NIXON, District Judge.
This action is brought pursuant to the provisions of § 21, Longshoremen's and Harbor Workers Compensation Act, 33 U.S.C., § 921, seeking reversal of a compensation order by the defendant, Deputy Commissioner Raymond E. Neuman, awarding benefits to Mrs. Luieda Belton, on behalf of two minor children, Wanda Lynn Wright, and Patricia Jackson Wright, resulting from the death of Patrick Wright, an employee of Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation.
The operative facts of this case as found by the Deputy Commissioner are, with minor exceptions, undisputed between the parties and may be summarized as follows. In about the year 1951 or 1952, the deceased employee Patrick Wright and Virginia Freeman Jackson, the legal wife of George Jackson of Birmingham, Alabama, began living together as man and wife, initially in Camden, Alabama, and thereafter in Lucedale, Mississippi. This relationship continued until the death of Virginia Freeman in March of 1966. During this approximately 15 year period, Virginia Freeman gave birth to two minor children involved herein, Patricia Jackson Wright, born March 12, 1954 and Wanda Lynn Wright, born June 5, 1962. Following the death of Virginia Freeman, the deceased employee, having no family of his own, arranged with Mrs. Luieda Belton, the sister of Virginia Freeman and claimant herein, for the two children to live with her in Bessemer, Alabama. There was an agreement between the decedent and Mrs. Belton that he would send $20.00 per week for the support of the two children. Although this financial commitment was largely dishonored by the decedent who contributed only $44.00, $24.00 of which went to Patricia individually, during the following 18 month period, he repeatedly informed Mrs. Belton that the promised financial assistance would be forthcoming. The decedent did not at any time, visit the children in Bessemer, Alabama, but did have them with him for approximately four weeks in Lucedale, Mississippi during the summer of 1967.
On September 27, 1967 Patrick Wright, while performing services for his employer, plaintiff herein, upon navigable waters of the United States, fell approximately 40 feet while descending a ladder within a vessel. This accident resulted in multiple fractures of his head and upper extremities, causing instantaneous death.
Thereafter, a claim was filed by Mrs. Luieda Belton, as legal guardian of the two minor children, which claim was denied by Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation and its carrier, American Mutual Liability Insurance Company. The case was thereafter heard on September 30, 1969 in Birmingham, Alabama, before the defendant, Raymond E. Neuman, Deputy Commissioner for the 7th Compensation District.
The Deputy Commissioner determined that the two children in question were
The Longshoremen's and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, 33 U.S.C. § 902(14), defines child as follows:
The question before this Court is whether there is substantial evidence in the record to support the Deputy Commissioner's finding that Patricia Wright and Wanda Lynn Wright are "surviving children" of the decedent, Patrick Wright, as that term is defined under the Act. Accordingly, under the facts of this case, these children must either be shown to be acknowledged illegitimate children of the decedent or "children in relation to whom the decedent stood in loco parentis for at least one year prior to the time of the injury."
This Court is fully aware of the standard to be applied in determining whether there was adequate evidence in the record to support the findings of the Deputy Commissioner. This standard was well expressed by the Supreme Court in O'Keeffe v. Smith, Hinchman & Grylls, 380 U.S. 359, 362, 85 S.Ct. 1012, 1014, 13 L.Ed.2d 895 (1965), as follows:
It is therefore immaterial that this Court may not have drawn the same inferences or reached the same conclusions as the Deputy Commissioner, provided his findings are supported by "substantial evidence."
At the outset, the initial question is whether state or federal law should be applied in determining the meaning of the term "child" as defined by Paragraph (14) of § 2 of the Act, 33 U.S.C. § 902(14). In considering the definition of the term "next of kin" as used in the Federal Employers Liability Act, 45 U.S.C. § 51, the Supreme Court, in Seaboard Air Line R. Y. v. Kenney, 240 U.S. 489, 36 S.Ct. 458, 60 L.Ed. 762 (1916), stated:
In Ellis v. Henderson,
The Fifth Circuit recently reaffirmed the determination reached in Ellis v. Henderson, supra, noting that in construing the term "child" or "children" under a federal statute, courts overwhelmingly look to state law. Murphy v. Houma Well Service, 409 F.2d 804 (C.A.5, 1969). The Court further noted that the Second Circuit case of Middleton v. Luckenbach S.S. Co., 70 F.2d 326 (C.A.2, 1934), perhaps suggesting contrary results, was distinguishable, and stated: "Whether Middleton is really at odds with our view we need not decide, for if it is we decline to follow it." 409 F.2d at 811.
It is the contention of the appellants that a finding that the minor children, Patricia Wright and Wanda Lynn Wright, were the acknowledged illegitimate dependent children of the deceased employee, Patrick Wright, is not supported by substantial evidence in the record. This definition of the term "child" under the Act is threefold and necessitates the examination of each of the elements separately, although they are certainly interrelated.
The plaintiff strenuously urges this Court to reject the finding of the Deputy Commissioner in that the claimants herein have failed to overcome the universally recognized presumption of legitimacy in favor of children born in wedlock. This presumption of legitimacy, which is characterized as the strongest presumption known to law, is adhered to in the State of Mississippi and can be rebutted only by a showing that the legal husband of the mother was either incapable of procreation or had no access to the mother at a time when the child could have been begotten. Stone v. Stone, Miss., 210 So.2d 672, 674 (1968).
It is the contention of the defendant and intervenor that the issue of the paternity of these two children was not raised before the Deputy Commissioner, and this Court should not allow the injection of the issue at this stage of the proceedings. Furthermore, it is contended that the evidence presented to the Commissioner proved unequivocally and beyond any reasonable doubt that Patrick Wright was the biological father of the two children.
It is well established that an issue, in order to be considered upon judicial review of a compensation order, must first have been raised before the Deputy Commissioner, and failure to do so will constitute a waiver thereof.
This Court has carefully reviewed the record and is convinced that the children's natural relationship to the decedent, Patrick Wright, was assumed by all parties throughout the proceedings before the Deputy Commissioner. It is significant to this Court that the strong presumption in favor of legitimacy of children born in wedlock and the necessary proof to overcome such a presumption, was not even mentioned by counsel for the plaintiff at the hearing. In the examination of Mrs. Belton, plaintiff's counsel did not attempt, except perhaps in an incidental way, to contradict her unequivocal statement that Patrick Wright was the father of the two children. Furthermore, throughout the proceedings before the Deputy Commissioner, plaintiff's counsel continuously and repeatedly referred to the deceased employee as the "father" or "daddy" of these children.
In stating its case before the Deputy Commissioner, the counsel for the plaintiff, Ingalls, stated:
It is the contention of the plaintiff that the underlined portion of the above quoted language was sufficient to have raised the paternity issue before the Deputy Commissioner. This Court is of the opinion that the language "which is not admitted" was intended to be applicable only to the acknowledged element of the definition, the illegitimacy of the children being accepted. This view is strengthened by the fact that Mrs. Belton was examined by the plaintiffs strictly on the questions of acknowledgement, dependency and "in loco parentis." In any event, this Court is of the opinion that this bare negation alone was certainly not sufficient to raise the issue of paternity before the Deputy Commissioner. The evidence is too overwhelming that the plaintiffs are attempting at this stage of the proceedings to assert, for the first time, that the children were not the offspring of the decedent, Patrick Wright.
Not only did the plaintiff fail to introduce any evidence concerning the legitimacy or illegitimacy of these two children, but it did not attempt contradiction of the evidence presented by the claimant on the question of paternity. Section 20(a) of the Act, 33 U.S.C. § 920(a) provides:
If this provision has any meaning whatsoever, it certainly requires the party opposing a claim to take some affirmative action to place in issue an essential element which is seemingly undisputed. This is particularly true, under the circumstances of this case, where
Assuming, however, that the paternity issue was properly raised and is now before the Court, this Court is of the opinion that the record reveals that Patrick Wright was the father of these two children. The most recent enunciation of the proof necessary under Mississippi law to overcome the presumption of legitimacy of children born in wedlock is found in the case of Stone v. Stone, 210 So.2d 672, 674 (1968):
In order to complete the treatment afforded the presumption of legitimacy by the Mississippi courts, the following language from the case of Boone v. State, 211 Miss. 318, 51 So.2d 473 (1951) is quite pertinent:
There is absolutely no evidence in this record to indicate that George Jackson was incapable of procreation. The rebuttal of the presumption of legitimacy thus required a showing, beyond a reasonable doubt, that George Jackson had no access to Virginia Freeman at a time when either or both of these children could have been begotten.
This Court has carefully reviewed the Mississippi cases dealing with the presumption of legitimacy and the evidence necessary to prove non-access, and is unable to discover a case with sufficient factual similarity to compare with the case sub judice.
Unfortunately, in the case at bar, the children's deceased mother cannot testify to non-access. Likewise, the record does not reveal the present whereabouts of George Jackson or his availability to testify in this case. Furthermore, the weight to be afforded his testimony, if he were available, is extremely speculative in that a declaration of access would be an admission against interest in that he may then be subjected to his legal obligation to support the children. Finally, the Deputy Commissioner did not have the benefit of the live testimony of the decedent concerning the access or non-access of George Jackson to Virginia Freeman during the 15 years in which they cohabited together as man and wife.
This Court is of the opinion, however, that the proof which was presented to the Deputy Commissioner concerning the paternity of these two children was sufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Patrick Wright was their biological father. Mrs. Belton testified that Patrick Wright and Virginia Freeman lived together from 1952 until the time of her death in 1966; that the two children were born during this time; that Patrick Wright was their father; that they had lived with their parents
Although this Court will hereinafter discuss the Deputy Commissioner's finding of acknowledgement of these two children by the decedent, suffice it to say that it is certainly supported by substantial evidence in the record. Acknowledgement of paternity by the decedent during his lifetime can certainly be afforded some weight in determining whether the presumption of legitimacy has been overcome. It is contrary to human experience for a man to continue to cohabit with a woman for 15 years and publicly and privately acknowledge as his the two children born during this period, if he entertains any doubt that she and her former husband are continuing their relationship through access and sexual intercourse.
Finally, the testimony reflects that the Social Security Administration determined that the decedent was the father of the two minor children, awarding $143.40 per month in Social Security benefits for their care. (Tr. of Hearing, pp. 26, 27, 28).
This Court notes that Mrs. Belton testified to having subsequently changed the birth certificate of the child Patricia, previously denoting Patricia Jackson, in order `to show that Patrick Wright was the daddy" and "to get * * * the names really brought out correctly." (Tr. of Hearing, p. 34). Although the original status of the birth certificate is certainly entitled to consideration on this question, its effect is clearly outweighed by the evidence outlined hereinabove.
The plaintiffs place heavy reliance upon three cases decided by the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in which the laws of Louisiana were determinative on the question of the status of the minor children involved therein. In Ellis v. Henderson,
The Court in Ellis noted the strong presumption of legitimacy of children born in wedlock and that this presumption was rebuttable only by a showing of physical impossibility which, under Louisiana law, required proof that the residences of the husband and wife were so remote from each other that access was impossible. (citing Feazel v. Feazel, 222 La. 113, 62 So.2d 119).
The second basis for the decision in Ellis, supra, was the fact that the Louisiana courts had determined that a defendant in a suit for compensation under the Louisiana Compensation Statute could not attack a child's paternity if no action had been brought to disavow such child within the period of time prescribed by Louisiana law. The Court noted that "if a man can make himself legally the father of a child by adoption or by acknowledgement of one illegitimate, we see no reason why he cannot do so by failing to disavow paternity of his wife's child within the time allowed by law." 204 F.2d at 177.
In Henderson, et al. v. Avondale Marine Ways, Inc., 204 F.2d 178 (C.A.5, 1953), a case involving the same question raised in Ellis, the Court, while finding that the mother therein was accessable to the lawful husband at all times, although there was dispute as to the continuation of sexual intercourse, noted that "the paternity of the deceased husband of the mother of the children cannot now be attacked. The reasons for that conclusion have been sufficiently stated in Ellis v. Henderson, 5 Cir., 204 F.2d 173."
In the case of Murphy v. Houma Well Service, et al., 409 F.2d 804 (C.A.5, 1969), the deceased employee and the mother of the subject children therein were married in 1959 but remained together for only one month. In 1961 and 1962, while living with another man, the mother gave birth to the two children seeking recovery under the Act to the exclusion of the decedent's sole surviving parent, his mother.
In affirming the allowance of benefits to the two minor children, the basis on which the court rested its decision is quite significant in distinguishing it, as well as Ellis, supra, and Henderson, supra, from the case at bar:
409 F.2d at 804.
Upon rehearing in Murphy v. Houma Well Service, 413 F.2d 509 (C.A.5, 1970), the Court noted that the mother of the deceased employee was denied the right to show the true "biological fact" in that case only because the Court had ruled that the proof would have no effect on the outcome. Under Louisiana law, the proper method for challenging the presumption and proving the true "biological fact", was through an action to disavow. The Court further held that Mrs. Fontenot was not denied due process and equal protection under the law resulting from Louisiana's conclusive presumption of legitimacy upon her failure, or that of her son, to avail themselves of the disavowal mechanism.
It is thus the opinion of this Court that the claimant herein has presented sufficient evidence to show the true paternity of these two children and the non-access of George Jackson. The Deputy Commissioner's determination that they were born of the relationship between the deceased employee and their mother, Virginia Freeman, is supported by substantial evidence. To hold otherwise would be to ignore the breadth of the statute's definitional structure requiring liberal construction in favor of coverage and would produce "the harsh and incongruous result" condemned in O'Keeffe v. Atlantic Stevedoring Company, 354 F.2d 48 (C.A.5, 1965). See also Texas Employers' Insurance Association v. Shea, 410 F.2d 56, 59 (C.A.5, 1969).
The second question to be considered by this Court is whether there is substantial evidence in the record to support the Deputy Commissioner's determination that the two children were acknowledged by the decedent. As heretofore noted, Mrs. Belton testified that she had visited the minor children and their parents at Camden, Alabama and Lucedale, Mississippi at least once or twice a year, and that Patrick Wright always acknowledged to her and to the general public that they were his. (Tr., pp. 31, 33, 36). In addition, the 1966 income tax return of Patrick Wright, admitted into evidence at the hearing, reflects that he claimed the two children as his daughters. (Ex. 3; Tr. of Hearing, p. 32). The claimant attempted to introduce four affidavits from citizens of the Lucedale Community to the effect that Patrick Wright publicly acknowledged that he was the father of these two children, but plaintiff's objection to their admission was sustained on the ground that they constituted hearsay, inasmuch as there would be no opportunity to cross examine the affiants. Although this Court is of the opinion that the affidavits are unnecessary to support the findings of the Deputy Commissioner of acknowledgement by Patrick Wright, their admission for the purpose offered would not have prejudiced the plaintiff's under the circumstances of this case. In the case of Texas Employers' Insurance Association v. Shea, 410 F.2d 56 (C.A.5, 1969), the employer's insurer argued that the child, being "en ventre sa mere" at the time of her father's death, could not have been acknowledged by him. The Court stated:
In the case sub judice, not only did the deceased employee continue to cohabit
This Court is thus of the opinion that the Deputy Commissioner's determination that these minor children were acknowledged by the decedent, Patrick Wright, is supported by substantial evidence in the record.
The third question which must be examined by this Court is the sufficiency of the evidence to support a finding of dependency. Under the Longshoremen's Act an acknowledged illegitimate child is required to prove dependency in order to recover benefits resulting from the death of his father. On the other hand, a legitimate or adopted child is conclusively presumed to be dependent upon his father.
Certainly it must be conceded that the decedent, Patrick Wright, having fathered these two children, was under a moral obligation to provide for their support. Likewise, it is clear that the arrangement the decedent made with Mrs. Belton whereby he would send at least $20.00 per week for the support of the two children in return for her care and maintenance was a binding agreement. The cases are legion in support of the proposition that such an agreement is enforceable and is supported by sufficient consideration.
This Court, having carefully reviewed the Mississippi case law concerning dependency under this State's Workmen's Compensation Act, which contains language identical to that under consideration herein (i. e., "acknowledged illegitimate child dependent upon the deceased"),
A review of Mississippi cases reveals uniform adherence to the necessity of demonstrating factual dependency in order for acknowledged illegitimates to recover compensation benefits. See Fernwood Industries, Inc. v. Mitchell, 219 Miss. 331, 68 So.2d 830 (1953); Stanley v. McLendon, 220 Miss. 192, 70 So.2d 323 (1954).
Thus, this Court is of the opinion that under Mississippi law, a finding of dependency requires more than the determination of the mere existence of a legal obligation to support.
In the case of Fernwood Industries, Inc. v. Mitchell, supra, the Mississippi
In the case of Magnolia Construction Co. v. Dependent of Stovall, 250 Miss. 761, 168 So.2d 297 (1964), the Court, after quoting the above language from Fernwood, supra, concluded by noting that "dependency is determined as of the time of the injury by looking to the past to determine the reasonable expectations of support in the future." The facts of this case are quite significant in that the claimant was the mother of the deceased employee and sought workmen's compensation benefits after his employment-related death on July 9, 1962. The decedent had been convicted of manslaughter in 1957 and was incarcerated in the penitentiary until May 25, 1962. Prior to his conviction, he had contributed to his mother's support since the age of thirteen. The decedent worked for the employer for less than one month before he was killed, but did contribute a part of the proceeds from the four weekly paychecks received during this time to his mother for groceries and clothing. In holding that these facts were sufficient to establish reasonable expectations of support in the future, the Court stated:
In the case sub judice, it is undisputed that the two minor children lived with and were wholly dependent upon their father, Patrick Wright, from their birth until the death of their mother in March, 1966. Patrick Wright had provided them with clothing, food, and all the ordinary necessities of life. Following the death of Virginia Freeman, the decedent arranged with Mrs. Belton, the mother's sister, to care for these children, promising $20.00 per week in support. (Tr. p. 17). Under the circumstances, this action was certainly not an indication of abandonment by the decedent. Although the family had resided in Lucedale, Mississippi, the decedent, Wright, was employed in Pascagoula, Mississippi, located some distance away. He had no family of his own who could care for the two young children, and the arrangement made, at that time, was undoubtedly in the children's best interest.
The difficulty in this case comes thereafter because the decedent fell far short of paying the amount he had agreed to provide for the support of these children, his actual contributions consisting of $44.00, $20.00 of which was given to the older child individually, and some material to make dresses for the two girls. (Tr., pp. 21, 22). The decedent did, however, repeatedly inform Mrs. Belton that the promised financial assistance would be forthcoming. Although the excuses offered by him to Mrs. Belton for his failure to live up to the agreement seem somewhat unbelievable in retrospect (i. e., difficulties with his car requiring expenses; numerous other debts in Pascagoula; a desire to have the children return to live with him after a planned remarriage), it was through these procrastinations and the many promises to send the financial support, obviously relied upon by Mrs. Belton, that the decedent was able to secure and insure the well-being of the two children during the 18 month period after the death of their mother. Mrs. Belton testified unequivocally that she and her husband, who has subsequently passed away, were in no financial condition to support the children. (Tr. of Hearing, pp. 22, 23).
The record reveals that two months prior to the death of the decedent, he had the two children in his custody in Mississippi for approximately four weeks, although there is some dispute as to the support actually given the children by the decedent, inasmuch as they stayed with a family named Benyards. This family had lived next door to the decedent and Virginia Freeman during their residence in Lucedale. Nevertheless, this action certainly demonstrates the decedent's continued concern with the welfare of his children, and certainly strengthened Mrs. Belton's reliance upon his heretofore unfulfilled promises of financial assistance and return of the children to live with him.
The two principal cases cited by the plaintiff on the issue of dependency, Magma Copper Co. v. Aldrete, et al., 70 Ariz. 48, 216 P.2d 392 (1950) and Croom v. Cochran, Tex.Civ.App., 379 S.W.2d 957 (1964), denied recovery of benefits under state compensation laws. The proof of dependency in each of these cases was based primarily upon contractual obligations undertaken by the deceased employees to support a minor stepchild and mentally retarded child, respectively. As heretofore noted, this Court concurs with the finding in these two cases that a contractual obligation is only one of the factors to be considered and must be weighed with other evidence in determining dependency. The factual situations in these two cases, however, are clearly distinguishable from that in the case sub judice.
It is the opinion of this Court, based upon the events preceding the death of Patrick Wright, as heretofore outlined, that the two minor children, Patricia and Wanda Lynn Wright, did have reasonable expectations of receiving support in the future from their father and were therefore dependent upon him within the meaning of the Longshoremen's
As the Court has concluded that the dependency element has been established in this case, it is actually unnecessary to determine the constitutional issue raised by the defendant and intervenor. This contention is that to require illegitimate children to prove dependency, whereas legitimate children under the age of 18 are conclusively presumed to be dependent, results in an "invidious discrimination" contrary to the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. This contention rests heavily on the rationale of two recent Supreme Court decisions, Levy v. Louisiana, 391 U.S. 68, 88 S.Ct. 1509, 20 L.Ed. 2d 436 (1968) and Glona v. American Guarantee and Liability Insurance Co., 391 U.S. 73, 88 S.Ct. 1515, 20 L.Ed.2d 441 (1968). Levy involved the Louisiana Wrongful Death Statute which had been construed to authorize actions on behalf of legitimate children for the wrongful death of their mother, but to deny the same right to illegitimate children. The Supreme Court held that since the illegitimacy of the children's birth had no rational relation to the nature of the wrong allegedly inflicted on the mother, there being no rational legislative purpose supporting such discrimination, the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment had been violated by denying them the right to maintain an action for their mother's wrongful death. The Court further stated:
This Court is of the opinion, however, that the treatment afforded illegitimate children under the Longshoremen's Act is not a categorical setting apart of a class of persons which is unsupported by a rational legislative purpose. Unlike the wrongful death statute under consideration in Levy, supra, and Glona, supra, the Longshoremen's and Harbor Workers' Act does not contemplate a "wrong done" to an employee due to an industrial accident, but instead contemplates compensation for the loss of wages in case of injury and loss of support in case of death. It cannot be said that all children of an employee, particularly a male employee, are presumably dependent upon him and lose something due to his death. It would certainly be engaging in a factual inaccuracy to even presume that illegitimate children are living with their natural father.
The construction of the statute urged by the defendant and intervenor would not only encourage the continuation of illicit relationships, striking at the home-family as an institution, but would also discourage any support from the father during his lifetime when it is most needed. Furthermore, it would discourage the legitimation of children through marriage, with the father secure in the knowledge that support will be forthcoming in the event of his death.
It should be further noted that the statute does not create a conclusive presumption of dependency for children over the age of 18, legitimate or illegitimate. They too must establish dependency and this is certainly in keeping with the purpose of the act which is to provide the
The answer to the constitutional issue raised herein is by no means clear, because an inconsistency certainly exists with respect to the conclusive presumption afforded legitimate children. This conclusive presumption was determined through a construction of the statute by the Court in Maryland Dry Dock Co. v. Parker, 37 F.Supp. 717 (D.C.Md., 1941). The Court reasoned that since the dependency requirement of the Act was specifically omitted as a prerequisite for compensation to a child under 18 years of age, the contrary being true for children over 18 years of age and for acknowledged illegitimate children, Congress intended that legitimate children under 18 years of age were not required to prove dependency. This interpretation has been accepted, without comment, by numerous cases subsequent to this decision.
There is a clear distinction between a voluntarily undertaken contractual obligation to support and a father's common law primary obligation to support a minor child, which is the legal obligation to which the Court had reference. As heretofore noted, however, a father of a child born out of lawful wedlock is, under Mississippi law, liable to the same extent as a father of a child born of lawful wedlock to provide for the education, necessary support and maintenance of a child. This liability is enforceable upon a lawful determination of paternity or acknowledgement of paternity in writing. One cannot, however, hold the estate of the father liable under the Mississippi Uniform Act on Paternity unless an action has been commenced during the lifetime of the father.
The Deputy Commissioner determined that the minor children, Patricia Wright and Wanda Lynn Wright, were children in relation to whom the decedent had stood in loco parentis for more than one year prior to his death. 33 U.S.C. § 902 (14). This is an alternative ground for relief under the Act, although there is, of course, a great deal of overlapping with respect to the factual elements indicating proof of the child's status as an acknowledged illegitimate child dependent upon the deceased.
A full review of the evidence, heretofore examined in detail, in this case is certainly unnecessary in considering this issue and would be unduly repetitious. In his findings, the Deputy Commissioner noted:
The record of course is clear that Patrick Wright acquired the status of one "in loco parentis" to the two children from their birth up until the death of their mother, Virginia Freeman, in 1966. During this period of time, Patrick Wright had the children in his home treating them as members of his family and providing parental supervision, support and education, the elements normally required for a finding of "in loco parentis."
Accordingly, the findings of the Deputy Commissioner will be affirmed, and the plaintiffs' petition to enjoin and set aside the Compensation Order entered herein will be denied.
An Order conforming with the above Opinion, approved as to form by all counsel, shall be submitted to the Court within the time and manner prescribed by the Rules of this Court.
(b) If there be a surviving wife or dependent husband and no child of the deceased, to such surviving wife or dependent husband 35 per centum of the average wages of the deceased, during widowhood, or dependent widowerhood, with two years' compensation in one sum upon remarriage; and if there be a surviving child or children of the deceased, the additional amount of 15 per centum of such wages for each such child;
(e) In computing death benefits the average weekly wages of the deceased shall be considered to have been not more than $105 nor less than $27 but the total weekly compensation shall not exceed the weekly wages of the deceased."
"(12) `Child' shall include a posthumous child, a child legally adopted prior to the injury of the employee, a child in relation to whom the deceased employee stood in the place of a parent for at least one year prior to the time of injury, and a stepchild or acknowledged illegitimate child dependent upon the deceased, but does not include married children unless wholly dependent on him. `Grandchild' means a child as above defined of a child as above defined. `Brother' and `Sister' includes stepbrothers and stepsisters, half brothers and half sisters, and brothers and sisters by adoption, but does not include married brothers nor married sisters unless wholly dependent on the employee. `Child,' `grandchild,' `brother' and `sister' include only persons who are under eighteen (18) years of age, and also persons who, though eighteen (18) years of age or over, are wholly dependent upon the deceased employee and incapable of self-support by reason of mental or physical disability."
"An action shall not be brought whereby to charge a defendant or other party:
(a) Upon any special promise to answer for the debt or default or miscarriage of another person;
* * * * *
Unless, in each of said cases, the promise or agreement upon which such action may be brought, or some memorandum or note thereof, shall be in writing, and signed by the party to be charged therewith, or some person by him or her thereunto lawfully authorized in writing."