Chicago, St.L. & N.O. R. Co. v. Pullman Co.
139 U.S. 79 (1891)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Chicago, St.L. & N.O. R. Co. v. Pullman Co., 139 U.S. 79 (1891)

Chicago, St. Louis and New Orleans Railroad Company

v. Pullman Southern Car Company

No. 118

Argued December 10, 1890

Decided March 2, 1891

139 U.S. 79

ERROR TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE UNITED

STATES FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA

Syllabus

The Pullman Southern Car Company, operating drawing room and sleeping cars, hired ten of such cars to a railroad company at the compensation of three cents per mile per car for every mile run by its cars upon the lines of the railroad company. The railroad company agreed, when requested, to repair the cars furnished under the contract as it might become necessary, and, without request, to make such repairs as were required to insure their safety, rendering bills monthly to the Pullman Company and charging for such repairs only the actual cost of the material and labor expended. The railroad company assumed responsibility for damages to the cars occasioned by "accident or casualty," while the sleeping car company assumed responsibility for loss or damage arising from defective heating apparatus or lights furnished by it. The latter company was to have the exclusive right for fifteen years to furnish drawing room and sleeping cars on all passenger trains of the railroad company, the latter binding itself not to contract with any other party to run said class of cars on and over its lines during that period. If either party failed to keep and perform its covenants, the one not in default could, upon written notice, declare the contract at an end. The railroad company had the option to terminate the contract at the end of five, eight or eleven years, upon written notice served six months before the date fixed for such termination. Two of the sleeping cars, the Louisiana and Great Northern, were entirely destroyed by fire originating "from a cause unknown," the former at the time of the fire being on the railroad track under a depot shed used by the railroad company to store cars when not in actual transit, and the latter being in a shop belonging to the railroad company, known as the Pullman repair shop, which had been assigned to the exclusive use of the sleeping car company as a place where it could repair its own cars. This shop at the time of the fire was in the possession of the Pullman Company, the railroad employer having no access thereto. The Great Northern had been in that shop for repairs by its owner for six months before the fire, and but for the fire would have been in condition to have been again put in actual use by the railroad company on the day succeeding the fire. Both the Louisiana and the Great Northern were insured by the Pullman Company.

Page 139 U. S. 80

After the fire, the insurance companies paid $19,000 in full settlement of the loss and damage, and this action was brought by the Pullman Company against the railroad company to recover the value of the burned cars under an agreement between it and the insurance companies that the recovery should be equally divided by them. There was a verdict and judgment for the plaintiff.

Held:

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