Metall v. Aluminum Co. of America

Decision Date27 June 1966
CourtConnecticut Supreme Court
PartiesMichael METALL (Mary Metall, Administratrix (ESTATE of Michael METALL), Substituted Plaintiff) v. ALUMINUM COMPANY OF AMERICA.

Helen F. Krause, Trumbull, for appellant (plaintiff).

William B. Rush, Bridgeport, with whom, on the brief, was Henry J. Lyons, Bridgeport, for appellee (defendant).

Before KING, C.J., and ALCORN, SHANNON, HOUSE, and RYAN, JJ.

SHANNON, Associate Justice.

This is an appeal from a judgment of the Superior Court, which sustained a decision of the workmen's compensation commissioner for the fourth congressional district, hereinafter called the commissioner, denying a motion to open an agreement of adjustment and stipulation of award. On September 6, 1956, Michael Metall, an employee of the Aluminum Company of America, hereinafter called the company, filed the motion to open. He died on July 20, 1957. The parties, the commissioner and the court below, however, in the record and the briefs, have referred to the decedent as the plaintiff, and we shall do the same. The plaintiff came to Bridgeport in 1940 and went to work for the company at its Fairfield plaint, first as a laborer and later as an assistant foreman. Prior thereto, he lived in Pennsylvania and had worked there, over a period of seventeen years, for two coal mining companies.

He was given a physical examination by the company doctor shortly after he commenced working. In 1945 he was x-rayed by the company doctor, whose diagnosis was that he was suffering from pneumoconiosis. The plaintiff continued working for the company in the capacity of assistant foreman. On the average of once a week or once every two weeks he cleaned out a sandpit. Otherwise, he supervised the unloading of box cars of sand in the company's yard.

Upon the termination of his employment with the company on January 14, 1953, the plaintiff filed a claim with the commissioner, alleging that he was totally disabled because of silicotuberculosis 'resulting from his work' with the company. The company denied the allegatioin.

After numerous hearings before the commissioner in 1953 and 1954, the plaintiff, acting with the advice of counsel, agreed to accept $1500 as a full and final settlement of all claims against the company. A stipulation embodying the terms of the agreement was executed by the parties. It was submitted to the commissioner, who, being fully aware of the plaintiff's difficulties in establishing a causal realtion between his condition of total disability and his work for the company, approved it on April 11, 1955. At the time of the commissioner's approval, the plaintiff's attorney submitted an affidavit wherein the plaintiff, under oath, stated that he had read the stipulation, understood it and, upon signing it, knew that he would have no further claim against the company.

On September 6, 1956, however, the plaintiff, then represented by new counsel, moved to open the award, made pursuant to the stipulation, for the purpose of producing new and further evidence to substantiate his claim of total disability due to occupational disease. He further alleged that he had been induced to sign the stipulation through fraud and mistake. More hearings were held at which all of the evidence then introduced had been available at the time of the original hearings but had not been offered. The commissioner dismissed the motion to open, finding that the additional evidence would not establish a casual relation between the disability of the plaintiff and his employment and that there was no evidence offered which necessitated a change in the award. The commissioner also found that the evidence offered fell far short of substantiating the claim that the plaintiff had been induced to sign the stipulation through fraud and mistake.

The plaintiff appealed to the Superior Court, which, after a thorough review of all the evidence and exhibits, rendered judgment dismissing the appeal. The plaintiff has appealed from that judgment and has made several assignments of error. The question dispositive of this appeal is whether or not the commissioner's decision denying an opening of the stipulation and award because the evidence did not establish a causal relation between the total disability of the plaintiff and his work for the company was erroneous.

To recover benefits under our Workmen's Compensation Act (General Statutes, c. 568), an employee has the burden of proving that the injury (...

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6 cases
  • Dombach v. Olkon Corp.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • June 6, 1972
    ...of that employment. Hills v. Servicemaster of Connecticut River Valley, Inc., 155 Conn. 214, 216, 230 A.2d 604; Metall v. Aluminum Co. of America, 154 Conn. 48, 51, 221 A.2d 260; Woodley v. Rossi, 152 Conn. 1, 4, 202 A.2d 136; Soucier v. Genovese, 151 Conn. 430, 432, 198 A.2d 698; Gordon v.......
  • Besade v. Interstate Sec. Services, 13689
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • August 8, 1989
    ...of the award, the defendants must demonstrate an abuse of discretion on the part of the commissioner. Metall v. Aluminum Co. of America, 154 Conn. 48, 53, 221 A.2d 260 (1966); Meadow v. Winchester Repeating Arms Co., 134 Conn. 269, 274, 57 A.2d 138 (1948). It is their burden to show that th......
  • Tutsky v. YMCA of Greenwich
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • August 11, 1992
    ...would produce evidence of such character and force that it would be likely to cause a different result." Metall v. Aluminum Co. of America, 154 Conn. 48, 53, 221 A.2d 260 (1966); accord Meadow v. Winchester Repeating Arms Co., 134 Conn. 269, 273-74, 57 A.2d 138 (1948); Olivieri v. Bridgepor......
  • Murchison v. Skinner Precision Industries, Inc.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • January 4, 1972
    ...Light & Power Co., 146 Conn. 505, 508, 152 A.2d 636; DiLauro v. Bassetti, 133 Conn. 642, 644, 53 A.2d 512.' Metall v. Aluminum Co. of America, 154 Conn. 48, 52, 221 A.2d 260, 262. On July 9, 1969, the defendants appealed from the commissioner's award. On November 4, 1969, the defendants fil......
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