States Supreme Court has pointed out at the current term, 'the purpose of pleading is to facilitate a proper decision on the merits,' Conley v. Gibson, 78 S. Ct. 99, 103 (Nov. 18, 1957). The opinion by Mr. Justice Black adds:
'* * * The Federal Rules reject the approach that pleading is a game of skill in which one misstep by counsel may be decisive as to the outcome and accept the principle that the purpose of pleading is to facilitate a proper decision on the merits. Cf. Maty v. Grasselli Chemical Co., 1937, 303 U.S. 197, 58 S. Ct. 507, 82 L. Ed. 745 * * *'
In oral argument plaintiff advanced the further proposition that the transaction between International and Konopka was simply a sale -- that International simply sold the bricks in place to Konopka. In exchange for the bricks, Konopka was to remove them, together with the remaining rubble, in lieu of monetary consideration.
That interesting concept, unfortunately for plaintiff, is a mere circumstance and not a determining factor permitting escape from the statutory relation. For that matter, International's contract with Scott was identical in terms, although not in scope. The fact that International was to be paid in salvage makes the arrangement with Scott no less a general contract for demolition, it seems clear.
The conclusion follows that plaintiff's decedent was an employee of International by virtue of statute. This Court has considered each contention of plaintiff with the utmost care in full awareness that the statutory employer relation is an artificial creature of statute. The provisions of the Act creating this relation of statutory employer were of course unknown at common law. As the cases have said, it is necessary to construe the statute strictly, lest it be given effect beyond the intention of the legislature: Gallivan v. Wark Co., 1927, 288 Pa. 443, 449, 136 A. 223; McDonald v. Levinson Steel Co., 1930, 302 Pa. 287, 153 A. 424; Boettger v. Babcock & Wilcox Company, 3 Cir., 1957, 242 F.2d 455, 458.
For that reason, decision has been reached in the first instance without dependence upon the fact that a Pennsylvania trial court, in the case of another Konopka workman killed in the same misfortune, ruled squarely that Konopka was a subcontractor and entered a nonsuit: Brown v. International Scrap Iron & Metal Co., 41 Del.Co.R., Pa., 163. In its opinion, denying the motion to take off the nonsuit, that Court relied upon the same case of McDonald v. Levinson Steel Co., 1930, 302 Pa. 287, 294, 153 A. 424, and said:
'We think it is too clear for argument that the testimony before us discloses the relation of statutory employer under section 203 of the Act.'
Rejecting plaintiff's contention that the demolition in question was not part of International's 'regular business,' the opinion continues:
'* * * The employer's 'regular business', as that term is used in the law, clearly means the business envisaged in the employer's contract with the owner, 'or one in the position of an owner.' The conclusion follows inevitably, we think, from a consideration of the very purpose of the legislation. 'The legislature wanted to definitely fix some responsible party with the obligation of paying compensation to injured workmen, and the party selected was the first whose duty it was to assume control of the work. It selected the first in succession from the owner, believing the owner would contract with none but responsible persons. He was the first in the field and in the contracting scheme of work, the head of the endeavor, the person to whom an employee would naturally look': Qualp v. James Stewart Co., 266 Pa. 502, 509 (109 A. 780).'
In respect to the other contentions of the plaintiff similar to those presented here, that Court reached conclusions no different from those stated herein as to the instant case.
For the foregoing reasons, the Court finds that the defendant, International Scrap Iron and Metal Co., Inc., was the statutory employer of plaintiff's decedent within the terms and meaning of the Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act. Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment as to the statutory employer defense is hereby Denied.
Since the remedies provided by the Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act are exclusive as to the situations to which the Act applies, it follows as a matter of law that plaintiff cannot recover and it is accordingly Ordered that the within action be and the same is hereby Dismissed.
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