Altschuller v. Bressler

46 N.E.2d 886 (1943)


P worked for about 18 years as a blocker of hats and caps in the employ of D, doing business as the Bressler Cap Co. P used a 'boiler' which contained three or four pails of water and, when filled, weighed between 75 and 125 pounds or more. He was required to change the water occasionally when it became dirty. D testified that to remove the dirty water from the kettle 'you take the kettle in your hand and pour it into a pail.' From the testimony of other witnesses, it appears that the dirty water could be removed, also, by 'scooping.' In the early afternoon of May 9, 1939, P complained to Harry Bressler, a fellow workman and a brother of D, that 'he has a terrible heartburn.' Bressler testified, as a witness for the employer, that he asked the claimant: 'What happened to you? Did you report an accident?' and then in answer D, by signs and words, conveyed to him 'that he lifted something.' The witness sent for bicarbonate of soda. P took the medicine and 'said it relieved him for a few minutes, and then he got the pain again.' The pain constituted a premonitary symptom of the coronary occlusion which resulted in P's total disability and concededly from the start P said that the pain was due to 'lifting.' After twenty minutes or a half-hour, the witness asked him how he felt, and 'he told me that he is still sick and is wondering whether lifting the boiler would cause this condition.' P went home later in the afternoon. The superintendent of the house, where the claimant lived, testified that she saw him get out of a taxi looking 'very blue' and 'so I asked him, 'What happened to you?' He says: 'I got hurt in the place, lifting something.'' P's wife testified that she came home a little after five. P told her he got heartburn and he went over to the man who takes charge, Mr. Bressler, and he gave him some bicarbonate of soda, and it stopped a little. P said he was in a hurry and he wanted to lift up the boiler at once -- he usually takes out with a pail the water from the boiler -- so he lifted it and all of a sudden he got heartburn and the man gave him some bicarbonate of soda. P tried to work and he couldn't. So he came home earlier. The Board found that P suffered a coronary occlusion 'due to the strain and unusual effort used in the lifting of said heavy kettle' and that 'the total disability of P was the natural and unavoidable result of the accidental injuries sustained by him' would not be subject to serious challenge. P is totally disabled and is unable to speak coherently or understand what is said to him. The Board found that P's total disability was the result of accidental injuries sustained by the claimant on May 9, 1939, and that the injuries arose out of and in the course of his employment. The Appellate Division affirmed. D appealed.