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Boyle v. G. & K. Trucking Co.

Decided: March 19, 1962.

LLOYD BOYLE, PETITIONER-APPELLANT,
v.
G. & K. TRUCKING CO., RESPONDENT-RESPONDENT



For reversal -- Chief Justice Weintraub, and Justices Jacobs, Francis, Proctor, Hall, Schettino and Haneman. For affirmance -- None. The opinion of the court was delivered by Jacobs, J.

Jacobs

[37 NJ Page 105] The Appellate Division, with one judge dissenting, set aside a compensation award which had been

rendered in favor of the petitioner Lloyd Boyle. He appealed to this court as of right. See R.R. 1:2-1(b).

In 1958 the petitioner was employed in New York by the respondent as a truck driver. He was then a resident of Warwick, New York but has since moved to Ramsey, New Jersey. The respondent was engaged in the business of leasing trucks and tank-trailers to Fuel Gas Corporation, Chester, New York. The petitioner's work involved his driving from Chester to pickup points in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. There the tank-trailer would be filled with gas and it would be returned by the petitioner to Chester. The petitioner testified that his New Jersey pickups were in Newark, Elizabeth, Bayonne and Clinton and that most of his work was in New Jersey. The testimony by respondent's witness Kelder indicated that the only New Jersey pickups were in Newark and Clinton and that most of the petitioner's work involved return trips between Chester, New York and points in Pennsylvania. Kelder acknowledged that, apart from the occasions when the petitioner stopped at the New Jersey pickup points, the petitioner traveled almost daily through New Jersey along a route specified by his employer.

On August 15, 1958 the petitioner was traveling through New Jersey en route from Chester, New York to Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania. While in Ridgewood, New Jersey, his truck went out of control and he was injured. He was taken to the Valley Hospital, Ridgewood, where he remained for a day or two and received medical attention. He then returned to his home at Warwick, New York, received further medical attention, and returned to work in November 1958. He never filed any claim for compensation in New York but did receive insurance company checks for "a couple of months." In February 1959 the petitioner filed a claim for compensation in New Jersey. The respondent filed an answer and a hearing was held in the Division of Workmen's Compensation. The Deputy Director rejected the respondent's contention that New Jersey lacked jurisdiction and

rendered an award in the petitioner's favor. On appeal to the County Court, the award was sustained but on further appeal it was set aside by the Appellate Division which held that New Jersey's interest was insufficient to justify the application of its Compensation Act. See Boyle v. G. & K. Trucking Co., 69 N.J. Super. 43 (App. Div. 1961). The Appellate Division took the position that the petitioner was merely a transient whose contact with New Jersey was purely casual but this ignored the frequency and regularity of his trips through New Jersey and his pickups within New Jersey. See 69 N.J. Super., at p. 56. It relied on Stacy v. Greenberg, 9 N.J. 390 (1952), and Wilson v. Faull, 27 N.J. 105 (1958), but they involved the rejection of common law negligence claims and did not determine whether claims may or should be entertained under New Jersey's Compensation Act for accidental injuries suffered by workmen in New Jersey while engaged in the regular performance of the duties assigned to them by their out-of-state employers. See American Radiator Co. v. Rogge, 86 N.J.L. 436 (Sup. Ct. 1914), affirmed 87 N.J.L. 314 (E. & A. 1915), appeal dismissed, 245 U.S. 630, 38 S. Ct. 63, 62 L. Ed. 520 (1917); Davidheiser v. Hay Foundry & Iron Works, 87 N.J.L. 688 (E. & A. 1915); cf. Bowers v. American Bridge Co., 43 N.J. Super. 48, 60 (App. Div. 1956), affirmed 24 N.J. 390 (1957); Buccheri v. Montgomery Ward & Co., 19 N.J. 594, 598 (1955).

In Rogge, a workman was employed in New York to do work which was partly in New York and partly in New Jersey. He was injured in New Jersey and his claim was filed under New Jersey's Workmen's Compensation Act. In sustaining the claim, the former Supreme Court rejected the contention that since the employment contract was entered into in New York, the law of that state rather than the law of New Jersey governed the employee's right to compensation. The court pointed out that the statutory obligation rests upon "the simple fact of the relationship of employer and employe" and that the act makes "no distinction between

cases where that relationship is created by a contract made in New Jersey and a contract made in another state." See 86 N.J.L., at p. 440. In Davidheiser, the workman was a resident of New York and was hired in New York. The accident which resulted in his death occurred in New Jersey and arose out of and in the course of his employment. In sustaining a claim under New Jersey's Workmen's Compensation Act (R.S. 34:15-1 et seq.) the Court of Errors and Appeals reaffirmed the holding and reasoning of Rogge. See 87 N.J.L., at p. 689. Although neither Rogge nor Davidheiser discussed any constitutional issues of power, it is now clear that New Jersey's interest by virtue of the fact that the workman was injured within its borders is sufficient to empower the application of its Workmen's Compensation Act despite the fact that the contract of hire was executed in another state between residents of that state. See Pacific Employers Ins. Co. v. Industrial Accident Commission, 306 U.S. 493, 59 S. Ct. 629, 83 L. Ed. 940 (1939); Carroll v. Lanza, 349 U.S. 408, 412, 75 S. Ct. 804, 99 L. Ed. 1183, 1188 (1955); Wilson v. Faull, supra, 27 N.J., at p. 117; 2 Larson, Workmen's Compensation Law ยงยง 86, 87 (1961).

In the Pacific Employers case the employee, a resident of Massachusetts, was employed in Massachusetts by a Massachusetts employer. He was sent temporarily to California and was injured there. He filed a claim for compensation under the California Workmen's Compensation Act and received an award. An attempt to have this award set aside on the ground that Massachusetts afforded the exclusive remedy was rejected by the California court and this was sustained by the United States Supreme Court. In his opinion for the Supreme Court, Justice Stone held that the Workmen's Compensation Act of California could be applied without violation of due process or the full faith and credit clause. He pointed out that although Massachusetts had an interest in safeguarding the compensation of Massachusetts employees while temporarily abroad, its interest could not override the constitutional authority of another state "to

legislate for the bodily safety and economic protection of employees injured within it." He expressed the view that "few matters could be deemed more appropriately the concern of the state in which the injury occurs or more completely within its power." ...


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