Manfredi v. United Aircraft Corp.

Decision Date29 May 1951
CourtConnecticut Supreme Court
PartiesMANFREDI v. UNITED AIRCRAFT CORP. et al. Supreme Court of Errors of Connecticut

Henry J. Goldberg and Jacob Schwolsky, Hartford, for appellant.

Edward S. Pomeranz, Hartford, William P. Aspell, Hartford, for appellees.


INGLIS, Judge.

The sole question upon this appeal is whether the conclusion of the compensation commissioner that any 'back condition' which the plaintiff may have is not due to an accidental injury which arose out of and in the course of her employment is so unreasonable that it cannot stand. Upon her motion to correct the finding, a transcript of the entire evidence taken before the commissioner in January, 1948, was filed in court. From that transcript it appears that the plaintiff was employed by the named defendant as a 'bench Dumore grinder' from 1942 on. In connection with that work she had to lift heavy pans of gears and take them to her bench. She first set the date of her claimed accident as in April, 1943, but later, when faced with the defendant's records, changed it to February 3, 1944. She testified that on that occasion, as she was picking up a pan of gears, she felt her back snap and had to drop the pan. She went directly to the defendant's clinic, where x-rays were taken and a padded belt was applied. That evening, upon the advice of a chiropractor whom she consulted, she removed the belt and did not wear it thereafter. She further testified that from then on she felt pain in her back, particularly during her menstrual periods. She claimed that in April, 1947, she again felt a snap in her back as she was lifting a pan of gears and that it was followed by pain. She did not report to the defendant's clinic, but on the same evening she consulted her own physician. He sent her to the Hartford Hospital, where she was under treatment for five weeks. She was unable to work from then until the date of the hearing.

Various excerpts from the medical records kept by the defendant in the ordinary course of business were, without objection, read into the evidence. The plaintiff now claims that this was hearsay evidence and, therefore, could not properly form the basis for any finding by the commissioner. It is true that, under the technical rules of evidence, the proper way to prove the contents of such records is to introduce the record itself rather than to ask a witness to read from it. A compensation commissioner, however, is not bound by rules of evidence 'but shall make inquiry in such manner, through oral testimony or written and printed records, as is best calculated to ascertain the substantial rights of the parties and carry out justly the spirit of' the law. General Statutes, § 7447; Nicotra v. Bigelow, Sanford Carpet Co., 122 Conn. 353, 360, 189 A. 603. Accordingly, the commissioner in this case not only was entitled to receive oral testimony as to the contents of the records but also was justified in predicating a finding of facts thereon. See General Statutes, § 7903; Borucki v. MacKenzie Bros. Co., 125 Conn. 92, 100, 3 A.2d 224; McCarthy v. Maxon, 134 Conn. 170, 173, 55 A.2d 912.

The following facts were found by the commissioner, and his findings were amply supported by the evidence. On February 3, 1944, the plaintiff reported to the defendant's medical department and complained of an aching and stiffness through the lumbar region. She spoke of no particular injury or sudden strain but said that the pulling of pans in her work caused her discomfort. X-rays were taken and showed a marked congenital anteroposterior lordosis at the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae. She was given a sacroiliac belt and went back to work.

She continued in the employ of the defendant until the middle of August, 1945. Although she visited the defendant's clinic on several occasions during that period, she made no reference to her back condition after April 4, 1944, when she stated that her back was not too troublesome....

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9 cases
  • National Broadcasting Co. v. Rose
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • November 30, 1965 to introduce the record itself rather than to receive oral testimony as to the contents of the records. Manfredi v. United Aircraft Corporation, 138 Conn. 23, 25, 81 A.2d 448; State v. Ferraiuolo, 145 Conn. 458, 464, 144 A.2d 41. In the fourth ruling the court sustained an objection to t......
  • State v. Masse
    • United States
    • Circuit Court of Connecticut. Connecticut Circuit Court, Appellate Division
    • September 11, 1962
    ...Bros. Co., supra; D'Amato v. Johnston, supra; Szela v. Johnson Motor Lines, Inc., 145 Conn. 714, 146 A.2d 910; Manfredi v. United Aircraft Corporation, 138 Conn. 23, 81 A.2d 448; McCarthy v. Maxon, 134 Conn. 170, 55 A.2d 912; State v. Ferraiuolo, 145 Conn. 458, 144 A.2d 41; Sheary v. Halloc......
  • Wheat v. Red Star Exp. Lines
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • March 14, 1968
    ...of the powers or duty of the administrative tribunal, or so unreasonable as to justify judicial interference. Manfredi v. United Aircraft Corporation, 138 Conn. 23, 26, 81 A.2d 448; Fiengo v. E. Vitale, Inc., 125 Conn. 559, 562, 7 A.2d 385.' Marschner v. American Hardware Corporation, 141 C......
  • Mulroy v. Becton Dickinson Co.
    • United States
    • Connecticut Court of Appeals
    • May 26, 1998
    ...indicated that the rules of evidence generally do not apply to workers' compensation hearings; see, e.g., Manfredi v. United Aircraft Corp., 138 Conn. 23, 25, 81 A.2d 448 (1951); therefore, it is within the commissioner's discretion to determine what testimony is relevant and The commission......
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