Williams v. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

175 N.J. 82, 813 A.2d 531 (2003)

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Williams v. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

New Jersey Supreme Court
175 N.J. 82, 813 A.2d 531 (2003)

Facts

John Williams (plaintiff) worked for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (the Port Authority) (defendant) from 1969 until 1997. Williams lived in New York throughout his employment. In 1973, Williams spent four months working in New Jersey cleaning tollbooths and tunnel walls with chemicals and degreasing agents that were not highly toxic. Williams never complained of any symptoms of illness while working in New Jersey. After his four months in New Jersey, Williams returned to work in New York, where he used the same types of chemicals and degreasing agents for the next 21 years. In 1997, Williams filed a workers’-compensation claim with the New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation (the division) alleging that he suffered from an occupational lung disease that was causally related to his employment. The Port Authority argued that Williams’s four-month chemical exposure in New Jersey was insufficient for the division to exercise subject-matter jurisdiction over Williams’s claim. The workers’-compensation judge found that the division had jurisdiction and awarded permanent-partial-disability benefits. The appellate court affirmed, and the Port Authority appealed to the New Jersey Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Coleman, J.)

Dissent (Long, J.)

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