues that this proves that the obtaining of the slip was merely incidental to the May 3 visit to the doctor, which had been arranged before she was told she would need the slip, and the trip would have been made in any event on that day for final check-up and discharge.

Mrs. Anderson denied this, even after being confronted with her signed statement in which she had said: "On Friday

evening I went to Dr. Mahood's office for a final check up so that he could release me so that I could go back to work." She testified that Dr. Mahood did nothing on May 3 except give her the slip, and that not only did he not examine her, but he did not even ask her how she felt. Mrs. Anderson insisted that the trip was for the sole purpose of obtaining the slip.

The judge of compensation did not resolve this conflict in the testimony, apparently on the basis that it made no difference whether the purpose of the visit to Dr. Mahood was only for the slip, or for the prearranged examination as well. The County Court, on the other hand, said in its opinion, "I find the sole purpose of the trip was to obtain the slip." The employer asks us to overturn that finding of the County Court. However, we deem it immaterial whether Mrs. Anderson went to Dr. Mahood's office for the slip and for a final prearranged examination, or whether the trip was for the slip alone. In either event we hold that, under the circumstances of this case, the trip was not part of the employment and the accident did not arise out of and in the course of the employment.

Mrs. Anderson argues to the contrary on the ground that when the employer told her to get the slip it sent her "on a special errand" for his "benefit" as in Ryan v. St. Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church , 41 N.J. Super. 206 (App. Div. 1956) and Bobertz v. Board of Education of Hillside Township , 134 ...


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