Broughey v. Mowry Grain Co., No. 1401.

CourtRhode Island Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtCONDON, Justice.
Citation200 A. 768
Decision Date08 July 1938
Docket NumberNo. 1401.
PartiesBROUGHEY v. MOWRY GRAIN CO.
200 A. 768

BROUGHEY
v.
MOWRY GRAIN CO.

No. 1401.

Supreme Court of Rhode Island.

July 8, 1938.


200 A. 769

Appeal from Superior Court, Providence and Bristol Counties; Mortimer A. Sullivan, Judge.

Proceeding under the Workmen's Compensation Act by Alice U. Broughey, claimant, opposed by the Mowry Grain Company, employer. From a decree for claimant, employer appeals.

Appeal sustained.

Ambrose Kennedy and James T. Greene, both of Woonsocket, for petitioner. Clifford A. Kingsley and Francis V. Reynolds, both of Providence, for respondent.

CONDON, Justice.

&gt

This is a petition brought by a widow for compensation, under the workmen's compensation act, Gen.Laws 1923, c. 92, art. 1 et seq., § 1 et seq., as amended, for the death of her husband, which is alleged to have resulted from an accident arising out of and in the course of his employment by the respondent. The cause was heard on appeal from the director of labor by a justice of the superior court and decided in favor of the petitioner. Thereafter a decree was entered in that court in accordance with that decision. The respondent has duly appealed from such decree to this court and has filed its reasons of appeal which, in summary, state that the justice of the superior court erred in all his findings in applying the law to the facts.

There is no dispute over the fact that the deceased workman died as a result of an accident arising out of and in the course of his employment by the respondent. The chief question at issue between the parties is whether, under the evidence in this case,

200 A. 770

petitioner is conclusively presumed to have been wholly dependent for support upon her husband at the time of his injury. Another question is whether she is entitled to an award of compensation at the rate of $14 a week or an award at the rate of $10 a week. This question involves a construction of general laws 1923, chapter 92, art. 2, sec. 6, as recently amended, Pub. Laws 1936, c. 2358.

The facts pertinent to the determination of these issues are briefly as follows. Alice U. Broughey is the widow of Michael H. Broughey, an employee of the respondent, whose average weekly wages were $20, at the time he was accidentally killed in the course of his employment on January 7, 1937. She was committed to a hospital for mental diseases in 1908, at Worcester, Massachusetts, while living in that state with her husband and children. In 1927 she was transferred to the state hospital for mental diseases at Howard, Rhode Island, and on the date of her husband's death she was still an inmate of that institution. Early in March 1937, however, she was released and has since been living at North Smithfield, Rhode Island.

Michael H. Broughey left surviving him a son, Herbert Broughey, now thirty years of age, who is alleged to have been wholly dependent for support upon his father. There was undisputed evidence that Herbert had always been physically incapacitated from earning his living and had always lived with his father and been dependent upon him.

The petitioner testified at the hearing before the director of labor, and her testimony, along with that of certain other witnesses who testified at that hearing, was, by stipulation of the parties, certified by the director of labor to the superior court to stand as evidence before that court. In addition thereto the petitioner presented in the superior court medical testimony to the effect that she was mentally competent to sue for and receive compensation, and more particularly, that she was qualified to take care of her business affairs. The respondent offered no evidence on this point.

On this evidence the trial justice found that the petitioner was justifiably living apart from her husband on January 7, 1937, and that she was entitled to recover compensation under the workmen's compensation act for his death; that Herbert Broughey was dependent upon his father Michael Broughey, within the meaning of that act; that there were no other dependents; that the petitioner was mentally competent to sue for and receive such compensation; and finally that such compensation should be paid to her in the sum of $14 a week for five hundred weeks for her support and the support of her son Herbert. The trial justice also found that she was entitled to the sum of $300 for the burial of her husband, as provided in sec. 9, art. 2, of the workmen's compensation act, as amended Pub.Acts 1936, c. 2290, § 6. This latter award is not disputed by the respondent.

Our statute conclusively presumes the dependency of a wife upon her husband, "with whom she lives or from whom she was living apart for a justifiable cause, or because he had deserted her, or upon whom she is dependent at the time of his death." G.L.1923, chap. 92, art. 2, sec. 7. This section also provides that: "The findings of the superior court upon the questions of such justifiable cause and desertion shall be final."

Was the petitioner living apart from her husband for a justifiable cause at the time of his death? If she was, then her dependency is conclusively presumed by the statute. At the time of her husband's death she was living apart from him at a hospital for mental diseases. She was there with his consent and at his desire. There was no ill feeling between them, and it is clear that the only reason for their separation at that time was some mental ailment from which she was suffering and for which she could receive treatment and care at the hospital. On this showing, the trial justice has found that her living apart from her husband was justifiable in fact. If there is any legal evidence to support that finding, it must stand, as sec. 7 makes it final. Jillson v. Ross, 38 R.I. 145, 150, 94 A. 717.

The respondent argues that there is no legal evidence to support this finding, because it is undisputed that the separation was not induced through any fault of the husband. He contends that the words in the statute—"from whom she was living apart for a justifiable cause"—have a special meaning which can be definitely determined by considering the circumstances under which they were imported into the statute.

Originally the statute read: "The following persons shall be conclusively presumed

200 A. 771

to be wholly dependent for support upon a deceased employee: (a) A wife upon a husband with whom she lives or upon whom she is dependent at the time of his death." Pub.Laws 1912, c. 831, art. 2, § 7. On April 19, 1917, Pub.Laws 1917, c. 1534, § 3, the legislature amended this clause by inserting, after the word "lives", "or from whom she was living apart for a justifiable cause, or because he had deserted her."

The respondent makes much of the fact that this amendment of the act was adopted less than a month after this court had decided, on March 28,...

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8 practice notes
  • Mill Realty Associates v. Crowe, No. 2002-433-M.P.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
    • February 17, 2004
    ...in making this determination, any decisions made on this basis necessarily were arbitrary and capricious. See Tillotson, 61 R.I. at 295, 200 A. at 768. In addition, the board's decision may also amount to a violation of the equal-protection clause of Fourteenth Amendment to the United State......
  • Weeks v. Behrend, No. 8319.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • April 19, 1943
    ...v. Klagstad, 262 Mich. 186, 247 N.W. 149; Albee's Case, 128 Me. 126, 145 A. 742. Contra, Broughey v. Mowry Grain Co., 61 R.I. 221, 200 A. 768. 5 Cf. Parks v. Parks, 73 App.D.C. 93, 116 F.2d 556. 6 Cf. Veber v. Mass. Bonding & Ins. Co., supra, note 4. 7 London Guarantee & Accident Co. v. Hoa......
  • Condon v. First Nat. Stores, Inc., No. 1478.
    • United States
    • Rhode Island Supreme Court
    • June 12, 1940
    ...Co. v. Julian, 56 R.I. 97, 183 A. 846; Chirico v. Kappler, 61 R.I. 128, 132, 200 A. 447; Broughey v. Mowry Grain Co., 61 R.I. 221, 227, 200 A. 768. No construction, particularly of a remedial statute, should be adopted which would defeat its evident purpose. Greenough, Attorney General v. P......
  • Pilkanis v. Leesona Corp., No. 8
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
    • December 16, 1966
    ...gives to the words of a statute their natural and ordinary and not their technical meanings. Broughey v. Mowry Grain Co., 61 R.I. 221, 200 A. 768. The respondent argues that our decisions in Keyworth v. Atlantic Mills, 42 R.I. 391, 108 A. 81, 8 A.L.R. 1322; Steele v. Darlington Fabrics Corp......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
8 cases
  • Mill Realty Associates v. Crowe, No. 2002-433-M.P.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
    • February 17, 2004
    ...in making this determination, any decisions made on this basis necessarily were arbitrary and capricious. See Tillotson, 61 R.I. at 295, 200 A. at 768. In addition, the board's decision may also amount to a violation of the equal-protection clause of Fourteenth Amendment to the United State......
  • Weeks v. Behrend, No. 8319.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • April 19, 1943
    ...v. Klagstad, 262 Mich. 186, 247 N.W. 149; Albee's Case, 128 Me. 126, 145 A. 742. Contra, Broughey v. Mowry Grain Co., 61 R.I. 221, 200 A. 768. 5 Cf. Parks v. Parks, 73 App.D.C. 93, 116 F.2d 556. 6 Cf. Veber v. Mass. Bonding & Ins. Co., supra, note 4. 7 London Guarantee & Accident Co. v. Hoa......
  • Condon v. First Nat. Stores, Inc., No. 1478.
    • United States
    • Rhode Island Supreme Court
    • June 12, 1940
    ...Co. v. Julian, 56 R.I. 97, 183 A. 846; Chirico v. Kappler, 61 R.I. 128, 132, 200 A. 447; Broughey v. Mowry Grain Co., 61 R.I. 221, 227, 200 A. 768. No construction, particularly of a remedial statute, should be adopted which would defeat its evident purpose. Greenough, Attorney General v. P......
  • Pilkanis v. Leesona Corp., No. 8
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
    • December 16, 1966
    ...gives to the words of a statute their natural and ordinary and not their technical meanings. Broughey v. Mowry Grain Co., 61 R.I. 221, 200 A. 768. The respondent argues that our decisions in Keyworth v. Atlantic Mills, 42 R.I. 391, 108 A. 81, 8 A.L.R. 1322; Steele v. Darlington Fabrics Corp......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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