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QUINN UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION CASE. (06/12/63)

June 12, 1963

QUINN UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION CASE.


Appeal, No. 138, April T., 1963, by claimant, from decision of Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, No. B-75482, in re claim of Julius W. Quinn. Decision reversed.

COUNSEL

Everett E. Utterback, with him Utterback and Brown, for appellant.

Sydney Reuben, Assistant Attorney General, with him Walter E. Alessandroni, Attorney General, for Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, appellee.

Before Ervin, Wright, Woodside, Watkins, Montgomery, and Flood, JJ. (rhodes, P.j., absent).

Author: Ervin

[ 201 Pa. Super. Page 153]

OPINION BY ERVIN, J.

In this unemployment compensation case the bureau, the referee and the board all found that the claimant was not entitled to benefits because of willful misconduct in violation of the provisions of § 402(e) of the Unemployment Compensation Law, 43 PS § 802(e), when he was discharged from his position as a taxicab driver because he was involved in two accidents within a period of three years and four months of employment.

There is no dispute as to the facts, which are as follows: The claimant was employed as a taxicab driver

[ 201 Pa. Super. Page 154]

    on March 9, 1959 and was discharged on July 7, 1962. On February 12, 1962 he skidded across the divider on the Parkway in Pittsburgh and struck another car. The road at that time was covered with snow. Both drivers were injured. It cost $1,598.00 to repair the taxicab. On July 7, 1962 the claimant skidded through a stop sign and struck another car. The fender of the cab was damaged, the light knocked out and the left front fender of the other vehicle was damaged. There were no personal injuries as a result of this accident. The streets were wet because they had just been sprinkled. The evidence produced showed only the two above-mentioned accidents chargeable to the claimant's negligence in a period of three years and four months as an operator of a taxicab in and about the City of Pittsburgh.

In Allen Unemployment Compensation Case, 168 Pa. Superior Ct. 295, 77 A.2d 889, we affirmed the decision of the board where a taxi driver, during a 21-month-period, was involved in eight traffic accidents (the employer superintendent having testified that the driver had 13 accidents) which occurred in the last six months of his employment. Most were minor in degree but the employer incurred $555.00 in expenses on their account. The last was the most serious and involved further expense; a collision with another automobile at a street intersection compelled the employer to pay its passenger $75.00 damages for personal injuries and the claim of the driver of the other automobile remained unsettled at the time of the hearing before the compensation authorities. In that case there was also a collective bargaining agreement between the employer and the claimant's labor union which provided "The Company shall have the right to suspend or discharge any driver for just cause and/or for any of the following offenses: ... 5. Accidents involving serious personal injuries or substantial property damage caused

[ 201 Pa. Super. Page 155]

    by the negligence of driver, or high frequency of chargeable minor accidents." In that case we announced the following principle of law: "Of course, a single dereliction or minor and casual acts of negligence or carelessness do not constitute willful misconduct. But a series of accidents, attributable to negligence, occurring periodically and with consistent regularity, which produce substantial financial loss to the employer, will support the conclusion that the employe has recklessly or carelessly ...


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