Page images
PDF
EPUB

In re Accidents.

Industrial Agriculture-Home-Employment Act of July 18, 1919, P.

L. 1045.

Accidents occurring in agriculture, while specifically excluded from the Workmen's Compensation Act, are within the provisions of the Act of July 18, 1919, P. L. 1045, relating to "industrial" accidents and the rehabilitation of physically handicapped persons. One injured in going to or returning from his place of employment to his home would not be an "industrial" accident.

OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL,

Harisburg, Pa.

February 17, 1920.

Honora Clifford B. Connelley,
Commissioner of Labor and Industry,

Harrisburg, Pa.

Sir:

This Department is in receipt of your communication of the 9th inst. asking to be advised as to the meaning and scope of the term “industrial accident," as used in the Act of July 18, 1919, P. L. 1045, providing for the rehabilitation of physically handicapped persons.

The general questions, as I understand from your communication, upon which you ask to be advised are as follows:

First. Whether accidents occurring in agriculture are to be deemed industrial accidents within the intent of the Act.

Second Whether an injury occurring to a person eroute from his home to the place of employment or vice versa is within the intent of the Act, the specific cases mentioned in your communication being

(a) A young man who lost a leg while attempting to board a train at his home town while on his way to work at a town a number of miles distant. The victim was a daily commuter to and from his work, but the circumstances of the accident did not entitle him to workmen's compensation benefits.

(b) A man who, after leaving his employment, on his way home, lost a leg by being run over by a train, off the premises of his employer, and under circumstanices not entitling him to workmen's compensation benefits.

Paragraph (c) of Section 1 of the said Act reads as follows:

“The term “physically handicapped person' or 'persons,' wherever used in this act, shall mean any resident or residents of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania whose capacity to earn a living is in any way destroyed or impaired through industrial accident occurring in the Commonwealth."

The Century Dictionary defines "industrial” as

“Pertaining to industry or its results; relating to or connected with productive industry or the manufacture of commodities." and "industry” as

"Productive labor; specificatiy, lator employed in manufacturing."

In the cases cited in Words and Phrases, Vol. 4, page 3570, it is said that

"The term 'industrial pursuit' is a very broad expression," and that acts permitting persons to associate themselves together in corporate bodies "for mining, manufacturing and other industrial pursuits” were held as embracing such pursuits as the express business, mercantile business, etc.

In re Accidents.

I am of the opinion that it would be giving too narrow a construction to the term "industrial accident" to hold that it does not include accidents occurring in agriculture. While the word “industrial” may be more commonly thought of as applying to manufacturing, yet as used in this Act, in view of the remedial purpose sought, it must be given a wide rather than a restricted and special meaning. Mention has been made that the Workmen's Compensation Laws do not apply to agriculture. Inasmuch, however, as that is by virtue of a specific act to that effect, it would strengthen the conclusion here reached that agriculture is within the terms of the Act here under consideration. We must presume that, if it had been the legislative intent to exclude accidents occurring in agriculture, such intendment would have been expressed. Only in consequence of an unmistakable intent should we withhold to those engaged in this great industry the benefits of this Act.

You are accordingly advised that accidents occurring in agriculture are within the purview of the Act.

By an "industrial accident,” as this term is used in this Act, is evidently contemplated an accident occurring to one in the work of, or connected with, his employment in some industry. The test is not whether it happened to one engaged in industrial pursuits, but whether it happened to him in the operation of the industry in which he was engaged, or in the line of his work therein or in his furtherance of its activities. A passenger on a railroad train injured in a wreck of the train would not commonly be spoken of as having sustained an "industrial accident," but a trainman employed on he train and injured in th wreck would be so spoken of. We must assume that the term as used the Act was intended to have the meaning and import of its ordinary usage and understanding. Modern industry is attended with many perils to its operatives, and the plain purpose of the Act is to extend the aid provided by it to those injured in industrial operations, but its relief does not apply to all injuries regardless of wherever or however received. In view of both the humane and economic purposes of this statute, it may well be that there is no such distinction in reason between an accident occurring to one in the work of the particular industry in which he is employed, and one occurring to him in any way, so as to allow the benefits of this law to apply to him in the one case and withhold it in the other, but, if so, the matter is one for legislative correction.

I am, therefore, of the opinion that the specific cases stated in your communication are not within the scope of the Act, and that as a general proposition an accident occurring to a person while going from his home to his place of work, or returning therefrom to his home, is not within its provisions. It may be that the special circumstances of some case might be such as to bring it within the provisions of the Act, and consequently no general rule can be safely laid down which will be applicable to every case, as each must be determined upon its own particular facts.

Very truly yours,

EMERSON COLLINS,

Deputy Attorney General.

James Reese & Sons Company v Sloan. Contracts -Lunatic-Decree of Court -Revocation -Assumpsit-Binding

Instructions.

Binding instructions in favor of the defendant were given in an action of assumpsit where the contracts were made during the period when the defendant, by a decree of a court of competent jurisdiction, was not only a lunatic without lucid intervals, but also while his estate was in the hands of a committee duly appointed. That decree fixed the status of the lunatic and that status continued until he was by proper proceedings restored to sanity. This was a final judg. ment of the Court and the effect of it was that defendant was conclusively presumed to be incompetent to enter into any such contracts as those involved, whereby his estate might be charged.

Motion for New Trial. County.

No. 734 July Term, 1918.

C. P. Allegheny

Stone, Wright & Chalfant, for plaintiff.
Watson & Freeman, for defendant.

Before BROWN. MACFARLANE and SWEARINGEN, JJ.

SWEARINGEN, J., December 31, 1919.-This action was brought May 4, 1918, by the plaintiff to recover from the defendant the amounts alleged to be due by him for certain labor, materials, etc., furnished by it to him upon several verbal contracts relating to the manufacture and testing of a new or improved value to be used in engines, for which a patent had been obtained These contracts were made during the months of April and October, 1912, and what the plaintiff was thereby obliged to do was done prior to January 1, 1913. There was a dispute at the trial about the terms of the contracts, and both parties gave evidence of their respective contentions. Then, on behalf of the defendasit, there was introduced the record of the Court of Common Pleas, No. 2, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, at No. 1096 October Term, 1909, In re Commonwealth, ex rel. George W. Sloan v John Sloan, wherein it was adjudged, on January 15, 1910, that John Sloan was a lunatic without lucid intervals and had been since about August 1, 1909; and that Court appointed the Fidelity Title & Trust Company a committee of th

person and estate of the lunatic. By the same record, it further appeared that, on December 11, 1917, upon petition filed and after testimony taken, it was adjudged that John Sloan had been restored to a sound state of mind, and thereupon the committee was discharged. There was no dispute that the defendant in this case is the same person as the John Sloan who was adjudged a lunatic in the case at No. 1096 October Term, 1909, to which reference has just been made.

At the close of the testimony and argument of counsel, the Court directed the jury to find a verdict in favor of the defendant, which was accordingly done. Thereupon this motion for a new trial was made by the plaintiff for the reason that “the Court erred in giving binding instructions in favor of the defendant."

After a review of this case, we are satisfied there was no mistake made in the instructions given to the jury at the trial. These contracts were made during the period when the defendant, by a decree of a Court of competent jurisdiction, was not only a lunatic without lucid intervals, but also while his estate was in the hands of a committee duly appointed. That decree fixed the status of the lunatic and that status continued until he was by proper proceedings restored to sanity. This was a final judgment of the Court and the effect of it was that John Sloan was conclusively

James Reese & Sons Company v Sloan.

presumed to be incompetent to enter into any such contracts as those involved in this suit, whereby his estate might be charged.

“The inquisition and decree, standing of record, was intended for notice to all the world of the incapacity of the particular party to contract. It is the judgment of the law to this effect, and as a consequence, his acts in regard to his property are absolutely void while the condition exists. He can make no contract that will bind or render it liable to take effect, either in his lifetime or after death, for the reason that the law has settled that the important element of a valid contract does not exist, amely, the capacity to contract. Imhoff v Witmers, Admr., 31 Pa., 243.

The foregoing is but one of a number of cases which settle the principle therein stated. We regard this authority as conclusive of this case, and therefore the motion must be refused:

[blocks in formation]

Nothing can be taken into account on demurrer but what appears in the declaration.

Sur Statutory Demurrer to Declaration. No. 1583 January Term, 1919. C. P. Allegheny County.

Miller & Nesbitt, for plaintiff.
William T. Tredway and J. M. Stoner & Sons, for defendant.

SHAFER, P. J., February 9, 1920.—The action is replevin for an automobile, and the plaintiff's allegation is that it was the owner of an automobile which, on a certain day, it leased or hired to one Charles L. Emmrich, a copy of the lease being annexed to the declaration, the lease providing for certain payments from time to time, and that at the expiration of the lease it should be returned to the plaintiff, and that upon the payment of a certain amount of rent it should become the property of Emmrich. It is further alleged that Emmrich died, and the automobile came into the possession of the South Side Trust Company, as his administrator, and that Emmrich had made default in paying the rent in such a way that under the terms of the lease, the plaintiff was entitled to take back the automobile into its possession, and that the defendant company has the same in its possession and refuses to deliver it. To this the defendant has demurred in its affidavit of defense, alleging that the lease in question amounts to a sale, or a conditional sale, and also that the South Side Trust Company has filed its account as administrator.

As the filing of the account does not appear in the declaration itself, no advantage can be taken of that by demurrer. The lealse seems to us to be in the ordinary form of bailment lease, which has been many times held to make a valid baitment and not a conditional sale. The demurrer contained in the affidavit of defense is therefore overruled.

In re Trust Company Taxation.

Foreign CompanyBuying and Selling Securities Within Pennsylvania

Branch Office--Acts of 1889 and 1907.

A foreign trust company, maintaining an office in Pennsylvania for the purpose of purchasing and selling securities is not required to file capital stock reports under the general taxing act of June 1, 1889, P. L. 420, and its amendments. The Act of June 13, 1907, P. L. 640, provides the exclusive system for the taxation of trust companies.

OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL,

Harrisburg, Pa.

March 5, 1920.

Honorable Charles A. Snyder,
Auditor General,

Harrisburg, Pa.
Sir:

This Department is in receipt of your letter of recent date, enclosing copy of a communication from Messrs. Murray, Prentice & Rowland, Attorneys at Law, in reference to the duty of The Equitable Trust Company of New York to file stock reports with the Auditor General.

I understand the facts to be:

That the Equitable Trust Company, a corporation of the State of New York maintains a branch office in Pennsylvania, for the purpose of purchasing and selling securities, and that it is what its name implies, a trust company. It contends that it is not required to file Capital Stock reports under the General Taxing Act of June 1, 1899, P. L. 420, and its amendments.

Section 20 of that Act, as last amended on July 15, 1919, P. L. 948, provides, inter alia:

"That hereafter, except in the case of banks, savings institutions, title insurance or trust companies, building and loan associations, and foreign insurance companies, it shall be the duty of the president, vice president, secretary, or treasurer of every corporation having capital stock and doing business in and liable to taxation within this Commonwealth,

to make annually, on or before the last day of February, for the calendar year next preceding, a report in writing to the Auditor General on a form or forms to be prescribed and furnished by him.”

Section 21 of the Act of 1889, as last amended by the Act of July 22, 1913, P. L. 903, imposes a tax of five mills upon “every corporation from which a report is required by the twentieth section hereof."

The Act of June 13, 1907, P. L. 640, provides for the making of reports by trust companies to the Auditor General, and the taxation of the shares of stock of such companies. This Act provides the exclusive system for the taxation of trust companies. Inasmuch as such companies have been specifically excluded from the General Taxing Act of 1889 and its amendments, and that Act applies only to the taxation of corporations from which a report is required, it is apparent, and I so advise you, that the Equitable Trust Company is not required to report usider that Act for the taxation of its capital stock, on the forms prescribed by the Auditor General.

Very truly yours,

WM. M. HARGEST,

Deputy Attorney General,

*

*

« PreviousContinue »