Goodwin v. Fairbanks Morse & Co., No. 279

Docket NºNo. 279
Citation184 A.2d 220, 123 Vt. 161
Case DateSeptember 04, 1962
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Vermont

Page 220

184 A.2d 220
123 Vt. 161
Dean H. GOODWIN
v.
FAIRBANKS MORSE & COMPANY and Zurich Insurance Company.
No. 279.
Supreme Court of Vermont.
Sept. 4, 1962.

[123 Vt. 162] John A. Swainbank, St. Johnsbury, for plaintiff.

Downs & Rachlin, St. Johnsbury, for defendant.

Page 221

Before [123 Vt. 161] HULBURD, C. J., and HOLDEN, SHANGRAW, BARNEY and SMITH, JJ.

[123 Vt. 162] SHANGRAW, Justice.

This is an appeal direct to this Court, under the provisions of 21 V.S.A. § 672, from an award made to the claimant by the Commissioner of Industrial Relations.

The question which has been certified to this Court for review reads:

'Did the claimant suffer a new injury by accident arising out of and in the course of his employment entitling him to benefits under the Workmen's Compensation Law.'

In appeals of this character we do not sit as a fact-finding body. Our jurisdiction under 21 V.S.A. § 672 is limited to a review of such law questions as the Commissioner has certified up to us. McKane v. Capital Hill Quarry Co., 100 Vt. 45, 46, 134 A. 640. Morrisseau v. Legac (J. Cole Steel Construction Company), 123 Vt. 70, 181 A.2d 53.

The claimant had been employed since 1950 by the defendant Fairbanks, Morse & Company, in its foundry at St. Johnsbury, Vermont. His employment involved heavy lifting. While at work in 1956 he noticed a sharp pain in his back which proved to be a ruptured disc. However, while under a doctor's care he continued to work until May 17, 1957.

Mr. Goodwin was operated on by Dr. Robert G. Fisher at the Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital in Hanover, N. H. in May, 1957, and later in August of the same year, at which time a ruptured disc in his lower back at the fifth interspace on the left was removed. The fourth lumbar interspace was explored at the time and no abnormality was found in the disc, nor was there any evidence of nerve pressure.

The claimant was later examined by Dr. Fisher on December 9, 1957 and on February 3, 1958. He was found to have recovered satisfactorily and told that he might resume light work on March 1, 1958. The claimant continued at light work for about three weeks after which he was employed at 'side floor moulding.' This was hard work and necessitated standing on his feet and reaching over to lift castings out of the mold. An examination of the claimant was again made on September 15, 1958 by Dr. Fisher and his general condition was found to be quite satisfactory.

[123 Vt. 163] Despite the fact that claimant continued to have pain in his back and legs he settled his claim for the 1956 injury with the American Motorists Insurance Company, the then insurance carrier, which settlement was approved by the Commissioner on December 8, 1958.

In July 1960 the degree of pain increased, especially in his leg, and progressed to the point where claimant had to stop work about November 7, 1960. He did not return to his employment until August 8, 1961.

On November 13, 1960 claimant returned to the Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital and it was determined that he had a new injury at L 4 and complications at L 5. The disc at the fourth interspace was protruded. On November 18, 1960 an operation was performed by Dr. Fisher and Dr. Robert C. Shoemaker. The protruded intervertebral discs at the fourth and fifth interspaces on the left side were removed and Dr. Shoemaker did a bone graft from L 5 to S 1.

The claimant predicates his claim on a new injury which became apparent during 1960. The defendant, Zurich Insurance Company, is the insurance carrier for the period involved here. The defendants deny liability on the ground that the claimant has failed to show that this new injury arose out of and in the course of his employment by Fairbanks, Morse & Company.

The defendants urge that there is no evidentiary support, as a matter of law, for certain portions of the following findings

Page 222

made by the Commissioner, as relating to the new injury.

'11. I find that, although he had recovered to the point of an end result in his healing process at the time he executed the Final Report and Receipt for 15% permanent partial disability in 1958, he still was predisposed to vertebral trouble and that the extra heavy work tended to aggravate his weakness and sometime in 1960 cause the new injury to the disc at the fourth interspace again disabling him. This constituted a new injury arising out of and in the course of his employment and is compensable.

'12. He had...

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11 practice notes
  • EST. OF GEORGE v. LEAGUE OF CITIES & TOWNS, No. 08-374.
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • January 15, 2010
    ...in the affirmative, and that he was therefore entitled to workers' compensation benefits. See, e.g., Goodwin v. Fairbanks Morse & Co., 123 Vt. 161, 166, 184 A.2d 220, 223 (1962) ("The burden is on the claimant to establish the facts essential to the right ¶ 11. In evaluating this c......
  • Lyons v. Chittenden Cent. Supervisory Union, No. 16–036
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • March 16, 2018
    ...the employment relationship with CCSU rested with claimant; it was not on CCSU to disprove one. See Goodwin v. Fairbanks, Morse & Co., 123 Vt. 161, 166, 184 A.2d 220, 223 (1962) ("That the findings of the commissioner are binding on this Court if sufficiently supported by evidence ......
  • Lyons v. Chittenden Cent. Supervisory Union, No. 2016-036
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • March 16, 2018
    ...the employment relationship with CCSU rested with claimant; it was not on CCSU to disprove one. See Goodwin v. Fairbanks, Morse & Co., 123 Vt. 161, 166, 184 A.2d 220, 223 (1962) ("That the findings of the Commissioner are binding on this Court if sufficiently supported by evidence ......
  • Clodgo v. Rentavision, Inc., No. 96-211
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • July 11, 1997
    ...This Court's review is limited to questions of law the Commissioner has certified. 21 V.S.A. § 672; Goodwin v. Fairbanks, Morse & Co., 123 Vt. 161, 162, 184 A.2d 220, 221 (1962). Although the Court defers to the Commissioner's interpretation of Vermont's Workers' Compensation Act, we wi......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
11 cases
  • EST. OF GEORGE v. LEAGUE OF CITIES & TOWNS, No. 08-374.
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • January 15, 2010
    ...in the affirmative, and that he was therefore entitled to workers' compensation benefits. See, e.g., Goodwin v. Fairbanks Morse & Co., 123 Vt. 161, 166, 184 A.2d 220, 223 (1962) ("The burden is on the claimant to establish the facts essential to the right ¶ 11. In evaluating this c......
  • Lyons v. Chittenden Cent. Supervisory Union, No. 16–036
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • March 16, 2018
    ...the employment relationship with CCSU rested with claimant; it was not on CCSU to disprove one. See Goodwin v. Fairbanks, Morse & Co., 123 Vt. 161, 166, 184 A.2d 220, 223 (1962) ("That the findings of the commissioner are binding on this Court if sufficiently supported by evidence ......
  • Lyons v. Chittenden Cent. Supervisory Union, No. 2016-036
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • March 16, 2018
    ...the employment relationship with CCSU rested with claimant; it was not on CCSU to disprove one. See Goodwin v. Fairbanks, Morse & Co., 123 Vt. 161, 166, 184 A.2d 220, 223 (1962) ("That the findings of the Commissioner are binding on this Court if sufficiently supported by evidence ......
  • Clodgo v. Rentavision, Inc., No. 96-211
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • July 11, 1997
    ...This Court's review is limited to questions of law the Commissioner has certified. 21 V.S.A. § 672; Goodwin v. Fairbanks, Morse & Co., 123 Vt. 161, 162, 184 A.2d 220, 221 (1962). Although the Court defers to the Commissioner's interpretation of Vermont's Workers' Compensation Act, we wi......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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