Williams v. Magma Copper Co.

CourtCourt of Appeals of Arizona
Citation5 Ariz.App. 236,425 P.2d 138
Docket NumberCA-CIV,No. 2,2
PartiesVernon WILLIAMS, Appellant, v. MAGMA COPPER COMPANY, Appellee. 337.
Decision Date15 March 1967

William Messing, Tucson, for appellant.

Twitty, Sievwright & Mills, by John F. Mills, Phoenix, for appellee.

MOLLOY, Judge.

This is an appeal from a summary judgment against the plaintiff in a personal injury action brought under the provisions of Arizona's Employers' Liability Law, A.R.S. § 23--801 et seq. The plaintiff was a 'chute-tapper' in defendant's San Manuel mine when he was seriously hurt in an explosion. There is no question but what the plaintiff was engaged in a hazardous occupation as defined in A.R.S. § 23--803 so as to be covered by the Employers' Liability Law. Neither is there any question but what the defendant-employer was a 'self-rater' under the Workmen's Compensation Act, A.R.S. § 23--961(A)(3), and that there is coverage under this act.

The only question raised on appeal is whether under our constitutional and statutory law the plaintiff is precluded from bringing this action under the Employers' Liability Law by reason of the coverage of the Workmen's Compensation Act.

The appellant argues that because the Workmen's Compensation Act specifically states that it '* * * shall not be construed as having repealed the sections of the statutes commonly known as the employers' liability law', A.R.S. § 23--1030, the appellant-workman may elect to sue under this latter act, even though he did not reject workmen's compensation prior to injury. If this is not so, and if it be the intent of the Workmen's Compensation Act to provide a mandatory alternative to the Employers' Liability Law, the appellant argues that such would be a violation of Section 7, Article 18, Arizona Constitution, A.R.S. 1

The appellant's contentions have been determined adversely to him, impliedly, in Alabam's Freight Co. v. Hunt, 29 Ariz. 419, 242 P. 658 (1926), and, directly, in Corral v. Ocean Acc. & Guar. Corp., Ltd., 42 Ariz. 213, 23 P.2d 934 (1933). We see no cause to depart from these decisions. That rights under the Workmen's Compensation Act are intended to afford the exclusive remedy against the employer, when (1) there is coverage, (2) there has been no rejection of compensation prior to injury, and (3) there has been full compliance with the act by the employer in the way of posting notices, et cetera, is clearly indicated by the following language in the Workmen's Compensation Act:

' § 23--906.

'A. Employers who comply with the provisions of § 23--961 as to securing compensation shall not be liable for damages at common law Or by statute * * *' (Emphasis added)

' § 23--1022.

'A. The right to recover compensation pursuant to the provisions of this chapter for injuries sustained by an employee shall be the Exclusive remedy against the employer * * *' (Emphasis added.)

A brief review of the history of the pertinent acts and constitutional provisions will bring this legislative intent into focus.

The original 'Compulsory Compensation' law adopted in this state covered Only employment declared and determined to be '* * * especially dangerous * * *' § 3164, Revised Statutes of Arizona, 1913. Such employment was given a statutory definition, § 3165, Revised Statutes, 1913, which was the same as the 'hazardous occupations' covered by the Employers' Liability Law, as defined in § 3156 of the Revised Statutes of 1913.

In Consolidated Arizona Smelting Company v. Ujack, 15 Ariz. 382, 383, 139 P. 465 (1914), it was held that the election provisions contained within the act, as between Workmen's Compensation and Employers' Liability, could be exercised by the employee After injury, despite certain language in the act seemingly designed to accomplish a contrary result, because to construe the act otherwise would be a violation of the employee's 'optional' rights as contained within Article 18, Section 8, of our Constitution.

Subsequently, our legislature adopted a new workmen's compensation act (Chapter 103, Laws of 1921), so as to broaden the coverage of the act and to make it clear that the legislature intended, in the case of 'hazardous occupations' Only, Section 60, Chapter 103, Laws of 1921, that a failure to reject prior to injury would constitute a conclusive election to accept workmen's compensation. Hazardous occupations were again given a statutory definition substantially the same as occupations covered by the Employers' Liability Law (compare Section 46(6) of Chapter 103, Laws of 1921, to Section 3156, Revised Statutes, 1913).

In Industrial Commission of Arizona v. Crisman, 22 Ariz. 579, 199 P. 390 (1921), the 1921 Act was struck down as being a violation of Article 18, Section 8, Arizona Constitution, because of the provision providing for an election by failure to reject prior to injury as to those in hazardous occupations. It is clear from a reading of the Crisman decision that our Supreme Court considered that one of the primary motives of our legislature in adopting the 1921 Act was to provide a mandatory alternative (if there was no rejection of the act prior to injury) to the Employers' Liability Law. (See principal opinion by Ross, C.J., 22 Ariz. 579, 582, 199 P. 390, 392; the concurring opinion of Baker, J., 22 Ariz. 584, 199 P. 392; and concurring opinion of McAlister, J., 22 Ariz. 586, 594, 199 P. 392, 396.)

In 1925, Article 18, Section 8 of the Arizona Constitution was amended specifically for the purpose of validating the 1925 Workmen's Compensation Act, Chapter 83, Laws of 1925, which the legislature had adopted...

To continue reading

Request your trial
11 cases
  • Begay v. Kerr-McGee Corp., KERR-M
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • June 11, 1982
    ...remedy against the employer, Rios v. Indus. Comm'n, 120 Ariz. 374, 377, 586 P.2d 219, 222-23 (1978); Williams v. Magma Copper Co., 5 Ariz.App. 236, 425 P.2d 138, 139 (1967); Ariz.Rev.Stat. § 23-1022(A) (Supp.1981), as granting exclusive jurisdiction to the Arizona Industrial Commission, Rio......
  • Russell v. State, 48198
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • March 31, 1975
    ...A.L.R. 798 (8th Cir. 1937); Pressley v. Industrial Comm'n., 73 Ariz. 22, 30, 236 P.2d 1011, 1017 (1951); Williams v. Magma Copper Co., 5 Ariz.App. 236, 238, 425 P.2d 138, 140 (1967); People v. Adamson, 27 Cal.2d 478, 165 P.2d 3 (1946) (opinion by Justice Traynor); Wilson v. Crews, 160 Fla. ......
  • Franks v. U.S. Fidelity & Guar. Co., 1
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Arizona
    • December 19, 1985
    ...The exclusive remedy provisions apply only when the injury is covered by the Workers' Compensation Act. Williams v. Magma Copper Co., 5 Ariz.App. 236, 425 P.2d 138 (1967). Franks advocates that when a workers' compensation insurer acts in bad faith in settlement or payment of compensation b......
  • Delbridge v. Salt River Project Agr. Imp. and Power Dist., 1
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Arizona
    • November 8, 1994
    ...P.2d 595, 600 (1985); Citizen's Util., Inc. v. Livingston, 21 Ariz.App. 48, 51, 515 P.2d 345, 348 (1973); Williams v. Magma Copper Co., 5 Ariz.App. 236, 237, 425 P.2d 138, 139 (1967). The grant of immunity supersedes the employee's right to pursue an employer in a civil tort action if the e......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT