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Nevada Ind. Com. v. Washoe Co.

December 31, 1918

NEVADA INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION, RESPONDENT, V. WASHOE COUNTY, APPELLANT.


Appeal from Second Judicial District Court, Washoe County; A. N. Salisbury, Judge.

E. F. Lunsford, District Attorney, and A. N. Salisbury, Assistant District Attorney, for Appellant.

Geo. B. Thatcher, Attorney-General, E. T. Patrick, Deputy Attorney-General, and Wm. McKnight, Deputy Attorney-General, for Respondent.

By the Court, Coleman, J.:

The Nevada Industrial Commission brought suit against Washoe County, in the district court of that county to collect premiums alleged to be due pursuant to an act relative to the compensation of injured workmen. (Stats. 1913, p. 137.) A general demurrer was interposed by the defendant, and, upon being overruled, the defendant electing to stand upon its demurrer, judgment was rendered in favor of plaintiff, from which this appeal is taken.

The complainant alleges its right to sue, pursuant to the terms of the act mentioned; alleges the existence of the defendant; that defendant employed in the carrying on of its county government various and sundry persons; and that on account thereof the defendant became indebted to the plaintiff in the sum of $313.15, which it refused to pay. Subdivision b of section 1 of the act in question reads:

“Where the state, county, municipal corporation, school district, cities under special charter or commission form of government is the employer, the limitations of two employees shall not apply, and as to such employees

[41 Nev. 437, Page 442]

and employers thereof the rights and remedies as by this act provided to pay compensation for personal injury sustained by such employees arising out of and in the course of the employment shall be exclusive, compulsory and obligatory.”

In support of its claim that the lower court erred in overruling its demurrer the county maintains that the act in question is unconstitutional, the first contention being that the title of the act is in violation of section 17, article 4, of the constitution, which provides that every law enacted by the legislature shall embrace but one subject and matters properly connected therewith, which subject shall be briefly expressed in the title, in that it is not sufficiently comprehensive to embrace within its scope the counties of the state. It is said that the word “industries” in the title of the act means pursuits in which human exertion is employed for the creation of value and regarded as a species of capital or wealth, and that a county is not thus engaged. Conceding for the purposes of this case, without so deciding, that the contention of appellant as to the meaning of the word “industries” is correct, we are nevertheless of the view that the title of the act is so comprehensive in its scope as not to offend against section 17, article 4, of the constitution without regard to the rule that a liberal construction should be given in considering the objection urged. (State v. State B. & T. Co., 31 Nev. 456-473, 103 Pac. 407, 105 Pac. 567.) The title of the act reads:

“An act relating to the compensation of injured workmen in the industries of this state and the compensation to their dependents where such injuries result in death, creating an industrial insurance commission, providing for the creating and disbursement of funds for the compensation and care of workmen injured in the course of employment, and defining and regulating the liability of employers to their employees; and repealing all acts and part of acts in conflicting with this act.”

1. We have italicized that portion of the title of the act to which objection is made. We are of the opinion

[41 Nev. 437, Page 443]

that, had the portion objected to been entirely omitted, the title of the act would be broad enough to comply with the requirements of the law. Even then it indicates that the purpose of the act is to create an industrial insurance commission, to provide funds to compensate workmen injured in the course of employment, and to define and regulate the liability of employers to their employees. The Supreme Court of Michigan, in Purdy v. City of Sault St. Marie, 188 Mich. 573, 155 N. W. 597, Ann. Cas. 1917d, 881, was called to pass upon an objection to the title of an act upon the ground that it was not broad enough to include employees of a municipal corporation. The title of the act under consideration in that case reads:

“An act to promote the welfare of the people of this state, relating to the liability of employers for injuries or death sustained by their employees, providing compensation for the accidental injury to or death of employees, and methods for the payment of the same, establishing an industrial accident board, defining its powers, providing for a review of its awards, making an appropriation to carry out the provisions of this act, and restricting the right to compensation or damages in such cases to such as are provided by this act.” (Pub. Acts. Mich. [Ex. Sess.] 1912, No. 10.)

In determining the question presented, the court said:

“The title of the act mentions and indicates that its provisions relate to ‘liability of employers for injuries or death sustained by their employees.' It is general, as title of acts must be, and is broad enough to include municipal corporations if they are employers.”

2. Since the act in question is compulsory so far as counties are concerned, it is insisted that it is in violation of the due process of law clause of both the state and federal constitutions, although nothing peculiarly applicable to our state constitution is urged under this objection. We think this contention is fully answered by the Court of Appeals of New York in Jensen v. Southern ...


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