Thursday, November 27, 2008

50-Pound Turkey Causes Compensable Work-Related Disability

Matter of Kostanek v. Hotel Piccadilly Operating Co. Inc.

(3rd Dept., decided 3/14/1957)

It's not easy finding a case that has something to do with both insurance coverage and Thanksgiving.

55-year old Stanley Kostanek was a chef at the Hotel Piccadilly in Times Square, where the Marriott Marquis reportedly now stands. On Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 1953, Kostanek was "unusually rushed in his work", and around 6:00 p.m. that day, he lifted a pan containing about 50 pounds of turkey. While carrying the pan towards a steam table he felt a sharp pain in his chest and had to put the pan down. The decision reports that Kostanek rested for a short time and drank a little cognac, after which he felt better and he continued to work until his normal quitting time. The next day he felt the pain again, when he stretched and lifted a heavy stack of plates. Again he rested a few minutes, drank a little cognac and continued working. He was off from work on Saturday, and upon arising Sunday morning, he felt a sharp pain in his chest and was hospitalized later that day. Kostanek was released from the hospital on December 19, 1953, and recuperated at home until February 1, 1954, when he again suffered a severe heart attack and was hospitalized for a period of five more days.

Physicians for the claimant testified that he had suffered a coronary thrombosis on Thanksgiving Day, resulting in a myocardial infarction on November 29, 1953, and an episode of coronary insufficiency on February 1, 1954, all caused by the physical and emotional strain involved in the events of November 26 and 27, 1953. The medical expert for the workers' compensation carrier testified that the events occurring at work could not have caused the heart attack.

The Workers' Compensation Board apparently found in favor of the claimant and awarded compensation benefits, and the Third Department affirmed their decision and award, holding:
This conflict of medical opinion was resolved by the board in favor of the claimant, and its findings of accident and causal relationship are supported by substantial evidence.
I hope your Thanksgiving was neither unusually rushed nor as stressful as Mr. Kostanek's of 1953.

1 comment:

Hugh Fustercluck said...

What a hot story! In other breaking news, the RMS Titanic is reported to have struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic, according to an amateur Marconi operator who picked up the ship's distress signal in New York. Several other ships, including the Frankfurt and the Carpathia, are said to be rushing to Titanic's aid. However, White Star line officials have issued a statement urging the public not to worry, as the Titanic is "unsinkable." Stay tuned for further updates.