Gange Lumber Co. v. Rowley, 326 U.S. 295 (1945)

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Author: Justice Douglas

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Gange Lumber Co. v. Rowley, 326 U.S. 295 (1945)

MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS, with whom MR. JUSTICE BURTON concurs.

We cannot agree that the injury to appellant is so remote and speculative as to preclude it from attacking on constitutional grounds the award in question. The award, whether small or great, enters into the employer’s cost experience, and the future premium payable by the employer reflects in part any increase or decrease in his cost experience. If the employer is not paying the maximum rate, an increase in his cost experience will inevitably make him pay a rate which would be lower but for the increase in his cost experience. And if, perchance, he is already paying the maximum rate, an increase in his cost experience will inevitably hold him there longer or lessen any reduction to which he otherwise would be entitled. The precise effect on future rates cannot, of course, be presently ascertained. Nor could it be shown in any case whether the award was $460 or $46,000. For the rates are fixed annually, and, at the time of any one award, all of the elements entering into the future computation will not be known. So, if this employer is barred here because he can show no injury, he and all other employers will be barred in every case.* Yet we know from the operation of the system that the cost experience of each employer determines 60 percent of his future rate. Their respective costs also affect to a lesser degree the basic premium rate applicable to each employer’s class, and 40 percent of that basic rate is reflected in the actual premium rate paid by each employer in that class. We might as well say that no employer could ever challenge the constitutionality of an award under this system because bankruptcy, fire, or some cataclysm might put him out of business before a new rate is fixed.

On the merits, we think Campbell v. Holt, 115 U.S. 620, and Chase Securities Corp. v. Donaldson, 325 U.S. 304, govern this case. At no time was the employee’s claim for aggravation extinguished. At all times the Department could have reopened the claim and made an additional award. We therefore do not reach the question of the constitutionality of an act which makes it possible to enlarge an award where previously there had been a final adjudication of the claim. Cf. Danzer & Co. v. Gulf & Ship Island R. Co., 268 U.S. 633.

We would affirm the judgment.

* We are not advised that the employer can contest the validity of a prior award at the time the Department of Labor and Industries is fixing the premium rate to be paid into the fund for the ensuing year. The pertinent statute (Rem.Rev.Stat. § 7676) does not prescribe such a remedy and the decision of the Washington Supreme Court in Mud Bay Logging Co. v. Department of Labor and Industries, 189 Wash. 285, 286, 64 P.2d 1054, would seem to indicate that it is not contemplated.

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Chicago: Douglas, "Douglas, J., Concurring," Gange Lumber Co. v. Rowley, 326 U.S. 295 (1945) in 326 U.S. 295 326 U.S. 309–Joint_326 U.S. 310. Original Sources, accessed September 29, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4ZPEU7J9WLSSTG8.

MLA: Douglas. "Douglas, J., Concurring." Gange Lumber Co. v. Rowley, 326 U.S. 295 (1945), in 326 U.S. 295, pp. 326 U.S. 309–Joint_326 U.S. 310. Original Sources. 29 Sep. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4ZPEU7J9WLSSTG8.

Harvard: Douglas, 'Douglas, J., Concurring' in Gange Lumber Co. v. Rowley, 326 U.S. 295 (1945). cited in 1945, 326 U.S. 295, pp.326 U.S. 309–Joint_326 U.S. 310. Original Sources, retrieved 29 September 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4ZPEU7J9WLSSTG8.