Bello v. Notkins

Decision Date02 June 1924
Citation124 A. 831,101 Conn. 34
CourtConnecticut Supreme Court

Appeal from Superior Court, New Haven County; Christopher L. Avery Judge.

Proceeding under the Workmen's Compensation Act by Louis Bello claimant, against Abraham L. Notkins, employer. From a judgment of the superior court affirming commissioner's award of compensation, employer appeals. No error.

The finding shows that the plaintiff was employed by one Oscar Lindstrom, a contractor engaged in laying the floors in a dwelling house of which the legal title stood in the name of the defendant. While so employed, the plaintiff suffered an injury arising out of and in the course of his employment. His claim for compensation was first made against his immediate employer, Lindstrom, and was dismissed solely on the ground that Lindstrom employed regularly less than five workmen and had not accepted the provisions of part B of the Workmen's Compensation Act (Gen. St. 1918 § § 5341-5390). The plaintiff then instituted the present proceedings against A. L. Notkins, with whom were joined the other members of the firm of A. L. Notkins & Sons a partnership engaged in the business of building houses for rent or sale, and composed of A. L. Notkins and his three sons, James, Matthew, and Benjamin.

It is found that Lindstrom frequently took flooring contracts from the Notkins firm; that these were generally made orally by telephone; that on this occasion Benjamin Notkins telephoned Lindstrom and contracted with him (but in whose name is not found) to lay the floors in the house in question for an agreed sum; that the house is worth approximately $40,000; and that during all the time the plaintiff was at work more than five workmen were engaged in building it. It is further found that the record title to the land on which the house was built was and is in the defendant A. L. Notkins, and that " the house in question was not being erected as a part of the ordinary business of the firm of A. L. Notkins & Sons. It was not intended for rent or sale, but was intended as a residence for Abraham L. Notkins and his wife, James A. Notkins, Benjamin A. Notkins, and Dr. Louis A. Notkins," the latter being a son of A. L. Notkins, but not a member of the Notkins firm. In equity the house is owned in equal shares by A. L. Notkins, Benjamin, and Louis. It does not appear who hired the workmen, other than the plaintiff, who worked upon the house; but it is found that the plaintiff's employer, Lindstrom, was paid by the individual check of A. L. Notkins.

The commissioner dismissed the claim as against all of the respondents except A. L. Notkins, and awarded that the latter pay compensation to the plaintiff. On appeal the Superior Court sustained the award, holding that on the facts found A. L. Notkins was liable as " principal employer," under section 5345 of the General Statutes. The reasons of appeal, in one form or another, question this ruling of the superior court.

Harry L. Brooks and Charles L. Brooks, both of New Haven, for appellant.

Arthur B. O'Keefe, Joseph I. Shrebnik, and Thomas F. Mitchell, all of New Haven, for appellee.

BEACH, J. (after stating the facts as above).

The only question argued on this appeal was whether the superior court erred in holding, upon the facts found, that A. L. Notkins was liable to pay compensation to the plaintiff as a principal employer within the meaning of section 5345 of the General Statutes, which is printed in the footnote. [1]

While the finding is not explicit, the commissioner's award involves the conclusion of fact that the house in question was not being erected by the firm of A. L. Notkins & Sons, and was being erected by A. L. Notkins alone. The appellant does not question the correctness of this conclusion. On the contrary, he expressly admits its truth, saying on the brief:

" The construction of the house was not under the control, supervision or direction of the real estate firm of A. L. Notkins & Sons, nor was its construction financed by the firm."

Admittedly, these things were done by A. L. Notkins in his capacity as owner of the premises, and in this informal...

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26 cases
  • Barker v. All Roofs by Dominic
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • August 13, 2020
    ...contractor's employees on the project at issue. See Grenier v. Grenier , supra, at 571–72, 87 A.2d 148 (criticizing Bello v. Notkins, 101 Conn. 34, 36–38, 124 A. 831 (1924), which held that homeowner was principal employer of independent contractor employee who was building house for homeow......
  • Bogoratt v. Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Co.
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • January 12, 1932
    ...which are molved. The oblp Ct of section 5230 is to afford full protection to workmen by preventing the possibility defeating Bello v. Notkins, 101 Conn. 34, 38. 124 831. As to the provisions of section 5226, which have quoted, it may be said, as m King Viscolold Co., 219 Mass, 420, 422, 10......
  • United States Fid. & Guar. Co. v. Spring Brook Farm Dairy Inc.
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • January 7, 1949
    ...and the purpose of that section is to broaden it scope so as to include them, if the conditions specified in it are met. Bello v. Notkins, 101 Conn. 34, 38, 124 A. 831; Johnson v. Mortenson, 110 Conn. 221, 226, 147 A. 705, 66 A.L.R. 1428. The word ‘contractor’ in § 5230 has the same signifi......
  • Sears, Roebuck & Co. v. Wallace
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fourth Circuit
    • January 28, 1949
    ...engine house. The court said: "* * * We have regarded, however, the broad policy of the Workmen's Compensation Act; Bellow v. Notkins, 101 Conn. 34, 37, 124 A. 831; Massolini v. Driscoll, 114 Conn. 546, 553, 159 A. 480; and in effect have held that the words `process in the trade or busines......
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