Mor, Inc. v. Haverlock

Decision Date30 June 1977
Docket NumberNo. 4790,4790
Citation566 P.2d 219
PartiesMOR, INC., Appellant (Employer below), v. Nicholas HAVERLOCK, Jr., Appellee (Employee-claimant below).
CourtWyoming Supreme Court

Robert A. Burgess of Winter & Burgess, Casper, for appellant.

David G. Lewis of Brown, Drew, Apostolos, Massey & Sullivan, Casper, for appellee.

V. Frank Mendicino, Atty. Gen., and Lawrence A. Bobbitt, III, Asst. Atty. Gen., Cheyenne, filed a brief of amicus curiae on behalf of the Worker's Compensation Div.


ROSE, Justice.

This is an appeal in a worker's compensation case, wherein the appellee, Nicholas Haverlock, Jr., was disabled after suffering a coronary condition or myocardial infarction while in the employ of the appellant, Mor, Inc. The district court awarded compensation on favorable findings, pursuant to § 27-361(b), W.S.1957, C.1967, 1975 Cum.Supp. The appellant-employer contends that the findings of the trial court are not supported by a preponderance of the evidence. We will affirm the order of the trial court.

Appellee was a forty-nine-year-old man who had been employed by the appellant as a hod carrier for approximately eleven years. On May 25, 1976, appellee began work on a project which involved the construction of a furnace for Great Lakes Carbon Company, east of Casper, Wyoming. The furnace consisted of six levels or hearths, with the first level being some fifteen feet above the ground and the top level being some twenty-five feet above the ground. The appellee's duties consisted of mixing various grades of cement and carrying it or hoisting it to the masons. Prior to June 21, 1976, appellee mixed almost all of the cement for the project, but had at least four employees of the Great Lakes Carbon Company assigned to him to help carry the cement to the masons. The Great Lakes' employees also had a truck hoist which was used to lift firebrick and cement to the various levels of the furnace. During the project, between fifty and sixty buckets of cement were hoisted or hand-carried to the masons each day.

On the morning of June 21, 1976, Haverlock was in apparent good health prior to his arrival at 7 a. m. at work. This day was to be the last day on the project and his helpers were, therefore, not on the job. Because of this, the appellee was called upon to mix all the cement and carry it by himself up to the various levels. He had no helpers, as was normally the case, and the hoist was not used. Mr. Haverlock testified that he was not accustomed to doing this much lifting and carrying of the cement buckets. During the day, which ended about 4 p. m., appellee made eight or nine trips to each of the various levels of the furnace carrying each time two fifty-pound buckets of cement. By the time for coffee break, about 10 a. m., appellee began to feel nauseous and experienced pain which radiated from his stomach to his neck and arms. He became sweaty and experienced chills. Appellee complained that he felt like a "Mack truck had run over me," but apparently continued working until the job was finished. After arriving home, appellee experienced further discomfort, and the next morning consulted his family physician, Dr. Krause, who told him that he had experienced a heart attack the previous day. Appellee subsequently was hospitalized and eventually underwent by-pass heart surgery.

At trial, Dr. Krause testified that, based upon the history related by appellee, the stress of this job was the chief cause of appellee's heart attack although there could have been other contributing factors. On cross-examination, Dr. Krause again stated that job-related stress was the major factor in appellee's heart attack. The doctor further testified that the onset of the myocardial infarction an occlusion of the blood vessels of the muscles to one area of the heart would have commenced almost simultaneously with the pain and the symptoms experienced by appellee on June 21, 1976, and would have continued thereafter.

After taking the case under advisement, the trial court made the following pertinent findings:

"1. That the above-named Employee-claimant suffered a coronary condition or myocardial infarction while in the employ of the Employer herein on June 21, 1976.

"2. That said myocardial infarction was the direct causal result of work performed by Employee-claimant for the Employer on that date brought on by causative exertion occurring during the actual period of employment by stress clearly unusual to, or abnormal for, the individual employee in that particular employment, and that the acute symptoms of the cardiac condition were clearly manifested thirty (30) minutes after the causative exertion."

On the basis of these findings, the court awarded judgment to appellee for all present and future medical costs, and decreed that appellee should receive temporary, total disability payments until released to return to work.

This is the first opportunity we have had to discuss the cardiac-condition provisions, originally enacted as part of the Occupational Disease Law, Session Laws of Wyoming, 1969, ch. 200, § 15 (repealed Session Laws of Wyoming, 1975, ch. 149, § 4)...

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    • United States
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    ...start with, we were, in Schwilke, merely reiterating the same concept as that which we had previously recognized in Mor, Inc. v. Haverlock, Wyo., 566 P.2d 219, 222 (1977), when we "It should be emphasized, however, that the exertion in question must only be unusual to the employee--it need ......
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