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Cernadas v. Supermarkets General

Decided: October 14, 1983.

ANTONIO CERNADAS, JR., AND ANTONIO CERNADAS, SR., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
SUPERMARKETS GENERAL, A CORPORATION OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE, T/A RICKEL HOME CENTER, DEFENDANT



Wolin, J.d.c. (temporarily assigned).

Wolin

[192 NJSuper Page 501] The issue in this case is whether a forklift is a "hoisting apparatus" under N.J.S.A. 34:2-21.17.

FACTS

On April 5, 1981 plaintiff, 17 years of age, was employed by Rickel's Home Center as a stockboy. Plaintiff's supervisor ordered him to operate a forklift to move goods from one area of the warehouse to another. As plaintiff maneuvered the forklift toward a pallet, he put the machine in reverse to avoid puncturing cases of oil which happened to be on the pallet. Driving in reverse and looking backward, plaintiff caught his arm between a shelf and the cage on the lift which surrounds the driver. Plaintiff attempted to jump in order to free his arm, whereupon his head struck the cage. As a result, he sustained injuries to his arm and head.

I

Plaintiff has instituted a negligence action against defendant alleging that defendant violated N.J.S.A. 34:2-21.17 of the Child Labor Law. This provision reads in its pertinent part:

No minor under 18 years of age shall be employed, permitted or suffered to work in, about, or in connection with the following: . . .

Operation or repair of elevators or other hoisting apparatus. [Emphasis supplied.]

Defendant has moved for summary judgment on the ground that a forklift is not a "hoisting apparatus" within the purview of the statute. Plaintiff has cross-moved for summary judgment, asserting that the quoted term was meant to include a forklift. In this regard, it merits note that our Supreme Court stated in Gabin v. Skyline Cabana Club, 54 N.J. 550, 553 (1969):

[I]t is clear that a violation of the statutory provision here involved itself constitutes negligence and results in liability if the violation is the proximate cause of plaintiff's injuries. See Feir v. Weil and Whitehead, 92 N.J.L. 610 (E. & A.1919).

See also Dubiel v. Laneco, Inc., 161 N.J. Super. 360, 363 (Law Div.1978).

Preparatory to resolving the issue before the court it is first necessary to determine whether N.J.S.A. 34:2-21.17 should be construed liberally or narrowly. In Gabin v. Skyline Cabana Club, 54 N.J. at ...


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