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Paramount Pictures, Inc. v. Industrial Commission of Arizona

Supreme Court of Arizona

November 12, 1940


APPEAL by Certiorari from an award of The Industrial Commission of Arizona. Award affirmed in part and set aside in part.

Mr. Theodore G. McKesson, for Petitioners.

Mr. H. H. Baker and Mrs. Nellie T. Bush, for Respondent Edwards.


Page 1025

[56 Ariz. 219] LOCKWOOD, J.

James L. Edwards, hereinafter called petitioner, applied to the Industrial Commission of Arizona, hereinafter called the commission, for compensation for injuries which it is alleged he received while in the employ of Paramount Pictures, Inc., hereinafter called the employer. The commission made an award in his favor, and the matter was brought before us for review.

Before any payment had been made on the award, petitioner died, and, the appeal being pending in this court, a motion was made that George C. Edwards, as special administrator of the estate, be substituted. This motion was resisted by the employer on the ground that under the decision of this court in Sorenson v. Six Companies, 53 Ariz. 83, 85 P.2d 980, the right to recover an award did not survive the death of petitioner, and that the suit should, therefore, abate. We denied the motion to substitute the special administrator, and a petition for rehearing was filed, calling our attention to the fact that the award in this case, unlike that of the Sorenson case, contained not only an award of compensation for lost time, but also an award for the cost of medical attendance and hospitalization which had been paid by petitioner out of his own funds, and held by the commission to be properly chargeable against the employer. We deferred determination of this motion until the case was presented on its merits.

[56 Ariz. 220] It is necessary that we should dispose of this motion for rehearing first, for if we affirm our action in refusing to substitute the special administrator, the award must, of course, be set aside. The right to compensation is purely statutory in its nature, and we must resort to the statute to determine its extent and limitations. The workmen's compensation law, being article V or chapter 24, Revised Code of 1928, as amended at various times by the legislature, governs the entire subject. Upon a reading and comparison of the various sections of the law, it appears clearly that it gives two independent and distinct benefits for the injured workman, (a) compensation for lost time, and (b) medical attendance and hospitalization to repair, as far as possible, the injury. As we have said in a number of cases, and particularly in the Sorenson case, compensation is payment for the lost time of the injured workman. The award must be on the basis of monthly payments, and the rules for determining what these payments shall be are very specifically set forth in the act. It is only after an award of this nature in made under section 1438, Revised Code of 1928, as amended by Laws 1929, chapter 28, section 6, that the commission may, by virtue of the provisions of section 1443, Revised Code of 1928, commute the monthly compensation into a lump sum payment, under the usual rules for ascertaining its present value. This

Page 1026

compensation is very carefully protected by the law, so that its benefits shall be at the sole disposal of the injured workman. Section 1442, Revised Code of 1928 reads, so far as material, as follows:

"Compensation not assignable; exempt from levy; payment to non-residents. Compensation, whether determined or not, shall not, prior to the delivery of the warrant therefor, be assignable; it shall be exempt from attachment, garnishment and execution, and shall not pass to another person by operation of law;..."

[56 Ariz. 221] And we have held not only in the Sorenson case but also in the case of Vukovich v. Ossic, 50 Ariz. 194, 70 P.2d 324, that it cannot be taken away from him by any process of law, and following this principle and the express language of section 1442, supra, that after his death it cannot pass by operation of law to any other person. It will be noted, however, that section 1442, supra, on which this rule is based, applies only to "compensation," and nowhere therein is the cost of medical attendance or hospitalization mentioned. This last benefit is governed by the provisions of section 1428, Revised Code of 1928 which reads, as amended by chapter 28, Regular Session Laws of 1939, in part, as follows:

"Accident Benefits. (a) Every injured employee shall receive promptly such medical, surgical and hospital or other treatment, nursing, medicine, surgical supplies, crutches and apparatus, including artificial members, as may be reasonably required at the time of the injury, and during the period of temporary disability, as provided in section 1438. Such benefits shall be termed 'accident benefits.'"

The act then provides for the collection of a special accident fund, to be kept separate from the compensation fund, for the purpose of meeting the expenses of this medical attendance; permits the direct furnishing by certain employers, under the supervision of the commission, of medical attendance and hospitalization in lieu of contribution to the accident fund, and declares the employer who fails to adopt one of ...

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