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WEINBERG v. STATE WORKMEN'S INSURANCE FUND (06/27/51)

June 27, 1951

WEINBERG, APPELLANT,
v.
STATE WORKMEN'S INSURANCE FUND



Appeal, No. 26, May T., 1951, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, Jan. T., 1950, No. 566, in case of Bertram U. Weinberg et al., trading as Pocono Highland Camps v. State Workmen's Insurance Fund. Judgment reversed.

COUNSEL

Israel Packel, with him Paul Weinblatt, and Speiser, Satinsky, Gilliland and Packel, for appellants.

C. A. Whitehouse, Assistant Counsel, with him S. H. Torchia, Assistant Counsel, Ralph H. Behney, Counsel and Robert E. Woodside, Attorney General, for appellee.

Before Drew, C.j., Stern, Stearne, Jones, Bell, Ladner and Chidsey, JJ.

Author: Stern

[ 368 Pa. Page 77]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE HORACE STERN

This is a suit on a workmen's compensation policy of the State Workmen's Insurance Fund. In our opinion the learned court below misconceived the nature and extent of the obligation assumed by the Fund under that policy, and, as a result, erroneously sustained preliminary objections to plaintiffs' complaint and entered judgment for defendant.

[ 368 Pa. Page 78]

The State Workmen's Insurance Fund was created by the Act of June 2, 1915, P.L. 762. By section 3 of that Act it was provided that certain sums to be paid by employers should constitute a Fund for the purpose of insuring such employers against liability under article three of the Workmen's Compensation Act of 1915, and of assuring the payment of the compensation therein provided. Section 20 provided that any subscriber to the Fund, upon giving notice of an accident sustained by an employe in the course of his employment, should be discharged from all liability for the payment of compensation for the personal injury or death of such employe by such accident; and all such compensation due therefor, under article three of the Workmen's Compensation Act of 1915, should be paid out of the Fund. Section 21 provided that the Fund might be sued, in the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, to enforce any right given to any subscriber under the Act.

Plaintiffs subscribed to the Fund, paid the required premiums, and, in 1941, obtained from it its standard workmen's compensation policy, which was renewed from year to year.

Plaintiffs operated a summer camp for children in Monroe County. They engaged, in New Jersey, one Esther Gotkin as "camp mother", who, on July 12, 1944, in the course of her employment at the camp, slipped on the steps of the mess hall and was injured. On June 20, 1945 she filed a claim petition for compensation with the Bureau of Workmen's Compensation of the Department of Labor and Industry at Harrisburg, but allowed the claim to be dismissed on December 27, 1945 for want of prosecution.*fn* On March 4,

[ 368 Pa. Page 791946]

she filed a claim for compensation with the Workmen's Compensation Bureau of the New Jersey Department of Labor at Trenton; on that claim she received an award upon which she recovered judgment in the former Supreme Court of New Jersey, and on appeal to the present Supreme Court of that State the judgment was affirmed (2 N.J. 305). It may at this point be noted that a workman who enters into a contract of employment in a State in which a Workmen's Compensation Act is in force can recover compensation under the Act in that State for an injury sustained in the course of his employment, even though the harm was suffered in another State: Rest. Conflict of Laws, § 398. He may likewise recover in a State in which he sustains injury under the Workmen's Compensation Act of that State, although the contract of employment was made in another State: id. § 399. Proceedings may be brought in a State under the Workmen's Compensation ...


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