Collins v. Combustion Engineering Co., 34630

Decision Date09 January 1973
Docket NumberNo. 34630,34630
Citation490 S.W.2d 394
PartiesWilliam D. COLLINS, Employee, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. COMBUSTION ENGINEERING COMPANY, Employer, and Travelers Insurance Company, Insurer, Defendants-Respondents. . Louis District, Division One
CourtMissouri Court of Appeals

Alfred J. Rathert, Fenton, for plaintiff-appellant.

Evans & Dixon, Edward M. Vokoun, St. Louis, for defendants-respondents.

WEIER, Acting Presiding Judge.

Claimant was denied recovery in this workmen's compensation case. The trial court affirmed and we affirm.

Claimant was employed as a 'chainer'. Working outdoors, he assisted in the loading of trucks. On the day of his injury he was removing chains from loads of scrap iron that had been lowered by a 'travel-lift' onto the bed of an open-top truck trailer with sides and tailgate about two feet high. The 'travel-lift' was a four-wheeled machine that carried the material over the trailer and lowered it to the trailer bed. In order to loosen the chain, claimant climbed a four foot ladder set against the tailgate of the trailer, stepped over the tailgate and unhooked the chain from the load of scrap. Just before his injury he started to descend from the trailer. The industrial commission, concurring in a part of the referee's findings of fact, found, and from the evidence could have reasonably determined, that as the claimant was astride the vertical perimeter guard or tailgate of the trailer he got dizzy and fell backward onto the ground. Admittedly he was seriously injured, the referee determining that he had permanent partial disability of the back and body equivalent to thirty-five per centum of the body as a whole. The referee further found that the fall was an accident arising out of and in the course of his employment when the employee-claimant was exposed to a hazard connected with his employment not common to the general public; that such hazard substantially contributed to cause his injuries and thus comes within the meaning of § 287.120, subd. 1, RSMo 1969, V.A.M.S. With this conclusion the commission could not agree, and denied compensation, stating:

'It is plain that the referee found that the fall was caused as a result of employee becoming 'dizzy'. We yield to and agree with the referee in this finding. The referee did not find, however, that there was a direct causal connection between the claimant's employment and the onset of the 'dizzy' spell attributable either to the nature of the claimant's duties or to the conditions under which he was required to perform them so that the fall can be said to have been a rational consequence of some hazard connected with or aggravated by his employment. Indeed or aggravated by his employment. Indeed, to support such a finding.

'This test is a fundamental and indispensable requisite to recovery in every Missouri workmen's compensation case, no matter how or where the accident may have occurred and no matter in what category the causative risk may be classified. 'Its basic factors are 'causal connection' and 'rational consequence'. When they are shown to exist, the test has been satisfied; otherwise, it has not.' Liebman v. Colonial Baking Company, 391 S.W.2d 948, 950(1) (St.L.App., 1965).

'Further, we find that the height from which employee fell probably contributed to the extent of the injuries suffered, but it was not a contributory cause to the fall itself. The question whether or not the injury arose 'out of' the employment can not and does not depend in any respect upon the height from which the employee fell or the extent of the injuries he received as the result of becoming dizzy.

'Finding that employee failed to show that there was a direct causal connection between his employment and the fall attributable either to the nature of his duties or to the conditions under which he was required to perform them, compensation must be and is hereby denied.'

The claimant now contends on appeal that the circuit court was in error for affirming the commission's award because the facts accepted by the commission establish that although the fall was caused by claimant's dizziness, the injury was also directly caused by the height from which he fell. This height, he asserts, was a hazard connected with the employment which was not common to the public. Thus, the fall, so...

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6 cases
  • Haynes v. R.B. Rice, Div. of Sara Lee
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • July 25, 1989
    ...scalding water under high pressure). Matthews v. Roadway Express, Inc., 660 S.W.2d 768, 770 (Mo.App.1983); Collins v. Combustion Engineering Co., 490 S.W.2d 394, 396 (Mo.App.1973); Howard v. Ford Motor Co., 363 S.W.2d 61, 67 (Mo.App.1962).2 Missouri has never dealt directly with the burden ......
  • Alexander v. D.L. Sitton Motor Lines
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • April 20, 1993
    ...of his employment. As legal support for its holding, the Commission relied on the factually similar case of Collins v. Combustion Engineering Co., 490 S.W.2d 394 (Mo.App.1973). In Collins, an employee was injured when he fell off a ladder from the height of 4 feet. The Commission found, and......
  • Abel By and Through Abel v. Mike Russell's Standard Service
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • June 25, 1996
    ...of employment and the employee's injury. Second, Alexander's holding proceeds from the conviction that Collins v. Combustion Engineering Co., 490 S.W.2d 394 (Mo.App.1973), was wrongly decided. For this reason, Alexander expressly overrules Collins and says that "Collins misapplies the 'caus......
  • Matthews v. Roadway Exp., Inc., 12875
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • November 9, 1983
    ...which caused his fall." In denying compensation Judge Wesley and the commission relied primarily upon Collins v. Combustion Engineering Company, 490 S.W.2d 394 (Mo.App.1973). In Collins the claimant climbed a four-foot ladder, which was set against the tailgate of a trailer, and unhooked a ......
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