Drouin v. Chelsea Silk Co.

Decision Date06 November 1936
CourtConnecticut Supreme Court
PartiesDROUIN v. CHELSEA SILK CO. et al.

Appeal from Superior Court, New London County; Edward J. Quinlan Judge.

Proceeding under the Workmen's Compensation Act by Joseph Drouin claimant, for the death of an employee, opposed by the Chelsea Silk Company, employer, and others. From a judgment of the superior court sustaining the claimant's appeal from a finding and award of compensation commissioner in favor of the defendants and correcting the award, the defendants appeal.

Error and cause remanded with directions.

Conclusion drawn by compensation commissioner from subordinate facts could not be found erroneous in law by the superior court, unless there was no evidence from which commissioner could have reasonably reached conclusion complained of.

Frank E. Dully, of Hartford, for appellants.

Jacob Berman, of Hartford, for appellee.

Argued before MALTBIE, C.J., and HINMAN, BANKS, AVERY, and BROWN, JJ.

BROWN Judge.

In this appeal from the judgment of the superior court sustaining the plaintiff's appeal from the finding and award of the compensation commissioner for the second district, aside from claimed corrections of the finding, the only question is whether the trial court erred in reversing the commissioner's conclusion denying compensation to the claimant. Pertinent to this issue the finding contains these facts: The manufacturing plant of the Chelsea Silk Company, the defendant employer, is southerly of the tracks of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad Company, in Mystic, Conn., and the plaintiff's decedent resided on Allen street, terminating in a dead-end at the opposite side of the tracks. On October 5, 1934, the decedent, as an employee of the employer, finished his day's work, left the factory, and was crossing the tracks to go home, when he was struck by a train and killed. He had proceeded by a driveway from the factory entrance to a point directly opposite the westerly end of Allen street and thence across the tracks. This route was a short cut from the factory to his house, the longer route by a bridge over the railroad tracks and public highway being about five times as far. People living in the vicinity of Allen street and working in factories south of the railroad had been in the habit of crossing the tracks at the place where the decedent was killed. The further facts appear later in the opinion.

The errors assigned by the defendants relate to the court's overruling of the commissioner's conclusion hereinafter recited. The plaintiff, by a bill of exceptions, complains of the trial court's refusal to allow the corrections of the commissioner's finding asked for by his motion to correct it. Under the rules, to raise this question the plaintiff should have filed an assignment of errors (Practice Book, 1934, p. 82, §§ 264, 265; Atwood v. Connecticut Light & Power Co., 95 Conn. 669, 674, 112 A. 269); and not a bill of exceptions (Practice Book, § 364; Gans v. Olchin & Co., Inc., 109 Conn. 164, 169, 145 A. 751, 63 A.L.R. 428). Nevertheless, we have considered the claims made by the plaintiff in this connection. The trial court properly refused to make the corrections sought, for they were either sufficiently covered by the finding as made, immaterial, or predicated upon conflicting evidence.

The vital question determinative of this appeal, therefore, is whether, as held by the trial court, the facts found do not warrant the commissioner's conclusion that " the decedent at the time of his death was not in a place where he had any right to be in connection with his employment by consent of his employer either express or implied; that the hazard of crossing the railroad tracks was not annexed to his employment by consent, acquiescence or agreement of his employer; that, on the contrary, he was in the act of trespassing on railroad property contrary to warning by both the railroad company and by the Chelsea Silk Company, and that his death did not therefore arise out of and in the course of his employment."

This was a conclusion drawn by the commissioner from the subordinate facts, and the superior court could not find it to be erroneous in law, unless it was reached " as a result of an incorrect application of some rule or principle of law to subordinate facts, or because of an inference illogically drawn from subordinate facts," Palumbo v. Fuller Co., 99 Conn. 353, 357, 122 A. 63, 65; or as we have also expressed it, unless it was " found in violation of some rule or principle of the law, or is in conflict with the rules of logic and reason, or is contrary to, or inconsistent with, the subordinate facts," Hayward v. Plant, 98 Conn. 374, 379, 119 A. 341, 343; Hyde v. Mendel, 75 Conn. 140, 143, 52 A. 744; Kugel v. Angell, 74 Conn. 546, 550, 51 A. 533; or as we have more tersely said, unless there was not " evidence from which the court below [the commissioner here] could have reasonably reached the conclusions complained of," Maley v. Hugo, 87 Conn. 323, 324, 87 A. 734, 735. See, also, Bailey v. Mitchell, 113 Conn. 721, 725, 156 A. 856, and cases cited.

The conclusion did not violate any rule or principle of law, or the rules of logic or reason, nor is it contrary or inconsistent with the subordinate facts in the finding. Its vital element is that the hazard of crossing the tracks was not annexed to the decedent's employment by the consent, acquiescence, or agreement of his employer. With this established, it is patent that at the time of his death, the decedent was not where he had a right to be in connection with his employment, and that his death did not arise out of and in the course of his employment. The question of express consent is not involved, and it was neither claimed nor found.

Several subordinate facts, in addition to the existence of the way by bridge over the tracks earlier mentioned, logically...

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17 cases
  • Spatafore v. Yale University
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • December 3, 1996
    ...annexed to the employment by the employer's contemplating and acquiescing in the use thereof by the employee." Drouin v. Chelsea Silk Co., 122 Conn. 129, 133-34, 187 A. 904 (1936). Although the special hazard exception has been applied to a variety of obstacles, "it was never the intention ......
  • Wiley Mfg. Co. v. Wilson
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • January 29, 1976
    ...was not awarded are also instructive. See, e. g., Corcoran v. Fitzgerald, 239 Minn. 38, 58 N.W.2d 744 (1953) and Drouin v. Chelsea Silk Co., 122 Conn. 129, 187 A. 904 (1936). In Corcoran the employee fell while climbing a ten foot fence. He was attempting to save himself a walk to an open g......
  • Herbst v. Hat Corp.. Of America
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • March 19, 1943
    ...The test is, was the use of this route a risk annexed to the employment by the acquiescence of the employer? Drouin v. Chelsea Silk Co., 122 Conn. 129, 134, 187 A. 904; and see Matter of Marks' Dependents v. Gray, 251 N.Y. 90, 93, 167 N.E. 181. Since the plaintiff must prove both that the i......
  • Davis v. Goldie Motors, Inc.
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • July 1, 1942
    ...illogically drawn from subordinate facts." Palumbo v. George A. Fuller Co., 99 Conn. 353, 357, 122 A. 63, 65; Drouin v. Chelsea Silk Co., 122 Conn. 129, 131, 187 A. 904. "An injury to an employe is said to arise in the course of his employment when it occurs within the period of his employm......
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