Johnson v. Gulfport Laundry & Cleaning Co., 42990

Decision Date13 April 1964
Docket NumberNo. 42990,42990
Citation249 Miss. 11,162 So.2d 859
CourtMississippi Supreme Court

Fountain D. Dawson, Greenville, Crisler, Crisler & Bowling, Jackson, for appellant.

Eaton, Cottrell, Galloway & Lang, Gulfport, for appellees.

KYLE, Presiding Justice:

This case is before us on appeal by Mrs. Sarah Johnson, claimant, from a judgment of the Circuit Court of Harrison County, Workmen's Compensation Commission reversing an order of the attorney-referee awarding compensation to the claimant for permanent total disability for an accidental injury alleged to have arisen out of and in the course of her employment as a billing clerk for the Gulfport Laundry & Cleaning Company.

The record shows that the appellant worked for the Gulfport Laundry & Cleaning Company for a period of approximately 2 1/2 years beginning July 1, 1957. No physical examination was required of the appellant when she began work for the laundry. The appellant was 42 years of age at that time. Her duties consisted of pricing laundry and dry cleaning tickets, including family laundry tickets, and laundry tickets for hotels, motels and other commercial establishments, and answering the telephone. She had received a high school education and was married in 1934. She had three children. She had been divorced from her husband and had worked in a garment factory for a period of several years prior to her employment by the Gulfport Laundry & Cleaning Company. She was hospitalized twice during the period of her employment by the Laundry Company for physical ailments not related to the disability for which compensation is now claimed. She left her employment with the Laundry Company voluntarily on December 24, 1959, and without giving notice to her employer that she was quitting her job. The claimant testified that the interruptions of the telephone caused her to be nervous and upset to the extent that she could not work. When she left the office on December 24, 1959, she told no one that she had suffered a disability or that she did not intend to return to work after the Christmas holidays.

The claimant filed her application for workmen's compensation benefits on Forms B-5 and B-11 (Revised and consolidated) on January 13, 1961. She stated in her application, under the heading 'Description of Accident and Cause of Injury' the following: 'Extreme nervous condition, due to overwork. In addition to billing work, had to answer telephone, posting bills, keeping record of bills and obtaining them from route salesmen.' In answer to the question as to 'medical treatment rendered and nature and extent of her disability,' she stated that she began going to see Dr. M. M. Snelling in February 1959 for a nervous condition and was treated up to December 1959, when she finally left her work due to an extreme nervous condition.

The Laundry & Cleaning Company and its insurance carrier, as defendants, filed their answer to the claimant's application on February 4, 1961, and in their answer the defendants denied that the claimant had suffered an accident or was injured on the job, or that she had any employment connected disability; and in their answer the defendants alleged that, if the claimant was suffering in any manner it was from a longtime illness, not accidental and having no relation to her employment.

Hearings were had before the attorney-referee, and at the conclusion of the hearings the attorney-referee found that, on and prior to December 24, 1959, the claimant sustained an accidental injury which arose out of and in the course and scope of her employment and was compensable, and that the employer had notice thereof within the period of time prescribed by law. The attorney-referee found that the claimant had suffered no loss of time until December 24, 1959; that the claimant had not reached maximum medical recovery from the accidental injury and was in need of further medical treatment. The attorney-referee therefore ordered that the Gulfport Laundry & Cleaning Company, employer, and its insurance carrier, pay to the claimant compensation beginning December 25, 1959, for permanent total disability at the rate of $32.85 per week, for a period not to exceed 450 weeks or the maximum of $12,500, whichever should be the lesser in amount, and that the employer and its insurance carrier pay all necessary medical expenses and hospital bills incurred or to be incurred as a result of the accidental injury, and that the defendants pay to the claimant penalties as provided by Section 13(e) of the Workmen's Compensation Act.

The employer and its insurance carrier filed a petition for review by the full Commission; and after reviewing the evidence and the findings of the attorney-referee the Commission, on June 14, 1961, rendered its decision and by a majority vote entered an order reversing the findings and the award of the attorney-referee and denying compensation benefits to the claimant.

The Commission found that the claimant was employed by the Gulfport Laundry & Cleaning Company in July 1957 and continued in said employment, performing substantially the same duties, until December 24, 1959; that so far as the record showed her work load was not increased and her work was most pleasant; that the claimant left her employment by the Laundry & Cleaning Company on December 24, 1959, without giving notice to the employer of any disability attributable to her work, and without giving notice of her intention not to return to work; and that the record was clear that the employer had no knowledge of the assertion of any claim by the claimant until a claim for compensation was filed on January 13, 1961. The Commission in its findings of fact stated: 'The evidence in the case does not reveal the occurrence of any incident, accident or traumatic experience, which did or could have caused or aggravated any physical disability to the claimant; nor does the testimony reflect that the claimant is now suffering from any physical disability attributable to or resulting from any injury arising our of or in the scope of her employment. In fact it would appear that the employment of the claimant in this cause was most uneventful; that she did her work in an orderly manner; that there was no pressure from the work; that the work load was not increased; and she apparently got along well with her employer and fellow employees.'

The Commission found that there was no testimony in the record which disclosed any untoward event, unusual occurrence, accident, injury or trauma; and it was the opinion of the majority members of the Commission that the evidence failed to disclose that the claimant sustained any accidental injury within the provisions of the Mississippi Workmen's Compensation Act, and that the evidence failed to disclose that the claimant was suffering from any disability compensable under the provisions of the Act.

On member of the Commission filed a dissenting opinion in which he stated that in his opinion the majority members of the Commission had totally disregarded the medical testimony, which in his opinion was sufficient to establish the appellant's claim that she was totally incapacitated from performing the duties of her employment, and that her disability was the result of the performance of her duties as an employee of the Gulfport Laundry & Cleaning Company.

From the decision and order of the Commission, the claimant prosecuted an appeal to the circuit court, and that court, on March 1, 1963, entered a judgment...

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15 cases
  • Barksdale Lumber Co. v. McAnally
    • United States
    • Arkansas Supreme Court
    • 7 November 1977
    ...force of Dr. Gary's testimony was a question for the commission. Smith v. Southern Builders, supra; Johnson v. Gulfport Laundry & Cleaning Co., 249 Miss. 11, 162 So.2d 859 (1964). The gist of the whole matter is succinctly stated by Prof. Larson thus at 3 Larson's Workmen's Compensation Law......
  • R.C. Petroleum, Inc. v. Hernandez
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • 10 January 1990
    ...168 So.2d 660 (1964). The probative value of any witness' testimony is for the fact-finder to determine. Johnson v. Gulfport Laundry & Cleaning Co., 249 Miss. 11, 162 So.2d 859 (1964); see, e.g., McManus v. Southern United Ice Co., 243 Miss. 576, 138 So.2d 899 (1962) (case in which Supreme ......
  • Smith and Sanders, Inc. v. Peery
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • 17 July 1985
    ...the causal connection with the accident must be shown by "clear evidence," and must not be remote. Citing Johnson v. Gulfport Laundry & Cleaning Co., 249 Miss. 11, 162 So.2d 859 (1964). In the Johnson case the claimant sought workmen's compensation benefits for a nervous condition alleged t......
  • Cairns v. City of East Orange
    • United States
    • New Jersey Superior Court — Appellate Division
    • 29 September 1993
    ...event, unusual occurrence, accident or injury incident to ... employment." Id. at 426 (quoting Johnson v. Gulfport Laundry Cleaning Co., 249 Miss. 11, 162 So.2d 859, 862 (1964)). In Smith, a civil engineer, surveyor and draftsman was informed of his layoff while at work and suffered an imme......
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