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Gehring v. Gehring Laces, Inc.

Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division

July 7, 1955

Gehring
v.
Gehring Laces, Inc.

Page 383

[143 N.Y.S.2d 19] Bernard Katzen, New York City, Gen. Atty. of the State Insurance Fund, Atty. for appellants (William H. Stieglitz, New York City, Victor Fiddler, Glen Oaks, and George J. Hayes, New York City, of counsel).

Jacob K. Javits, Atty. Gen. of the State of New York, Atty. for the Workmen's Compensation Board (Roy Wiedersum and Gilbert M. Landy, Asst. Attys. Gen., of counsel).

Engel, Judge, Miller & Sterling, New York City, Attys. for Claimant (Sylvester Benjamin, New York City, of counsel).

Before FOSTER, P. J., and COON, HALPERN, IMRIE and ZELLER, JJ.

HALPERN, Justice.

Edward H. Gehring was killed in an airplane crash in the Azores on October 28, 1949, while returning from a trip to Europe. He had taken the trip on behalf of three corporations, the Linwood Lace Works, Inc., and the Nottingham Lace Works, Inc., both Rhode Island corporations engaged in the manufacture of lace, and the appellant Gehring Laces, Inc., a New York corporation engaged in the sale of lace. The purpose of the trip was to obtain new styles and samples of European lace to be used in the manufacturing operations of the two Rhode Island corporations and to shop for lace which might be imported by the New York corporation for resale by it.

The decedent was a highly paid executive of all three corporations. During the year 1949 up to the time of his death, he had been paid $26,419.46 by Linwood Lace Works, Inc., $14,650.00 by Nottingham Lace Works, Inc., and $23,726.27 by the appellant Gehring Laces, Inc.

The decedent was also an executive employee of Retailace Co., Inc., a subsidiary of the appellant Gehring Laces, Inc., which

Page 384

specialized in the sale of lace to chain stores and other retail outlets, but the Board found upon the basis of substantial evidence that Retailace Co., Inc., had no interest in Gehring's trip to Europe, so no further consideration need be given to the decedent's employment by that corporation.

The various corporations were closely affiliated; the stock in all four corporations was owned by the decedent's father and one Beattie and the members of their respective families. Over 90% of the output of the two Rhode Island mills was sold to the appellant Gehring Laces, Inc., which in turn resold the lace to manufacturers of women's apparel.

The appellant Gehring Laces, Inc., carried workmen's compensation insurance under the New York law. The two Rhode Island corporations were covered by workmen's compensation insurance pursuant to the Rhode Island law.

A claim for death benefits was filed in New York State against the appellant and an award of the maximum amount of $35 per week was [143 N.Y.S.2d 20] made to the decedent's widow and children. In the notice of claim, the two Rhode Island corporations were also named as employers but the Workmen's Compensation Board found that the New York statute was not applicable to them and it accordingly dismissed the claim against them.

A claim had also been filed in Rhode Island against the two Rhode Island corporations. The claim had originally been rejected by the Rhode Island Board but, upon appeal to the Superior Court, the decision was reversed and an award was made against the two Rhode Island corporations in the amount of $18 per week each, for 600 weeks. This was affirmed upon appeal to the Supreme Court of Rhode Island. Gehring v. ...


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