Glodenis v. American Brass Co.

Decision Date03 January 1934
Citation118 Conn. 29,170 A. 146
CourtConnecticut Supreme Court

Appeal from Superior Court, New Haven County; Allyn L. Brown, Judge.

Proceedings under the Workmen's Compensation Act by Frank Glodenis opposed by the American Brass Company. The acting commissioner awarded compensation, and an appeal to the superior court from his finding and award was sustained in part and dismissed in part, and the employer appeals.

No error.

Trial court cannot add facts to commissioner's finding in compensation case, except admitted or undisputed facts.

William J. Larkin, Jr., of Waterbury, for appellants.

Clayton L. Klein, of Waterbury, for appellee.

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

MALTBIE, Chief Justice.

This case was heard by the commissioner of the Second compensation district, acting for the commissioner of the Fifth compensation district, who held himself disqualified. The acting commissioner found that the plaintiff was permanently and totally incapacitated by reason of lead poisoning resulting from his employment by the defendant as a caster in its factory at Waterbury, and awarded him compensation. The defendant appealed to the superior court, assigning as reasons that the acting commissioner erred in refusing to consider himself disqualified, and in finding that the plaintiff was totally instead of partially incapacitated, that the amount of the plaintiff's average weekly earnings was as stated in the award, that the plaintiff was suffering from a compensable disease, that he had incurred lead poisoning while working for the defendant, and that he had filed a claim for compensation within the time allowed by statute. Later, after a motion seeking many changes in and additions to the finding had been denied by the commissioner, the plaintiff filed additional reasons of appeal based upon the denial of that motion; and in them it also claimed that the commissioner had refused to hear testimony as to certain matters necessary to a fair determination of the case, particularly as to air tests in the shop where the plaintiff was employed which it claimed would show the lead content of the air, and certain testimony which it claimed would show that in other shops of the defendant in places outside Waterbury there had been to known cases of lead poisoning except perhaps one; and it also reasserted the claim made in the original reasons of appeal that the commissioner had shown himself disqualified to hear the case and had erred in denying a motion for a rehearing before another commissioner.

The trial court, after hearing the appeal, filed a memorandum in which it carefully and in detail reviewed the various claims of the plaintiff, granted a number of paragraphs of the defendant's motion to correct, including one striking out the commissioner's finding as to the average weekly earnings of the plaintiff, and denied others, in particular that attacking the commissioner's finding that the plaintiff was suffering from lead poisoning; stated his conclusions that the commissioner had not shown himself disqualified to hear the case, that he had acted properly in refusing to hear the testimony as to the lack of cases of lead poisoning in shops of the defendant outside Waterbury, but that he should have heard the evidence as to the air tests in the shop where the plaintiff was employed; and held insufficient to uphold the award, in the absence of the facts upon which it was based, the general conclusion of the commissioner that the lead poisoning from which the plaintiff was suffering was acquired under such circumstances as to constitute a compensable injury which arose out of and in the course of his employment. The memorandum concluded with a statement; that the appeal was sustained and the case remanded to the commissioner who heard it, for further proceedings in accordance with the terms of the memorandum, citing McCulloch v. Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co., 107 Conn. 164, 171, 140 A. 114, wherein we held that, when the finding of a commissioner is rendered by correction insufficient to permit an intelligent and just decision of the case, it should be remanded for such further finding as will permit a proper determination of the rights of the parties.

The judgment followed in general the memorandum of decision; it corrected the finding to accord with it; it struck out the paragraph in which the commissioner stated his conclusion that the lead poisoning was acquired under such circumstances as to constitute a compensable injury which arose out of and in the course of the plaintiff's employment; and it remanded the case for an explicit finding of facts upon which the commissioner had based this conclusion, for the taking of further testimony necessary to determine the average weekly earnings of the plaintiff, for the hearing of the evidence as to the air tests in the factory where the plaintiff was employed, and for such further action and modification of the award, if any, " as the conclusions of the acting commissioner may require in the light of the evidence so heard by him" ; and it remanded the case to the acting commissioner who heard it. From this judgment the defendant has appealed. It has assigned as error the refusal of the trial court to correct the finding in every respect in which it did refuse to do so, the refusal to hold that the commissioner erred, in not hearing evidence as to the lack of cases of lead poisoning in other shops of the defendant outside Waterbury, the action of the trial court in remanding the case to the same commissioner who heard it, and its refusal to uphold the defendant's claim that the commissioner had disqualified himself; and it also assigned in various ways that the trial court erred in sustaining the conclusion of the commissioner that the plaintiff was suffering from lead poisoning, and that this lead poisoning was a compensable injury which arose out of and in the course of his employment by the defendant.

Fundamentally the position of the defendant upon this appeal is that, upon the evidence which was heard by the commissioner, the trial court ought to have made certain changes in and additions to the finding beyond those which it did make and which would establish that the plaintiff was not entitled to recover compensation, and that, upon the corrections made by it and by this court, judgment should be rendered sending the case back to the commissioner, with direction to dismiss the claim. Thompson v. Twiss, 90 Conn. 444, 446, 97 A. 328, L.R.A. 1916E, 506; Santos v. Publix Theaters Corporation, 108 Conn. 159, 142 A. 745. The maxim, " Interest reipublic ut sit finis litium," has an application to proceedings for workmen's compensation. Indeed, it is no doubt often true that the interests of a claimant are best served by a termination of the proceedings even though it be adverse to him. But we do not approach compensation proceedings in quite the same way we do ordinary court cases, and even though upon a case presented upon an appeal a claimant has failed to establish his right to compensation, if it appears reasonable to believe that upon a further hearing he may be able to do so, the court may remand the case for further proceedings rather than for a dismissal of the claim. Cormican v. McMahon, 102 Conn. 234, 238, 128 A. 709; Callahan v. Schollhorn Co., 106 Conn. 211, 215, 137 A. 642; Howe v. Watkins Brothers, 107 Conn. 640, 647, 142 A. 69. Where a finding has been so corrected as to destroy the basis of an award, whether a final decision of the case should be made upon the finding as corrected or further proceedings had presents a matter for the determination of the court in the exercise of a sound discretion.

In the present case we cannot upon the evidence hold that the trial court erred in refusing to strike from the finding the fact that the plaintiff was suffering from lead poisoning. As regards the question whether that lead poisoning constituted an occupational disease within the terms of the Compensation Law, which arose out of and in the course of the plaintiff's employment by the defendant, we cannot, upon the basis of the commissioner's finding as corrected by the trial court or as we might further correct it, hold it so clearly established that the plaintiff has no right to recover that we can say that the trial court erred in remanding the case for further proceedings. Neither the trial court nor this court could add facts to the finding except those brought before it by the appellant, and then only those which were admitted or undisputed, whereas the commissioner upon a rehearing may well find other facts not now claimed or which were proven merely by the weight of evidence. Upon the finding as it may ultimately be made by him, the situation presented may be very different from that of which we could take cognizance upon this appeal. The changes in the commissioner's finding made by the trial court were sufficient to justify the conclusion that the case should be remanded to the commissioner for further hearing, but no changes which could be made in it upon the appeal are such that the trial court was required, as matter of law, to remand the case, with direction to the commissioner to dismiss the claim.

The terms of the remand in this case do not mean that the...

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    • United States
    • North Carolina Supreme Court
    • July 12, 1979
    ...distinguishes it from the usual run of occupations and is in excess of that attending employment in general. Glodenis v. American Brass Co., 118 Conn. 29, 40, 170 A. 146, 150." In Ritter v. Hawkeye-Security Insurance Co., 178 Neb. 792, 795, 135 N.W.2d 470, 472 (1965) the Nebraska Supreme Co......
  • Coombe v. Penegor
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    • June 10, 1957
    ...of an accident is in no wise inconsistent with the use of the different test, borrowed from Connecticut (Glodenis v. American Brass Co., 118 Conn. 29, 170 A. 146, 150), whether 'the conditions of [plaintiff's] employment must result in a hazard which distinguishes it in character from the g......
  • Bowman v. Twin Falls Const. Co., Inc.
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    • June 21, 1978 one which originates exclusively from the particular kind of employment in which the employee is engaged. Glodenis v. American Brass Co., 118 Conn. 29, 40, 170 A. 146, 150 (1934). Finally, it is also well established that the requirement of " peculiarity" to a given occupation cannot be ......
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    ...contracted, but there must also be an increased risk of incurring the disease from that employment. See Glodenis v. American Brass Co., 118 Conn. 29, 40-41, 170 A. 146 (1934); Madeo v. I. Dibner & Bro., Inc., 121 664, 667, 186 A. 616 (1936); LeLenko v. Wilson H. Lee Co., 128 Conn. 499, 505,......
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