For affirmance -- Chief Justice Weintraub and Justices Jacobs, Francis, Proctor, Hall, Schettino and Haneman. For reversal -- None. The opinion of the court was delivered by Schettino, J.
In 1961 the owner Lardieri and driver Licata, the plaintiffs here, entered into an agreement whereby Licata operated a taxicab under terms almost identical to those described in the case of Naseef v. Cord, decided today. 48 N.J. 317 (1966). The same paragraph 8 appeared in the contract:
"The parties further agree that the provisions of Article II, Chapter 15, Revised Statutes of New Jersey 34:15-7 et seq., commonly known as the Workmen's Compensation Act, shall not apply to either of them or this contract."
As a result of an accident involving plaintiff Licata and Richard Lutz, an uninsured motorist, a consent judgment was entered between the Unsatisfied Claim and Judgment Fund of New Jersey (Fund) and plaintiffs, awarding William Lardieri, owner of the taxi, damages for loss of property and James Licata, driver of the taxi, damages for personal injuries. Plaintiffs moved to compel payment by the Fund in accordance with the entered judgment. The trial court found compliance with the provisions of the Fund law and ordered
payment. The Fund then moved to vacate the order for payment. The motion to vacate was denied and payment to the judgment by the Fund was again ordered. There was no appeal from so much of the order as required payment to the owner Lardieri.
The Appellate Division affirmed. We granted certification on the Fund's petition. 46 N.J. 608 (1966).
The Fund resists the claim for personal injuries on the ground that plaintiff was covered by the Workmen's Compensation Act, N.J.S.A. 34:15-1 et seq., and, therefore, not entitled to the benefits under N.J.S.A. 39:6-70(a), which provides:
"The court shall proceed upon such application, in a summary manner, and, upon the hearing thereof, the applicant shall be required to show
(a) He is not a person covered with respect to such injury or death by any workmen's compensation law, or the personal representative of such a person, * * *."
The Fund reads the statute to embrace Article I of the Workmen's Compensation Act, which is that portion (N.J.S.A. 34:15-1 through 34:15-6) which redefines the common-law tort remedies against a negligent employer and eliminates certain defenses. Under this broad reading of the statute, even if paragraph 8 succeeds in barring petitioner's claim under Article II, petitioner still would have the benefits of Article I, as the provisions of this article are imposed by law and cannot be barred. John Hancock Mutual Life Ins. Co. v. Lieb, 11 N.J. Misc. 316, 165 A. 720 (Sup. Ct. 1933), affirmed o.b. 113 N.J.L. 34 (E. & A. 1934). The logical conclusion of this argument is that the employee covered by Article I cannot claim against the Fund even if his employer is not negligent, thus leaving the employee without a remedy against either the Fund or his employer.
It is most unlikely that the Legislature could have intended the statute to have such a restrictive meaning which would exclude many persons ...