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American Mutual Insurance Company v. Jones

426 F.2d 1263 (1970)

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American Mutual Insurance Company v. Jones

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

426 F.2d 1263 (1970)

Facts

In 1951 Willie Jones (plaintiff) fractured his right wrist and hand at work. For temporary total disability and permanent partial disability, Rose Brothers (Rose) (defendant) and American Mutual Insurance Company (AMI) (defendant) paid Jones the limit of $11,000 for permanent partial disability under the Longshoremen’s and Harbor Workers’ Act (the Act). In 1958 Jones sued Rose and AMI for additional benefits because he could not find another job due to permanent total disability. A clinical psychologist, Dr. Horlick, testified Jones’s rating on the Wechsler-Bellevue Intelligence Scale was 69. A physician, Dr. Wenger, claimed that Jones’s injury was a 35 to 45 percent disability of the hand but that Jones could probably function well in suitable employment. Horlick testified that because of Jones’s limited intelligence, Jones could not work at jobs requiring a minimum of ability. Jones registered with the U.S. Employment Service, but in five years could not find employment. The deputy commissioner rejected Jones’s claim for additional compensation, concluding Jones’s disability was confined solely to his right arm, for which disability he had been fully compensated. Jones appealed. The district court directed the deputy commissioner to award Jones compensation benefits for permanent total disability. Rose and AMI appealed, arguing because § 8(c) of the Act provides a specific award for loss of a hand, Jones’s injury could not be the basis for a total-disability award.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Bazelon, C.J.)

Dissent (Miller, J.)

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