Jeffrey Manufacturing Co. v. Blagg - 235 U.S. 571 (1915)
U.S. Supreme Court
Jeffrey Manufacturing Co. v. Blagg, 235 U.S. 571 (1915)
Jeffrey Manufacturing Company v. Blagg
Argued December 1, 1914
Decided January 5, 1915
235 U.S. 571
The negligence of a fellow servant is more likely to be a cause of injury in larger establishments than in smaller ones, and assumption of risk is different in the former than in the latter. Classifications based on number of employees in a state statute abolishing the fellow servant and assumption of risk defenses under specified conditions are not so arbitrary as to amount to a denial of equal protection of the laws.
This Court only hears objections to the constitutionality of a statute from those who are themselves affected by its alleged unconstitutionality in the feature complained of. Where the employer raises the question of denial of equal protection of the laws, arguments based on alleged discriminations against employees cannot be decisive.
The Fourteenth Amendment only takes from the state the right and power to classify subjects of legislation when the attempted classification is so arbitrary and unreasonable that the court can declare it beyond legislative authority. Lindsley v. Natural Carbonic Gas Co., 220 U. S. 61.
In a general Workmen's Compensation Act, establishing a state plan that all employers having five or more employees may enter on equal terms, a provision, abolishing the defense of contributory negligence as to such employers who do not come into the plan is not unconstitutional as denying equal protection of the laws as to them because the defense is not abolished as to those having less than five employees; the classification is not arbitrary and unreasonable, and so held as to such provision in the Workmen's Compensation Law of Ohio.
The facts, which involve the constitutionality under the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth
Amendment of certain provisions of the Workmen's Compensation Act of Ohio, are stated in the opinion.