Frank R. Ambler, Philadelphia, for appellants.
Colbert C. McClain, Philadelphia, for appellee.
Before Rhodes, P. J., and Hirt, Reno, Ross, Gunther and Wright, JJ.
[ 174 Pa. Super. Page 395]
Claimant, widow of William J. Hadfield, filed a petition for workmen's compensation on behalf of herself and minor child for the death of her husband. The petition set forth that deceased died on June 22, 1951 as the result of injuries sustained while driving an automobile in the course of his employment. An answer was filed in which it was denied that Hadfield was in the course of his employment at the time of his death. The referee found that deceased was in the course of his employment and awarded compensation to the minor child but disallowed the claim of the widow because she was not living with or dependent upon deceased at the time of his death. No appeal was taken by the widow. The Workmen's Compensation Board affirmed the award of the referee, and the court below, on appeal by defendant and its insurance carrier, sustained the award and entered judgment thereon. This appeal was taken by the employer and its insurance carrier.
The facts, which are not in dispute, disclose that Hadfield was employed as an investigator for The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, and worked out of their office in the Lincoln-Liberty Building, Philadelphia. His duties consisted of visiting various restaurants, cafes and taprooms for the purpose of determining whether or not the music and entertainment furnished in these establishments
[ 174 Pa. Super. Page 396]
was licensed by his employer. He was paid a weekly wage of $50. He was given a company car and was assigned to the territory of Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware. His time was his own and he worked when it was appropriate for him to make his investigations. In the five weeks preceding the accident which occurred on Friday, June 22, 1951, Hadfield had worked on Friday nights in the West Philadelphia district of his territory and had turned in his reports to his employer. Earlier in the day of the accident he had worked in Wilkes-Barre but had returned to Philadelphia to make a special investigation requested by his superior. This investigation was made with a fellow-employe at a restaurant on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia. In the course of this investigation the two field representatives had dinner at the restaurant with a young lady known to Hadfield. Shortly after 7 p. m., accompanied by the young lady, Hadfield went to the garage where his company car was stored and there, by chance, met his superior who expressed his disapproval when told by Hadfield that he was going to take the young lady home in the company car and cautioned him not to do so again. Both Hadfield and the young lady lived in West Philadelphia. As he was driving westward over the Walnut Street Bridge towards West Philadelphia the car skidded, struck a trolley pole, and Hadfield received injuries from which he died the next day in the Presbyterian Hospital.
The sole question for determination is whether the deceased was fatally injured in the course of this employment.
The referee's tenth finding of fact, affirmed by the Board, is as follows: 'That the decedent was actually engaged in the course of his employment for the defendant at the time of the accidental injury, in view of the additional statements made at the hearing before
[ 174 Pa. Super. Page 397]
the Referee by the defendant's representative to the effect that the decedent was operating an automobile furnished by the defendant employer; that he could not say that the decedent was not then working; and finally that he assumed the decedent ...