Banks v. Chicago Grain Trimmers Assn., Inc. - 390 U.S. 459 (1968)


U.S. Supreme Court

Banks v. Chicago Grain Trimmers Assn., Inc., 390 U.S. 459 (1968)

Banks v. Chicago Grain Trimmers Assn., Inc.

No. 59

Argued January 17, 1968

Decided April 1, 1968

390 U.S. 459

Syllabus

Petitioner filed a claim against her late husband's employer for compensation death benefits under the Longshoremen's and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, alleging that his fall at home on January 30, 1961, from which he later died, resulted from a work-connected injury sustained on January 26. A Department of Labor Deputy Commissioner rejected the claim for failure to establish a work-connected injury. Thereafter, petitioner discovered an eyewitness to a work-connected injury to her husband on January 30, about two hours before the fall at home which resulted in his death, and filed a second compensation claim against the employer. Prior to the hearing thereon, petitioner brought a wrongful death action against a third party based on the January 30 injury. The jury returned a verdict for $30,000, but the judge ruled that a motion for a new trial would be granted unless petitioner consented to a remittitur of $11,000. Without consulting the employer, petitioner accepted the remittitur and a judgment for $19,000 was entered. The Deputy Commissioner, after hearings, entered an award for petitioner in the second compensation claim. Respondents brought an action in the District Court to set aside the award. The District Court affirmed, but the Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the second compensation action was barred by the doctrine of res judicata.

Held:

1. The second claim was not barred by res judicata, but comes within the scope of § 22 of the Act, which provides for review "because of a mistake in a determination of fact" by the Deputy Commissioner "at any time prior to one year after rejection of a claim," and permits him to "award compensation" after such review. Pp. 390 U. S. 462-465.

2. An order of remittitur is a judicial determination of recoverable damages, and petitioner's acceptance of the remittitur in her third-party lawsuit was not a compromise within the meaning of § 33(g) of the Act. Pp. 390 U. S. 465-467.

Page 390 U. S. 460

3. The Deputy Commissioner's finding that there was a causal connection between the January 30 work-connected injury to petitioner's husband and his fall at home two hours later was supported by substantial evidence on the record as a whole, and must be affirmed. P. 390 U. S. 467.

369 F.2d 344, reversed.



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