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Crowner v. Baltimore United Butchers Association

Decided: November 8, 1961.

CROWNER
v.
BALTIMORE UNITED BUTCHERS ASSOCIATION ET AL.



Appeal from the Baltimore City Court; Prendergast, J.

Henderson, Hammond, Horney, Marbury and Sybert, JJ. Marbury, J., delivered the opinion of the Court.

Marbury

Roland G. Crowner, claimant and appellant, was employed

full time as a laborer by Armour and Company, in a meat packing plant in Baltimore City. He had been employed by them for a number of years and earned $2.27 an hour, making his average weekly wages for a normal, forty hour week $90.80. In addition, for a period of approximately three years, Crowner had been employed by Baltimore United Butchers Association (hereafter referred to as Baltimore United), one of the appellees herein, as a laborer, performing substantially the same services as for Armour and Company, one Saturday of each month, and received $15.00 for each Saturday that he worked.

On February 16, 1957, while working for Baltimore United, claimant sustained a compensable injury to his left arm and shoulder which resulted in a 40% permanent partial disability of the left arm. On March 14, 1958, the Workmen's Compensation Commission determined that he had sustained a 40% loss of use of his left arm and awarded him compensation for this permanent partial disability. It found his average weekly wage to be $3.46 per week.

The appellant contended that taking into consideration his earnings from Armour and Company and Baltimore United, his average weekly earnings were in excess of $100.00 per week, and that he therefore was entitled to be compensated at the rate of $25.00 per week for the period of 100.8 weeks. Code (1957), Article 101, Section 36, Par. (3)(a) and (b). In the alternative he contended that even if his earnings at Armour and Company were not to be considered, his average weekly wage was $15.00 per week and that he therefore was entitled to be compensated at the rate of 100.8 times $15.00. The Commission used the formula of multiplying the $15.00 received by the claimant each month from Baltimore United by 12 and then dividing the total by 52 weeks. By this formula the Commission determined that the average weekly wage of the claimant was $3.46 per week. From the judgment thereon an appeal was taken to the Baltimore City Court, where Judge Prendergast, sitting without a jury, affirmed the Commission, and this appeal is taken from his finding. The only question to be decided is what was the appellant's average weekly wage and how should his average weekly wage be determined.

This case presents a question not previously presented to this Court, but its determination has been suggested by our decisions on other related questions.

Code (1957), Article 101, ยง 67(8) defines average weekly wage as follows:

"'Average weekly wages' for the purposes of this article shall be taken to mean the average weekly wages earned by an employee when working on full time, and shall include tips and the reasonable value of board, rent, housing, lodging or similar advantages received from an employer, and if any employee shall receive wages paid in part by his employer and in part by the United States under any veterans' benefit law enacted by Congress, the term 'average weekly wages' shall mean the total average weekly wages from both sources earned by such an employee when working on full time."

Prior to the amendment of this section to its present form it was held that the value of board and room at no fixed price could not be calculated and added to money wages. Picanardi v. Emerson Hotel Co., 135 Md. 92, 108 Atl. 483.

In Campbell Coal Co. v. Stuby, 159 Md. 280, 150 Atl. 878, it was held that where the work [coal mining] was part time at best it could not be ...


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