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Walsh v. Diamond State Brewery, Inc.

Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle County

June 27, 1951

WALSH
v.
DIAMOND STATE BREWERY, Inc.

Workmen's compensation proceedings by William Walsh, employee, opposed by Diamond State Brewery, Inc., employer. The Industrial Accident Board dismissed the petition and the claimant appealed. The Superior Court, Terry, J., held that evidence justified finding that cerebral hemorrhage suffered by claimant did not arise out of his employment and was due entirely to progressive nature of claimant's pre-existing diseased condition.

Decision sustained.

Ultimate fact finding of Industrial Accident Board should not be disturbed on appeal.

Stewart Lynch, of Wilmington, for claimant-appellant.

William Poole, of Berl, Potter & Anderson of Wilmington, for employer-appellee.

TERRY, Judge.

This is an appeal by William Walsh, employee, called Walsh, from an order entered by the Industrial Accident Board denying to him compensation for alleged injuries claimed to have been sustained by him in the regular course of his employment with Diamond State Brewery, Inc. (called Diamond) on October 26, 1943.

The general duties of Walsh were those of a night engineer-watchman. His specific duties were to check and fire the boilers of Diamond when necessary, to check the refrigeration machinery and all machinery in the brew house, and to keep the same operating in an efficient manner. The employment covered that period of time when by reason of war certain black-out regulations had been adopted and ordered carried out by Home Defense Authorities; thus, included within Walsh's obligations of employment at the time of his alleged injury was the duty to turn off the lights at Diamond whenever a signal for a blackout, as indicated, occurred.

The employment in this case covered a period of years preceding the alleged injury. On June 23, 1943 Walsh sustained an injury due to strain in helping lift a meter weighing approximately four hundred pounds up and onto a truck. By reason of this injury he was unable to resume his work at Diamond until August 23, 1943, at which time he returned to his regular duties aforesaid. During the period of disability, that is from June 23 to August 23, Diamond paid Walsh compensation under the provisions of our Compensation Act.

On the evening of October 26, 1943, while engaged in his regular employment, Walsh suffered a cerebral hemorrhage from which he has not recovered to the extent of being able to continue his employment with Diamond.

Page 741

Walsh contended before the Board below, and now contends, that the cerebral hemorrhage and resulting injuries occasioned [46 Del. 254] thereby was due to overexertion in carrying out his duties of employment on the night of October 26, 1943, for which he is entitled to compensation.

Diamond on the other hand contended before the Board below, and now contends, that the cerebral hemorrhage suffered by Walsh was due entirely to natural causes, for which he is not entitled to compensation.

The Board, therefore, had before them a well defined issue of fact to determine; that is, whether the cerebral hemorrhage suffered by Walsh on the evening of October 26, 1943 was the result of natural causes or the result of overexertion in carrying out his regular duties of employment.

The Supreme Court of this State in the case of Philadelphia Dairy Products Co. v. Farran, 5 Terry 437, 61 A.2d 400, in affirming the Industrial Accident Board and the Superior Court on appeal, stated that an employee while not engaged in his usual work but acting in an emergency which involved the performance of an unusual task and an expenditure of unusual effort resulting in a heart attack caused by unusual strain sustained a compensable injury by reason of an accident under the provisions of the Workmen's Compensation Law of this State. Chapter 175, Revised Code of Delaware, 1935. For obvious reasons the Court did ...


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