Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

Texas Power and Light Co. (U. S.) 39 Sup. Ct. 227; Arizona Copper Co. v. Hammer, (U. S.) 39 Sup. Ct. 553; Adams v. Iten Biscuit Co. (Okla.) 162 Pac. 938; Wall v. Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Co. 290 I11. 227.) The courts have repeatedly upheld the authority of the legislature to establish departures from the common law rules affecting the employer's liability for personal injuries to the employee. (Deibeikis v. Link-Belt Co. 261 Ill. 454.) The statute under consideration simply sets aside one body of rules to establish another system in its place. The employee or his personal representative is no longer able to recover as much as before in case of an injury growing out of the employer's negligence, but he is entitled to moderate compensation in all cases of injury, and has'a certain and speedy remedy without the difficulty and expense of establishing negligence or proving the amount of the damages. Instead of assuming the entire consequences of all ordinary risks of the occupation, he assumes the consequences, in excess of the scheduled compensation, of risks, ordinary and extraordinary. On the other hand, the employer is left without defense respecting the question of fault, but he is at the same time assured that the recovery is limited and that it goes directly to the relief of the designated beneficiary, and just as the employee's assumption of ordinary risks at common law presumably was taken into account in fixing the rate of wages, so the fixed responsibility of the employer and the modified assumption of risk by the employee under the new system presumably will be reflected in the wage scale. The act evidently is intended as a just settlement of a difficult problem affecting one of the most important of social relations, and it is to be judged in its entirety.

Much emphasis is laid upon the criticism that the act creates liability without fault. It must be remembered that the modern tendency is to compensate for loss of earning power. Such a loss stands to the employee as bis capital in trade. It is a loss arising out of the business in which he is employed, and, however it may be charged up, is an expense of the operation just as truly as the cost of repairing broken machinery or any other expense that ordinarily is paid by the employer. On grounds of natural justice the business should bear this charge. The State by this kind of legislation relieves the employer from responsibility for damages measured by common law standards and payable in cases where he or those for whose conduct he is answerable are found to be at fault. It is not unreasonable for the State, in exchange, to require the employer to contribute a reasonable amount, according to a reasonable and definite scale, by way of compensation for the loss of earning power incurred in the common enterprise, irrespective of the question of negligence, instead of leaving the entire loss to rest where it may chance to fall,—upon the injured employee or his dependents and indirectly upon the State. The test of the validity of a law which creates liability without fault and under which the property of one is taken without compensation to pay the obligations of another, is not whether it does objectionable things, but whether there is any reasonable ground to believe that the public safety, health or general welfare is promoted thereby. The police power, under which such reasonable regulations are made, is a power inherent in every sovereignty; a power to govern men and things; a power to which the possession and enjoyment of rights are subject, and under which the legislature exercises supervision over matters affecting the common weal, and enforces the observance by each member of society of his duty to others and the community at large, and prescribes regulations promoting the health, peace, morals, education and good order of the people, and legislates so as to increase the industries of the State, develop its resources and add to its welfare and prosperity. (State v. Clausen, 65 Wash. 156; 117 Pac. 1101; Jensen v. Southern Pacific Co. 215 N. Y. 514; 109 N. E. 600; New York Central Railroad Co. v. White, supra; Arizona Copper Co. v. Hammer, supra.) The legislature has the power to bring these extrahazardous employments under the act without election, and the act is not subject to the objection that the employer is deprived of his property without due process of law.

Our constitution provides that the right of trial by jury as heretofore enjoyed shall remain inviolate, but it guarantees that right only to those causes of action recognized by law. The act here in question takes away the cause of action on the one hand and the ground of defense on the other and merges both in a statutory indemnity fixed and certain. If the power to do away with a cause of action in any case exists at all in the exercise of the police power of the State, then the right of trial by jury is therefore no longer involved in such cases. The right of jury trial being incidental to the right of action, to destroy the latter is to leave the former nothing upon which to operate. State v. Clausen, supra; Adams v. Iten Biscuit Co. supra; Moody v. Found, 208 Ill. 78; Cunningham v. Northwestern Improvement Co. 44 Mont. 180; 119 Pac. 554.

The committee of arbitration and the Industrial Commission are administrative bodies and have no judicial functions. (Savoy Hotel Co. v. Industrial Board, 279 Ill. 329.) The contention that the act delegates judicial powers to the committee or the commission cannot be sustained. The act is almost automatic in practical working. The amounts to be paid are easy of computation and the person or persons to whom they shall be paid are fixed and certain. The commission has power to formulate rules and regulations not inconsistent with the provisions of the act and to determine controversies which arise in the administration of the act. If we are correct in our former conclusions that the act affords due process of law and the right of trial by jury has not been violated, then it seems clear that any controversy which may arise concerning the mere administration of the act may be decided in such summary manner as the legislature shall prescribe. Cunningham v. Northwestern

[ocr errors]

Improvement Co. supra; Hunter v. Colfast Consolidated
Coal Co. (Iowa) 154 N. W. 1037.

It is also urged that the statute strikes at the fundamentals of the constitutional freedom of contract, and our attention is called to declarations by this court in Ritchie v. People, 155 Ill. 98, Mathews v. People, 202 id. 389, and Kellyville Coal Co. v. Harrier, 207 id. 624. These declarations are qualified in Ritchie & Co. v. Wayman, 244 Ill. 509. We recognize that the legislation under review does measurably limit the freedom of employer and employee to agree respecting the terms of employment, and that it can not be supported except on the ground that it is a reasonable exercise of the police power of the State. In our opinion it is fairly supportable on that ground. The subject matter in respect of which freedom of contract is restricted is the matter of compensation for human life lost or disability incurred in the course of hazardous employment, and the public has a direct interest in this as affecting the common welfare. The whole is no greater than the sum of all its parts, and when the individual health, safety and welfare are sacrificed or neglected the State must suffer. The authority of the State to prohibit contracts made in derogation of a lawfully established policy of the State respecting compensation for accidental death or disabling personal injury is perfectly clear. (New York Central Railroad Co. v. White, supra.) The act is not subject to the constitutional objections urged against it and the court properly confirmed the decision of the Industrial Commission.

The award made by the Industrial Commission for compensation was at the rate of $32.50 a month for ninety-six months. The judgment of the circuit court finds and recites the amount due at the time the cause was heard in that court and orders execution therefor, and further orders that execution issue from month to month for future installments as they become due.' Defendants in error confess that the authority of the circuit court reviewing the award on cer

291-12

tiorari was limited to confirming or setting aside the decision of the commission. They urge that the circuit court had authority under the act to modify its judgment on suggestion and that it was not necessary to bring the case to this court to have this error corrected, and ask that if this court finds that the circuit court properly confirmed the award, this court modify the judgment by striking out that part of it ordering execution without reversing and remanding the cause.

The judgment will be so modified and as modified it will be affirmed.

Judgment modified and affirmed. Mr. JUSTICE DUNCAN, dissenting.

(Nos. 12860-12883-12898-12908-12909-12919.—Judgments affirmed.) The PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Defendant in Er

ror, vs. EDWARD O'DONNELL, Plaintiff in Error.—THE
PEOPLE vs. JOSEPH BRESNAHAN.—THE PEOPLE VS.
LEONARD BANKS et al.THE PEOPLE vs. FRANK BEN-
DER.—THE PEOPLE VS. JAMES GALLAGHER.—THE PEO-
PLE VS. JOHN BOONE.

Opinion filed December 17, 1919Rehearing denied Feb. 4, 1920.

I. CRIMINAL LAW—when defendants are not entitled to have term of imprisonment fixed by the jury. Defendants convicted of crimes not enumerated in section I of the Parole act of 1917 are not entitled to have the jury fix the term of imprisonment but are subject to indeterminate sentence by the court. (People v. Doras, 290 Ill. 188, followed.)

2. SAME-effect where crime was committed before Parole act of 1917 took effect. The fact that the crime of robbery for which a defendant is convicted after the Parole act of 1917 took effect was committed before that time does not entitle him to have the jury fix his punishment nor render an indeterminate sentence imposed by the court invalid on the ground that the defendant, under the statute relating to repeals, was deprived of his right to elect to have his sentence fixed under the act of 1899, as both acts provide for an indeterminate sentence for robbery.

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »