People v. Taylor

Decision Date29 September 1908
Citation192 N.Y. 398,85 N.E. 759
CourtNew York Court of Appeals Court of Appeals


Appeal from Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department.

George H. Taylor was convicted in the Court of Special Sessions of New York City of violating Labor Law (Laws 1897, p. 477, c. 415) § 70, as amended by Laws 1903, p. 437, c. 184, forbidding the employment of a child between 14 and 16 unless a certain certificate shall have been theretofore filed in the employer's office. From a judgment of the Appellate Division (124 App. Div. 434,108 N. Y. Supp. 796), affirming such conviction, he appeals. Reversed, and defendant discharged.

The Kursheedt Manufacturing Company is a domestic corporation engaged in the manufacture of trimmings in the city of New York. The defendant at all times mentioned in the record was the treasurer of said company and the superintendent of its factory. Prior to March 25, 1907, a girl applied for employment to a person in charge of a department of the business of said company, on the fifth floor of its factory building, and stated that she was more than sixteen years of age, and she was thereupon employed. On said March 25th an assistant to the state factory inspector, after conversation with said girl, went to the office of the company on the first floor of said building, where she saw the defendant, and stated to him that she had found a girl employed in the factory who was under 16 years of age that had not theretofore filed a certificate with the corporation as required by the labor law. The defendant replied that he did not know that the statute had been violated, and the girl was immediately discharged. The defendant was thereupon arrested, and subsequently convicted, as stated. Prior to such interview with the defendant he had never seen said girl, and did not know that she was employed in the factory, or that she was under 16 years of age. He had nothing whatever to do personally with her employment. One Wheelwright, an employé of said corporation, had charge of directing what help should be employed. The court refused to allow the defendant to prove the instructions given to the foremen of the different departments of said factory, or as to what instructions had been given to the person in charge of the department on the fifth floor of the factory, where said girl was so employed, in regard to complying with the labor law.

George H. Taylor, Jr., for appellant.

William S. Jackson, Atty. Gen. (Timothy I. Dillon, of counsel), for the People.

CHASE, J. (after stating the facts as above).

Section 70 of the Labor Law (Laws 1897, p. 477, c. 415), as amended by chapter 184, p. 437, of the Laws of 1903, provides: ‘No child under the age of fourteen years shall be employed, permitted or suffered to work in or in connection with any factory in this state. No child between the ages of fourteen and sixteen years shall be so employed, permitted or suffered to work unless an employment certificate issued as provided in this article shall have been theretofore filed in the office of the employer at the place of employment of such child.’ It is provided by Pen. Code, § 384l, that ‘any person who violates or does not comply with: (1) The provisions of article 6 of the labor law relating to factories * * * is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be punished for a first offense by a fine of not less than twenty nor more than one hundred dollars. * * *’ Said section of the labor law is a police regulation, intended for the protection of the public health. A violation of its provisions is not malum in se, but malum prohibitum. Such a prohibitive statute should be strictly construed. People v. Werner, 174 N. Y. 132, 66 N. E. 667.

The defendant was not individually an employer of labor. He was an officer, agent, and employé of the corporation, and responsible to it for the conduct of its business, but, so far as appears, in no way beneficially interested therein. Such an officer, agent, and employé has such powers and performs such duties in the management of the property and affairs of the corporation as may be prescribed by the directors or in the by-laws of the corporation. Stock Corporation Law (Laws 1892, p. 1831, c. 688) § 27. We assume that the person who owns a factory is liable for a violation of said section of the labor law, if contrary to the provisions thereof a child is employed by such owner, either directly or through an officer, agent, or employé, and wholly without regard to whether the employment is an intentional and willful violation of the statute. The term ‘person’ includes a corporation. Statutory Construction Law (Laws 1892, p. 1487, c. 677) § 5. The owner, by or for whom the child is employed in violation of the statute, is liable, because such employment is prohibited. The question of intent is immaterial. People v. Werner, supra; People v. Kibler, 106 N. Y. 321, 12 N. E. 795. The person actually entering into the contract by which a child is employed contrary to the provisions of the said section of the labor law is liable therefor, although such person acts as the agent or employé of another, because his act is also contrary to such provision of the statute.

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    ... ... 280; Casperson v. Michaels, ... 142 Ky. 314, 134 S.W. 200; Darsam v. Kohlmann, 123 ... La. 164, 20 L.R.A. (N.S.) 881, 48 So. 781; People v ... Taylor, 192 N.Y. 398, 85 N.E. 759; Curtis & G. Co ... v. Pigg, 134 P. 1125; Norman v. Virginia-Pocahontas ... Coal Co., 68 W.Va. 405, 31 ... ...
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    • 2 Julio 2003
    ...clear statutory warnings to alert people as to prohibited conduct (see People v Phyfe, 136 NY 554, 558-559 [1893]; see also People v Taylor, 192 NY 398, 400 [1908]). By 1932, we equated vagueness with unconstitutionality (see People v Grogan, 260 NY 138, 145-149 [1932]) and in 1973 struck d......
  • People v. Glubo
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    • New York Supreme Court — Appellate Division
    • 21 Abril 1958
    ...Misc. 272, 275, 91 N.Y.S.2d 275, 278; cf. People v. Vetri, 309 N.Y. 401, 406, 412, 131 N.E.2d 568, 570, 574, supra; People v. Taylor, 192 N.Y. 398, 400, 85 N.E. 759, 760; People v. Werner, 174 N.Y. 132, 66 N.E. Construing section 421 'according to the fair import' of its terms and 'to promo......
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    ...401, 131 N.E.2d 568; Standard Chemicals & Metals Corp. v. Waugh Chemical Corp., 231 N.Y. 51, 131 N.E. 566, 14 A.L.R. 1054; People v. Taylor, 192 N.Y. 398, 85 N.E. 759; People v. Phyfe, 136 N.Y. 554, 32 N.E. 978, 19 L.R.A. 141; People v. Estreich, 272 App.Div. 698, 75 N.Y.S.2d 267; Bell v. B......
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