Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

RICHARDSON v. WALSH CONSTR. CO.

January 11, 1963

John C. RICHARDSON
v.
WALSH CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, Morrison-Knudsen Company, Inc., and Henry J.Kaiser Company



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROSENBERG

In this suit for damages which plaintiff sustained while engaged in the construction of a sanitary sewer, counsel for the parties and the Court by agreement submitted for jury determination the preliminary question which consisted of the following interrogatories:

'No. 1. Was the plaintiff on June 26, 1958, an employee of the joint venture comprised of Walsh Construction Company, Morrison-Knudsen Company, Inc., Henry J. Kaiser Company and B. Perini & Sons, Inc.? (s) YES

 The sole matter before the Court is plaintiff's motion for new trial setting forth seventeen reasons predicated almost entirely upon the Court's admission or non-admission of divers exhibits each of which will be discussed in detail.

 HISTORY

 On June 26, 1958, the plaintiff, as a laborer in the construction of a sanitary sewer line for the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority, received an injury which resulted in the surgical amputation of his left leg. He received disability payments pursuant to an agreement under the Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act, and he entered suit in this Court against Walsh Construction Company, Morrison-Knudsen Company, Inc., Henry J. Kaiser Company and Perini & Sons for damages resulting from the injuries sustained in that accident.

 In his complaint, he averred that he was a laborer in the employ of Perini & Sons, a corporation, which at the time was a contractor engaged in the construction of a project or projects of a sanitary sewer disposal system, or a portion thereof under a contract entered into between Perini & Sons and the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority.

 He also claimed that the defendants, Walsh Construction Company, Morrison-Knudsen Company, Inc., Henry J. Kaiser Company and Perini & Sons, were 'contractors engaged in a similar venture at the place where the plaintiff sustained his injuries and had control of the operations, personnel and equipment at said time and place of the accident, but were independent contractors and not employers of the plaintiff.'

 An additional averment was contained in the complaint that the injuries 'were caused by the negligence of the defendants, their agents, employees and servants jointly and severally. * * *'

 Only three of the defendants, Walsh Construction Company, Morrison-Knudsen Company, Inc., and Henry J. Kaiser were served, Perini was not served. The three defendants who were served filed an answer and set forth four defenses. In the third defense, they admitted that the plaintiff was a laborer of B. Perini & Sons and also alleged that the plaintiff was an employee of these defendants as well as B. Perini & Sons on June 26, 1958.

 In the fourth defense, they stated, 'At the time of the events complained of in the plaintiff's complaint, the plaintiff was an employee of Walsh Construction Company, Morrison-Knudsen Company Inc., Henry J. Kaiser Company and B. Perini & Sons. Therefore, the recovery of the plaintiff, if any, is limited to the applicable provisions of the Pennsylvania Workman's Compensation Law.'

 ADMISSION AND NON-ADMISSION OF EXHIBITS

 Because no transcript of testimony was prepared, this Court is required to rely upon notes which the Court of its own volition took down at time of trial as well as the Court's best recollection of proceedings at time of trial, and accordingly the exhibits will not be noted in chronological sequence.

 Sixteen exhibits were admitted into evidence:

 (a) In support of defendant's affirmative defense:

 Defendants' Exhibit No. 4 'Employment Record' signed by the plaintiff on October 1, 1956, indicating the names of B. Perini & Sons, Inc., and Walsh, Morrison, Kaiser, Pittsburgh, Penna., in the upper left hand corner.

 Defendants' Exhibit No. 5 'Payroll Check No. 3921,' dated October 6, 1956, in the amount of $ 65.27 payable to the order of John Richardson, the plaintiff, and indicates B. Perini & Sons, Inc., and Walsh, Morrison, Kaiser stamped thereon, with the payor as B. Perini & Sons, Inc., and Walsh, Morrison, Kaiser above the authorized signature.

 Defendants' Exhibit No. 1 'Contract Agreement' dated the 26th day of January, 1956, as entered into between the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority, party of the first part and B. Perini & Sons, Inc., a Massachusetts Corporation, Walsh Construction Company, an Iowa Corporation, Morrison Knudsen Company, Inc., a Delaware Corporation and Henry J. Kaiser Company, a Nevada Corporation (a Joint Venture), party of the second part. For B. Perini & Sons, Inc., the contract is signed by its President, Louis R. Perini, and attested by the Assistant Secretary. For Walsh Construction Company, appears the signature of its President and the attest of its Assistant Secretary. For Morrison Knudsen Co. Inc., appears the signature of its Vice President and the attest of its Assistant Secretary. For Henry J. Kaiser Company appears the signature of its Vice President and the attest of its Assistant Secretary. The execution of the contract so far as the parties of the second part are concerned, bears their respective corporate seals.

 Defendants' Exhibit No. 9 'Certified Copy of Fictitious Corporate Name' of the Prothonotary of Allegheny County, dated May 21, 1962, to the effect that an application of registration was filed in that office on March 4, 1958, under the Fictitious Corporate Name of Perini Corporation and Walsh, Morrison, Kaiser at Corporation #191-C in accordance with the requirements of Act No. 374 of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 54 P.S. ยง 81 et seq. It contains this statement, 'The character of business carried on is the construction of a portion of Allegheny County Sewer Tunnel, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.'

 Defendants' Exhibit No. 10, a group of affidavits styled as 'Contractor's Certificate of Satisfaction.' The first is by Louis R. Perini, President of Perini Corporation, dated February 10th, 1960; the second is by T. J. Walsh, Jr., President of Walsh Construction Company, dated February 10th, 1960; the third is by Carroll F. Zapp, Vice President of Morrison-Knudsen Company, Inc., dated February 13th, 1960; and the fourth is by George Havas, Vice President of Henry J. Kaiser Company, dated February 12th, 1960. These four affidavits are similar and contain the same wording, that is that each is a member of the joint venture known as Perini Corporation and Walsh, Morrison, Kaiser, pursuant to the contract with the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority being Contract 50 for constructing parts of the Monongahela River intercepting sewer, etc.

 Defendants' Exhibit No. 12 being, or purporting to be the official receipt dated July 7, 1958 from Perini Corp., & Walsh, Morrison, Kaiser regarding John C. Richardson for injury or disability sustained June 26, 1958 by the Bureau of Workmen's Compensation.

 Defendants' Exhibit No. 13, 'Withholding Tax Statement, 1958, Form W-2', for John Richardson by Perini Corporation and Walsh, Morrison, Kaiser setting out the employee's Social Security number and the amount of Federal income tax withheld, with the total wages before payroll deductions paid.

 Defendants' Exhibit No. 14, 'Employee's Earnings Record' for the plaintiff and sets forth his Social Security number for the year 1958, and contains at the bottom of the payroll sheet the name of Perini Corporation & Walsh, Morrison, Kaiser.

 (b) Opposing defendant's affirmative defense:

 Plaintiff's Exhibit No. 1, 'Agreement for Compensation for Disability or Permanent Injury', which was signed by the plaintiff as employee, and by B. Perini & Sons as the employer, and the Continental Casualty Company, as the authorized agent or insurance carrier by a signatory for that company as claims manager. In this agreement is also contained the weekly rate of compensation and for the particular period of time for which it is to be paid. This ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.