Glus v. Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal

RESPONDENT: Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal
LOCATION: U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1958-1962)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

CITATION: 359 US 231 (1959)
ARGUED: Mar 02, 1959
DECIDED: Apr 20, 1959

Facts of the case


Media for Glus v. Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 02, 1959 in Glus v. Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal

Earl Warren:

Number 446, Michael Glus, Petitioner, versus Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal.

Mr. Schwartz, you may proceed.

Seymour Schwartz:

Thank you.

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

This is an appeal in forma pauperis from a judgment of the District Court in the Southern District of New York dismissing the complaint of petitioner, Glus.

Petitioner Glus brought his action under the Federal Employers' Liability Act.

In his complaint, he alleged that because of the fraud or misrepresentation of his employer, the respondent, Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal, he was in effect kept from bringing his action within the three-year statutory period of limitation.

And that for that reason should be permitted to bring this action nevertheless.

The respondent moved by motion to dismiss plaintiff's complaint and an order dismissing that complaint was entered.

No answer by respondent was entered, no testimony was taken, and the petitioner had no opportunity to have any pretrial procedure such as interrogatories or depositions.

The facts in the matter are as follows.

In July 1946, the petitioner, Glus, began employment with the Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal as a freight handler.

His job predominantly was to unload bags of flour from freight cars which came into the terminal.

Those bags of flour in various sizes were covered with paper, sometimes with some material.

In any event, there was a good deal of flour dust in and about the area of work where Glus was employed.

There were no safety devices or masks issued to those employees working with the flour, and after being subject to these working conditions for a number of years, in 1951, Glus discovered that he was having a good deal of difficulty breathing.

He brought this to the attention of his employers and he was seen by the company doctor at their request and his.The company doctor, after examination, suggested that Glus be assigned to light duty instead of being assigned to unloading the flour.

However, his foreman did not permit this new assignment and he was continued with the job that he had performed up to that time as a freight handler working on flour.

In the years 1951 and 1952, Glus made various complaints to his foreman, the General Superintendent of the Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal, and the claim agent of Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal asserting his condition and stating that he desire other work.

He was told by these three people that his condition was not as serious as he would make out and that if in fact it was serious at all, he still had seven years within which to bring his action against his employer.

I might parenthetically add that the Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal employs men who are under the Federal Employers' Liability Act, under the Jones Act, under the Longshoreman's Act and under the State Workmen's Compensation Act.

And it's quite possible that even attorneys at times might have difficulty in ascertaining exactly what Act covers a particular employee at a particular time.

In any event, in July 1952, Glus had a serious attack of asthmatic bronchitis and he received welfare assistance from the City of New York.

He went to the Greenpoint Hospital as a charity patient in Brooklyn and there, he was told for the first time that he was suffering from asthmatic bronchitis and that this condition was permanent and progressive.

He was last able to work for the Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal in January 1953.

And since March 1953, he has been employed by the Norcross Corporation in New York, which is a card firm, in their warehouse doing light work in decent working conditions which do not debilitate him too much.

Did you (Inaudible) when does the -- the statute of limitations begin to run?

Seymour Schwartz:

The statute of limitations begins to run from the time of the discovery of the disease and the petitioner acknowledges that the -- the statute would begin to run in this case, fraud side or misrepresentation side, in July 1952.

When did the -- when did the action brought?

Seymour Schwartz:

The action was instituted in May 1957.