Coates v. J. M. Bucheimer Co.

Decision Date05 April 1966
Docket NumberNo. 195,195
PartiesRuth N. COATES v. J. M. BUCHEIMER CO., Inc., et al.
CourtMaryland Court of Appeals

John F. Foley, Jr., and Samuel D. Hill, Baltimore (Buckmaster, White, Mindel & Clarke, Baltimore, and Richard E. Zimmerman, Frederick, on the brief), for appellant.

Herbert L. Rollins, Frederick (Glenn C. Michel and Mathias, Mathias & Rollins, Frederick, on the brief), for appellees.


HORNEY, Judge.

In this workmen's compensation case, the primary question presented is whether the trial court erred in granting the motion for a directed verdict in favor of the employer on the ground that the injury suffered by the employee did not arise out of and in the course of her employment. The employee (Ruth N. Coates) is the appellant and the employer (J. M. Bucheimer Co., Inc.) is the appellee. As usual, only the facts are different: the law has not changed.

The employee, who had been employed for about six months prior to her injury, operated a machine used in the manufacturing of leather goods. In her work as a 'stitcher' it was necessary for the employee to remain at a machine except when she had to get material.

At the time of the accident resulting in the injury the employer was constructing an addition to its plant and the existing loading dock was being extended along side of the new building. A roll-up door provided access from the existing plant to the loading dock and another doorway in the new building provided access to that part of the loading dock still under construction. Neither of these doors was normally used by the employee to enter or leave the plant.

On the evening of November 6, 1963, while the employee was working the 4:00 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. shift, she took her regular coffee break at 6:00 p.m., and went to the lounge in the building where she had been working for refreshments. During the 'break' she talked with her foreman, discussing, among other things, the new lounge in the building under construction. The foreman asked the employee if she had seen the new lounge and, after she answered that she had not, she asked him if he would take her to see it, but he refused because of 'what might be said'. The employee then asked the foreman if she could go over and see it and the foreman replied 'yes.'

The employee went over to the closed rollup door, raised it and went out onto the unlighted loading dock. She proceeded along the platform area in the dark for about seven or eight feet until she came to a doorway in the new building and as she attempted to step from the partially completed loading platform into the new building she fell and sustained the injury for which she seeks compensation.

At the hearing on the claim for compensation filed by the employee, the commission found that she 'did not sustain an accidental injury arising out of and in the course of her employment' and disallowed her claim. The employee appealed to the circuit court requesting a jury trial. When, however, the appeal was heard, the trial court directed a verdict in favor of the employer against the employee at the conclusion of her case, and this appeal followed.

Code (1957), Art. 101, § 15, provides in pertinent part that 'every employer * * * shall pay * * * for the disability * * * of his employee resulting from an accidental personal injury sustained by the employee arising out of and in the course of his employment without regard to fault * * *.' Although it was conceded by the parties that the employee sustained an accidental personal injury, the employee still had to show that the injury arose both 'out of' and 'in the course of' her employment in order to bring her claim for compensation within the operation of the statute. Pariser Bakery v. Koontz, 239 Md. 586, 212 A.2d 324 (1965); Department of Correction v. Harris, 232 Md. 180, 192 A.2d 479 (1963); Scherr v. Miller, 229 Md. 538, 184 A.2d 916 (1...

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13 cases
  • Knoche v. Cox
    • United States
    • Maryland Court of Appeals
    • April 25, 1978
    ...the course of employment' refer to the time and place of an accident and the circumstances under which it occurs, Coates v. J. M. Bucheimer Co., 242 Md. 198, 218 A.2d 191; Hill v. Liberty Motors, 185 Md. 596, 45 A.2d 467; but whether a given injury is in the course of the employment is dete......
  • Medical Mut. Liability Ins. Soc. of Maryland v. Evans
    • United States
    • Maryland Court of Appeals
    • September 1, 1992
  • Brooks v. Daley
    • United States
    • Maryland Court of Appeals
    • April 5, 1966
  • Proctor-Silex Corp. v. DeBrick
    • United States
    • Maryland Court of Appeals
    • May 9, 1969
    ...not his wife, in the vehicle with him, nor is Mrs. DeBrick's conduct comparable to that of the claimant in Coates v. J. M. Bucheimer Co., 242 Md. 198, 218 A.2d 191 (1966), where the claimant while on her regular coffee break went to inspect a new lounge then under construction. In the latte......
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