Hutsko v. Chrysler Corp., 4

Decision Date10 June 1968
Docket NumberNo. 4,4
Citation381 Mich. 99,158 N.W.2d 874
PartiesAndrew HUTSKO, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. CHRYSLER CORPORATION, Defendant and Appellee.
CourtMichigan Supreme Court

Rothe, Marston, Mazey, Sachs & O'Connell, Detroit, for plaintiff-appellant.

Lacey & Jones, Detroit, for defendant and appellee, by E. R. Whinham, Jr., Detroit.

Before the Entire Bench.

O'HARA, Justice.

This is an appeal on leave granted to review a decision of the Court of Appeals. The decision reversed the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board. There is no fact issue involved. The question presented is one of law. It is:

Where a claimant has lost the industrial use of his hand in his particular skill but retains a measure of general unskilled industrial use thereof, has he sustained the loss of the hand within the meaning of the specific loss schedule of the Workmen's Compensation Law? 1

Plaintiff was employed as a millwright by defendant company. His hand was caught in a fan he was repairing. As a result his little finger was amputated. He has restricted use of his middle and ring fingers, a consequential deformity of his index finger, but a normal thumb and palm. All of the medical testimony is in substantial agreement that he has lost the industrial use of the hand in his skill and retains some general industrial use. He is now retired. He has received and continues to receive wage loss disability payments while unemployed. His claim is for benefits within the schedule loss period while he was employed and receiving wages equal to those he received when working at his skilled trade before his injury.

Michigan has 2 types of workmen's compensation benefits, wage loss disability payments and specific or schedule loss payments. The first type is dependent upon proof of a wage loss resulting from an industrial injury. It is a differential payment computed on what wage the injured workman is able to earn after his injury and the wage he was earning at the time he was injured. If there is no difference he receives no benefits. The second type is a specific loss benefit paid under a schedule of losses applicable to certain designated organs or anatomical members. To this benefit the injured workman is entitled during the period provided in the schedule, irrespective of any wages he receives whether greater or less than those he received at the time of his injury. As to the second type we recently held: 2

'We point out that a specific loss award is not made as compensation for diminution of use of the involved organ or member. It was not awarded to compensate for loss of earnings or earning capacity. It is awarded irrespective of either fact or both.'

However, in order to qualify for the specific loss payment where there has not been the actual physical loss of the member as by amputation, there must be that total incapacitating loss of use which renders the organ or member industrially useless for any type of work skilled or unskilled. To hold otherwise we think would be a logical contradiction. Plaintiff's injury has not amounted to the actual physical loss tantamount to destruction or amputation contemplated by the specific loss schedule. The test is not the degree of loss measured by the requirements of the skill of the injured workmen. The test is the degree of loss as compared with the actual physical loss by destruction or amputation. We hardly need add that where the specific loss schedule makes an exception as in the case of an eye, the percentage of loss legislatively specified obtains.

Plaintiff-appellant relies generally on the theory that we have long recognized a distinction between skilled and unskilled labor in the field of workmen's compensation law. In particular he urges that Collins v. Albert A. Albrecht Co., 212 Mich. 147, 180 N.W. 480, is authority for his...

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31 cases
  • Haske v. Transport Leasing, Inc., Indiana
    • United States
    • Michigan Supreme Court
    • July 30, 1997
    ...of subsection 401[a] ). Before 1981, the Court developed a distinction between skilled and unskilled labor, see Hutsko v. Chrysler Corp., 381 Mich. 99, 103, 158 N.W.2d 874 (1968), 12 even though the statute did not provide for it. In Leitz v. Labadie Ice Co., 211 Mich. 565, 572, 179 N.W. 29......
  • Cain v. Waste Management, Inc.
    • United States
    • Michigan Supreme Court
    • May 3, 2005
    ...plaintiff's leg is essentially useless, his injury "equated with anatomical loss." The WCAC cited as authority Hutsko v. Chrysler Corp., 381 Mich. 99, 158 N.W.2d 874 (1968), and Tew v. Hillsdale Tool & Mfg. Co., 142 Mich.App. 29, 369 N.W.2d 254 (1985). Both are cases in which specific loss ......
  • Peck v. General Motors Corp.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan — District of US
    • January 21, 1988
    ...there was a loss of use in all reasonable employments within or without the field of skill. For example, in Hutsko v. Chrysler Corp., 381 Mich. 99, 158 N.W.2d 874 (1968), plaintiff argued that, since his injury to his hand had precluded him from continuing his skilled employment as a millwr......
  • Redfern v. Sparks-Withington Co., SPARKS-WITHINGTON
    • United States
    • Michigan Supreme Court
    • July 17, 1978
    ...in subsequent cases.10 See Miller v. Sullivan Milk Products, Inc., 385 Mich. 659, 666, 189 N.W.2d 304 (1971); Hutsko v. Chrysler Corp., 331 Mich. 99, 102, 158 N.W.2d 874 (1968).11 M.C.L. § 418.361; M.S.A. § 17.237(361); Miller v. Sullivan Milk Products, Inc., supra; Hutsko v. Chrysler Corp.......
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