Tierney v. Tierney & Co.

CourtSupreme Court of Minnesota (US)
Citation176 Minn. 464,223 N.W. 773
Docket NumberNo. 27189.,27189.
PartiesTIERNEY v. TIERNEY & CO. et al.
Decision Date21 February 1929

Proceeding under the Workmen's Compensation Act by Ann F. Tierney, administratrix, claimant, opposed by Tierney & Co., employer, and the Fidelity & Casualty Company of New York, insurer. Order of Industrial Commission disallowing the claim, and claimant brings certiorari. Affirmed.

O'Brien, Horn & Stringer, of St. Paul, for claimant.

Briggs, Weyl & Briggs, of St. Paul, for respondent.


Thomas Tierney sustained an accidental injury which resulted in the total loss of one eye, and was entitled to receive as compensation therefor $20 per week for a period of 100 weeks. He received this allowance until his death 13 weeks later. His death did not result from the injury but from an entirely different cause. He left surviving him his wife, Ann Tierney, who was wholly dependent upon him, and is his sole heir, and was appointed special administratrix of his estate. She presented a petition in the three capacities, asking that she be awarded the compensation of $20 per week for the remaining 87 weeks to which her husband would have been entitled if he had lived. The Industrial Commission disallowed the claim, and a writ of certiorari brings the matter before this court.

Although the rights and obligations created by the Compensation Law are of a contractual nature, in the sense that the law is not compulsory and applies only where both parties see fit to come under it, yet the rights granted and the obligations imposed rest upon the statute, and are limited to those granted or imposed by it.

The statute creates two distinct rights — one for the benefit of the workman; the other for the benefit of his dependents. To the workman it gives compensation for disability caused by injuries sustained while in the performance of his duties. This is intended as compensation to him for loss of earnings. To his dependents it gives compensation for his death if caused by the injury. This is intended as compensation for loss of the support which they would have received from him if he had lived. Dependents are given no rights except where death results from the injury. State ex rel. v. District Court, 131 Minn. 96, 154 N. W. 661. As the death of Mr. Tierney did not result from the injury, it is conceded that the relator has no claim under the provision for dependents.

The question presented is whether the right of a workman to receive a specified amount weekly for a specified period as compensation for an injury terminates at his death, where he dies before the expiration of the period from causes other than the injury, or whether it survives for the benefit of either his estate or his dependents. The statute makes no specific provision for such a case, and the question has not previously been presented to this court. However, it has been before other courts frequently, and the cases in which it has been considered are collected in annotations found in 15 A. L. R. 821, 24 A. L. R. 441, 29 A. L. R. 1426, and 51 A. L. R. 1446.

The decisions are apparently conflicting, but the apparent conflict is due mainly to differences in the provisions of the various statutes. Those holding that the right survives are usually based on some special provision of a particular statute. The majority of courts hold that the compensation provided for by such statutes is for the benefit of the workman and his dependents as compensation for loss of wages, and is not intended for the benefit of heirs or creditors, and does not survive the...

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30 cases
  • Hancock v. Halliday, 7071
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • December 7, 1943
    ...... not bar an action for mal-practice. ( Smith v. Coleman , 116 P.2d 133 (Cal.); Smith v. Golden State. Hospital , 296 P. 127 (Cal.); Tierney v. Tierney , 223 N.W. 773; Mitchell v. Dillingham ,. 22 S.W.2d 971 (Tex.); Pedigo v. Croom , 37 S.W.2d. 1074 (Tex.). . . The. ......
  • Pederson v. Pederson
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Minnesota (US)
    • December 2, 1949
    ......The rights granted and the obligations imposed necessarily rest upon the statute and are limited as granted or imposed by it. Tierney v. Tierney & Co., 176 Minn. 464, 223 N.W. 773. Hence it follows that the employer's liability has for its foundation the existence of ......
  • Mahoney v. City of Payette, 7017
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • February 3, 1943
    ...... his administrator had a right to demand and collect. (Sec. 15-802, I. C. A.). . . ---------. . . Notes:. . . [1]Tierney v. Tierney & Co., 176 Minn. 464,. 223 N.W. 773; In re Burns, 218 Mass. 8, 105 N.E. 601;. Harrison v. Tierney Mining Co., 276 Ky. 637, 124 S.W.2d ......
  • Tennessee Coal & Iron Division, U.S. Steel Corp. v. Hubbert, 6 Div. 198
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • March 19, 1959
    ......'A contractual relationship existed under the law at the time of the husband's death between petitioner, the employer, and the insurer. Tierney v. Tierney & Co., 176 Minn. 464, 223 N.W. 773; Gen.St.1923 (1 Mason, 1927) § 4271. It was beyond the power of the Legislature to impair the ......
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