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LENGYEL v. BOHRER (02/13/53)

February 13, 1953

LENGYEL, APPELLANT,
v.
BOHRER



Appeals, Nos. 68 and 69, Jan. T., 1953, from order and judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, Nov. T., 1951, No. 977, in case of George J. C. Lengyel, a Minor, by Michael G. Lengyel, his Guardian, and Michael G. Lengyel et ux. v. Marvin Bohrer and Marvin Bohrer, Inc. Order and judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Wilfred R. Lorry, with him Joseph Weiner, William D. Valente, Freedman, Landy & Lorry, and Albert Blumberg, for appellants.

Herbert A. Barton, with him Swartz, Campbell & Henry and Robert W. Beatty, for appellees.

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

Author: Stern

[ 372 Pa. Page 532]

OPINION BY MR. CHIEF JUSTICE HORACE STERN

A young lad was employed in violation of the provisions of the Child Labor Act of May 13, 1915, P.L. 286, as amended. The question here presented is whether he and his parents can assert a right of action in trespass against his employer or whether their remedy is confined to the Workmen's Compensation Act.

In November, 1950, George J. C. Lengyel, then 14 years of age, was employed by Marvin Bohrer as office boy for Marvin Bohrer, Inc., a corporation operating a lumber and millwork plant. In the beginning he was not required to work with or about any power machinery

[ 372 Pa. Page 533]

    but in February, 1951, Bohrer, assigned him duties which required him to work in the mill at a power-driven cut-off saw. On April 22, 1951, he started to work at the plant at 8 a.m. and continued all day until about 11 p.m. when his left hand became entangled in the saw, as a result of which he sustained very severe injuries. He and his parents brought an action in trespass against Bohrer and the corporation to recover damages based upon his illegal employment. Defendants filed preliminary objections to the complaint on the ground that plaintiffs were relegated for relief to the provisions of the Workmen's Compensation Act, there being no allegation in the complaint that either the minor plaintiff or the employer had rejected article 3 of the Act. The court below, in a carefully considered opinion, overruled the objections as to the individual defendant, with leave to him to file an answer to the complaint, but sustained the objections of the corporate defendant and entered judgment in its favor. From that judgment plaintiffs appeal.*fn*

By section 5 of the Child Labor Act, as amended by the Act of July 19, 1935, P.L. 1335, it was provided that no minor under 16 years of age should be employed or permitted to work in, about, or in connection with, any manufacturing or mechanical occupation or process. Regulation M-19 of the Department of Labor and Industry prohibited the work of minors under 18 years of age on power-driven machinery in woodworking shops. Section 4 of the Child Labor Act as amended provided that no minor under 18 years of age should be employed or permitted to work in, about, or in connection with any establishment, or in any occupation,

[ 372 Pa. Page 534]

    for more than eight hours in any one day, or, if under 16 years of age, after seven o'clock in the evening. The averments in plaintiffs' complaint, therefore, if ...


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