Masich v. United States Smelting, Refining & Mining Co

In Masich v. United States Smelting, Refining & Mining Co., 113 Utah 101, 191 P.2d 612 (1948), the Court in determining the constitutionality under section 11 of the Occupational Disease Act, explained that although "certain individual rights and remedies can be made to yield to the public good," "if the legislature were to abolish all compensation and common law rights for negligence of an employer, no contention could reasonably be made that it was a proper exercise of the police power." Masich, 113 Utah at 125, 191 P.2d at 624 . Rather, "the reverse would be true and pauperism with its concomitants of vice and crime would flourish." Id. In Masich, the Court noted that "both statutory rights and common law rights can be taken away; otherwise, there can be no question that acts which abolish actions for seduction, breach of promise, criminal conversation, and alienation of affections, would be unconstitutional." 113 Utah at 124-25, 191 P.2d at 624. Justice Wolfe, speaking directly to the question of the legislature's power to change the common law, wrote, "I do not understand that Article I, Sec. 11, of the Constitution of Utah, prohibits the modification or even the entire removal or destruction of a common law right by legislative enactment." Masich, 113 Utah at 128, 191 P.2d at 626 (Wolfe, J., concurring).