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Lopez v. Kennecott Copper Corp.

Supreme Court of Arizona

December 18, 1950

LOPEZ
v.
KENNECOTT COPPER CORP. et al

Award affirmed.

Art Van Haren, Jr., of Phoenix, for petitioner.

Robert E. Yount, Phoenix, for respondent Industrial Commission, H. S. McCluskey and Donald J. Morgan, Phoenix, of counsel.

La Prade, Chief Justice. Udall, Stanford, Phelps and De Concini, JJ., concur.

OPINION

La Prade, Chief Justice.

Page 703

[71 Ariz. 213] By writ of certiorari it is sought to review in this court an award of the Industrial Commission of Arizona denying compensation to the above-named petitioner. The award, after finding that the petitioner was employed by Kennecott Copper Corporation, which was subject to the provisions of the Arizona Workmen's Compensation Law, A.C.A.1939, § 56-901 et seq., found "That said applicant has failed to submit conclusive evidence to support history of accident arising out of and in the course of his employment on August 11, 1949." (Emphasis supplied.)

It is the position of the Industrial Commission that the injuries sustained were self-inflicted, and consequently were not the result of accident arising out of and in the course of his employment. If the injuries were self-inflicted, these contentions are correct. Sec. 56-931, A.C.A.1939. If the injuries were not self-inflicted, then it is admitted that the injuries were caused by accident incurred during the course of employment, and arose out of it or a risk incidental thereto.

Quaere: Injury by accident or self-inflicted?

If the evidence is such that reasonable men could reach different conclusions on such issues, then the decision of the commission on the facts has the same force and effect as the finding of a jury, and will not be disturbed by this court. Federal Mutual Liability Ins. Co. v. Industrial Commission, 31 Ariz. 224, 252 P. 512; Emery v. Industrial Commission, 69 Ariz. 87, 210 P.2d 217.

Manifestly the finding of the commission that the applicant had "failed to submit conclusive evidence to support history of accident" is an incorrect statement of the rule applicable as to the sufficiency of the evidence necessary to sustain a compensable claim. The quality of the evidence or proof required to sustain an award of the Industrial Commission has been variously defined by this court. Perhaps the most comprehensive statement of the rule is contained in Cole v. Town of Miami, 52 Ariz. 488, 497, 83 P.2d 997, 1001, where it is said that "* * * the burden of proof is upon an applicant for compensation to show affirmatively by a reasonable preponderance of the evidence that he is entitled to such compensation, and the commission is not required to disprove his contention. * * *

Page 704

By preponderance of the evidence is meant such proof as satisfies the conscience and carries conviction to an intelligent mind. * * * In other words, the ultimate test is, does the evidence convince the trier of fact that one ...


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