Chicago, M. & St.P. Ry. Co. v. Ross - 112 U.S. 377 (1884)
U.S. Supreme Court
Chicago, M. & St.P. Ry. Co. v. Ross, 112 U.S. 377 (1884)
Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway Company v. Ross
Argued April 14, 1884
Deeded December 8, 1884
112 U.S. 377
A railroad corporation is responsible to its train servants and employees for injuries received by them in consequence of neglect of duty by a train conductor in charge of the train, with the right to command its movements, and control the persons employed upon it.
A conductor of a railroad train, who has the right to command the movements of the train and to control the persons employed upon it, represents the company while performing those duties, and does not bear the relation of fellow servant to the engineer and other employees of the corporation on the train.
This was an action brought by a locomotive engineer, in the employ of the plaintiff in error, defendant below, to recover damages for injuries received in a collision which was caused by the negligence of the conductor of the train. The facts and circumstances connected with the injury are set forth in the opinion of the court. At the trial below, several questions arose whose determination by the court below was assigned as error and which were argued here. For the purposes of the opinion it is only necessary to notice the two following, portions of the charge to the jury, each of which was excepted to:
"(1) It is very clear, I think, that if the company sees fit to place one of its employees under the control and direction of another, that then the two are not fellow servants engaged in the same common employment, within the meaning of the rule of law of which I am speaking."
"(2) By this general order, gentlemen, as I understand and construe it, the company made the engineer, in an important sense, subordinate to the conductor."
The order referred to in the second clause was as follows:
"Conductors must, in all cases, while running by telegraph or special orders, show the same to the engineers of their trains before leaving stations where the orders are received. The engineer must read and understand the order before leaving the station."
Judgment for plaintiff, to reverse which the defendant, as plaintiff in error, sued out this writ.