Dick v. International Harvester Co.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (Kentucky)
Writing for the CourtJ. B. Johnson, Harlan
PartiesIsaac S. DICK (Now Ada Dick, Adm'x of Isaac S. Dick, Deceased), Appellant. v. INTERNATIONAL HARVESTER COMPANY et al., Appellees.
Decision Date24 January 1958

Page 514

310 S.W.2d 514
Isaac S. DICK (Now Ada Dick, Adm'x of Isaac S. Dick,
Deceased), Appellant.
v.
INTERNATIONAL HARVESTER COMPANY et al., Appellees.
Court of Appeals of Kentucky.
Jan. 24, 1958.
Rehearing Denied March 21, 1958.

Page 515

J. B. Johnson, Harlan, J. S. Golden, Pineville, for appellant.

James Sampson, Wm. A. Rice, Harlan, for appellees.

STANLEY, Commissioner.

Isaac S. Dick, an employee of the International Harvester Company, became disabled by silicosis and applied for workmen's compensation. After an appeal from a judgment confirming the denial of an award by the Compensation Board was filed, Dick died, and the case was revived by his administratrix.

The claim arose before the effective date of the amendment of KRS 342.005(2) by an Act of 1956 (Sec. 1, Ch. 77, Acts of 1956), which did away with a special acceptance of silicosis coverage. Before the amendment the statute contained the provision, 'and any employers and their employees may, with respect to the disease of silicosis caused by the inhalation of silica dust, in like manner voluntarily subject themselves thereto as to such disease.' The 'like manner' was 'by joint, voluntary application to the board in writing.' This was construed as being specially elective and that disability from silicosis was not compensable if the parties had not complied. Nolley v. Diamond Coal Co., 291 Ky. 849, 165 S.W.2d 841; Eastern Coal Corp. v. Morris, Ky., 287 S.W.2d 603. It is agreed in this case that there was no written application or notice of election filed with the Board.

We have a clear case of an industrial disability which apparently caused the death of a faithful employee. Isaac S. Dick had worked in the mines 29 years and had been an employee of the International Harvester Company for a period of five years until his disability compelled him to quit work. If his disability had occurred a short time later, when the statute had been amended, there would be no question of its compensability. Strictly measured, there was no compliance with the law in effect when the disability occurred. The question is presented whether there was such an election (1) by the workman by virtue of a statutory presumption, and (2) by the employer by virtue of the legal effect of its contract with the workman's union or by estoppel to deny its election.

We approach the decision under the influence of the remedial principle of workmen's compensation and the development and progress of legislation to accomplish its humane and beneficent purpose. This is coupled with the express mandate of the statute that the Act 'shall be liberally construed on questions of law.' KRS 342.004. Therefore, any doubt as to its scope and application with respect to disabilities or injuries where the facts have been found must be resolved in favor of the workman or his dependents. All presumptions will be indulged to accomplish that end. Consolidated Coal Company's Receiver v. Patrick, 254 Ky. 671, 72 S.W.2d 51; Adams v. Bryant, Ky., 274 S.W.2d 791.

For many years the statute required every workman to sign a register signifying his agreement or election to work under the Compensation Act. Experience revealed that often this was not done through neglect or, occasionally, through some deliberate omission or conduct on the part of the employer. More often difficulty of proving acceptance was encountered. So, progressive legislation has been enacted to protect a workman's rights in this regard. In 1948 the Act was amended to simplify the manner of acceptance by the employee. Then, in 1952 the statute was again amended to provide that in the event an employer had elected to operate under the Act, the employee by virtue of and as a part of his contract of hiring 'shall be deemed to have accepted all provisions of this chapter and shall be bound thereby' unless he shall have filed written notice with the employer to the contrary. Acts of 1952, Ch. 82, now

Page 516

KRS 342.395, 1953 edition. See Wells v. Jefferson County, Ky., 255 S.W.2d 462, sustaining the constitutionality of the amendment.

This workman, Isaac S. Dick, applied for benefits on January 8, 1956, which was four years after the law made his contract of hire an election of all the provisions of the act. There is no indication that he ever gave a notice to the contrary. At the time this man became disabled silicosis was not regarded as being an occupational disability within the general coverage of the Act, but, as shown above, it could be brought within the coverage in the same way in which the parties had previously brought themselves under the Act generally, namely, 'by joint voluntary application to the board.' KRS 342.005(2). The conclusion, therefore, is that Dick had by operation of the statute accepted the provision of the statute which declares disability by silicosis to be compensable.

We may add for clarification in cases arising after August 1, 1956, that when the 1956 Act...

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16 practice notes
  • Reliford v. Eastern Coal Corporation, No. 13284.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • November 10, 1958
    ...advanced for appellee's drastic shift in viewpoint is that the Supreme Court of Kentucky in Dick v. International Harvester Company, 310 S. W.2d 514, has changed the applicable law. It is said that under Vandenbark v. Owens-Illinois Glass Company, 311 U.S. 538, 61 S.Ct. 347, 85 L.Ed. 327, w......
  • Fann v. McGuffey
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (Kentucky)
    • June 27, 1975
    ...with labor unions and employers associations on a unit and even industrywide basis. Dick v. International Harvester Company, Ky., 310 S.W.2d 514 (1958). While the rights involved are the same, the antecedent contractual nature of the relationship between tortfeasor and victim and the bargai......
  • Gateway Const. Co. v. Wallbaum
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (Kentucky)
    • February 9, 1962
    ...is one of law on which the employee is entitled to a liberal construction. KRS 342.004; Dick v. International Harvester Company, Ky., 310 S.W.2d 514. However, it is neither the Page 249 duty nor the prerogative of the judiciary to breathe into the statute that which the Legislature has not ......
  • Oaks v. Beth-Elkhorn Corp., BETH-ELKHORN
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (Kentucky)
    • March 7, 1969
    ...of the body functional disability as found by the Board appointed physician.' He refers ujs to Dick v. International Harvester Co., Ky., 310 S.W.2d 514 (1958), in which we 'We approach the decision under the influence of the remedial principle of workmen's compensation and the development a......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
16 cases
  • Reliford v. Eastern Coal Corporation, No. 13284.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • November 10, 1958
    ...advanced for appellee's drastic shift in viewpoint is that the Supreme Court of Kentucky in Dick v. International Harvester Company, 310 S. W.2d 514, has changed the applicable law. It is said that under Vandenbark v. Owens-Illinois Glass Company, 311 U.S. 538, 61 S.Ct. 347, 85 L.Ed. 327, w......
  • Fann v. McGuffey
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (Kentucky)
    • June 27, 1975
    ...with labor unions and employers associations on a unit and even industrywide basis. Dick v. International Harvester Company, Ky., 310 S.W.2d 514 (1958). While the rights involved are the same, the antecedent contractual nature of the relationship between tortfeasor and victim and the bargai......
  • Gateway Const. Co. v. Wallbaum
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (Kentucky)
    • February 9, 1962
    ...is one of law on which the employee is entitled to a liberal construction. KRS 342.004; Dick v. International Harvester Company, Ky., 310 S.W.2d 514. However, it is neither the Page 249 duty nor the prerogative of the judiciary to breathe into the statute that which the Legislature has not ......
  • Oaks v. Beth-Elkhorn Corp., BETH-ELKHORN
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (Kentucky)
    • March 7, 1969
    ...of the body functional disability as found by the Board appointed physician.' He refers ujs to Dick v. International Harvester Co., Ky., 310 S.W.2d 514 (1958), in which we 'We approach the decision under the influence of the remedial principle of workmen's compensation and the development a......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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