McIntyre v. Standard Oil Co. of New York, Inc

In McIntyre v. Standard Oil Co. of New York, Inc., 126 Conn. 491, 12 A.2d 544 (1940), the employee entered into a "voluntary compensation agreement" with the employer for $ 6800, which was agreed to be "an advance commuted payment of compensation into a single lump sum." McIntyre v. Standard Oil Co. of New York, Inc., supra, 126 Conn. 492-93. The commissioner approved the agreement. Id., 493. Subsequently, the employee complained to the commissioner that the employer had not paid pursuant to the terms of the agreement. Id. Still later, the employer discharged the employee and paid him certain moneys pursuant to a "voluntary special allowance," which the employer claimed was in place of the $ 6800 due under the earlier compensation agreement. Id., 493-94. The employee then brought an action against the employer, alleging that the earlier compensation agreement and the voluntary allowance that the employer itself decided to award him were two separate transactions and that he was entitled to receive the compensation award as well as the voluntary special allowance. Id., 494. The Court affirmed the employee's entitlement to both. In so doing, the court stated that under the statutes, the $ 6800 compensation agreement was a commutation of the employee's compensation for the entire period involved and that immediate payment of the commuted lump sum was contemplated. Id., 496. The McIntyre court then went on to state: "An obvious purpose of commutation into a single lump sum is in effect an immediate determination of the rights of the employee and the liability of the employer as to the entire compensation by fixing the amount to be paid and accepted, with a single payment thereof instead of the usual weekly installments or other periodical payments extending over the compensation period, due allowance, as by discount, being made for the advantages accruing thereby to the employee. When, as here, the award is so commuted and made presently payable, it thereupon becomes a final judgment. O'Keefe v. Elmer Automobile Co., 112 Conn. 370, 379, 152 A. 280 (1930). As such it is enforceable as provided in 5251 of the General Statutes, at least in the absence of motion to reopen it." McIntyre v. Standard Oil Co. of New York, Inc., supra, 126 Conn. 496. McIntyre thereby concluded that the compensation agreement was a final judgment entitled to be enforced under 5251 as a final judgment. The "voluntary special allowance" was given to the plaintiff in accordance with a custom of many years, pursuant to which the defendant made such payment to those employees "whose services had commended themselves to their superiors and whose employment was terminated without fault on their side." McIntyre v. Standard Oil Co. of New York, Inc., supra, 126 Conn. 493.