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CHOCTAW v. HOLLOWAY

November 30, 1903

CHOCTAW, OKLAHOMA & GULF RAILROAD COMPANY
v.
HOLLOWAY



ERROR TO THE UNITED STATES CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE EIGHTH CIRCUIT

Fuller, Harlan, Brewer, Brown, White, Peckham, McKenna, Holmes, Day

Author: PECKHAM

[ 191 U.S. Page 335]

 MR. JUSTICE PECKHAM delivered the opinion of the court.

Holloway, the plaintiff below, brought this action in a state court of Arkansas, against the railroad company, to recover damages for personal injuries alleged by him to have been sustained through the negligence of the company while he was in its employ and acting as fireman on one of its engines. The action was removed into the United States Circuit Court in Arkansas, on account of the company being incorporated under an act of Congress.

Upon the trial the jury found a verdict for the plaintiff, and upon writ of error from the Circuit Court of Appeals the judgment entered upon the verdict was affirmed, 114 Fed. Rep. 458, and the company has brought the case here for review.

The amended complaint alleged that the plaintiff was on October 27, 1900, in the employ of the defendant company as a fireman, and that on the night of October 31, 1900, while he was so engaged, the engineer of the engine on which he was employed received orders from his superior officer, directing him to back up his engine, (consisting of an engine and tank or tender,) from Brinkley east to Hulbert, a distance of about sixty miles, and that upon receiving the orders the engineer and the plaintiff requested that they be permitted to reverse or turn the engine so that the headlight would be in front and

[ 191 U.S. Page 336]

     the tender or tank in the rear, and they would thereby be enabled to run the same with greater safety, but this request was refused, and they were directed as stated; that, in obedience to the orders, they left Brinkley about 11 o'clock at night, and continued to run the engine backward until it reached a trestle about thirteen miles east of Brinkley, when they ran upon and collided with a horse upon the said trestle, without fault upon their part, and the switch engine was derailed and plaintiff caught between the tank or tender and the engine, and seriously and permanently injured.

One ground upon which negligence of the defendant was founded was, as alleged in the complaint, the bad condition of the brakes on the engine, which it was alleged were not in a condition to work; that the same were out of repair, and that there were no brake shoes on the brakes of the engine, and as a consequence the engine brakes could not be worked, and therefore when the engineer discovered the horse on the track and applied the air brakes, those on the wheels of the tank or tender were successfully applied, while on account of the absence of shoe brakes on the engine, the brakes could not be worked, and the effect of applying the air brakes was to stop the tank or tender without having any effect on the engine, and the engine was therefore forced with all its weight and momentum against the tank or tender, thereby breaking the cast-iron connection between the engine and tank or tender and bringing the ends of the engine and tank close together, and as the plaintiff was attempting to escape by going out between the ends of the engine and tank he was caught between the same and thereby injured; that he had only been on the engine for a few hours and knew nothing of the dangerous condition of the engine brakes.

These various allegations of the ignorance of the plaintiff and of orders given to back the engine were denied by the defendant. The company averred that the engine had no brakes whatever on it, and that the brakes on the tender or tank were in good working condition, and it denied that it was

[ 191 U.S. Page 337]

     in anywise guilty of negligence which caused the injury. It also averred that if the defendant sustained any injury it was due to his own carelessness or negligence, and was the result of a risk assumed by him for which the defendant was not liable.

The chief defence was founded on the allegation that the defendant assumed whatever risk there was in his occupation of fireman on the engine in question, and that he in fact knew perfectly well that the engine had no brakes, and that he could not but have observed that fact on a ride of fifty or sixty miles, ...


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