Kohn v. McNulta - 147 U.S. 238 (1893)
U.S. Supreme Court
Kohn v. McNulta, 147 U.S. 238 (1893)
Kohn v. McNulta
Submitted January 4, 1893
Decided January 18, 1893
147 U.S. 238
The verdict of a jury upon an issue submitted to it by order of a court of chancery is advisory only, and is binding upon the court only so far as it chooses to adopt it.
A servant of a railroad company, employed in coupling freight cars together, who is well acquainted with the structure of the freight cars of his employer and also with those of other companies sending freight cars over his employer's road differing from his employer's cars in structure and in the risk run in coupling them, assumes, by entering upon the service, all ordinary risks run from coupling all such cars.
On April 29, 1887, appellant entered into the employ of the defendant, the receiver of the Wabash, St. Louis & Pacific Railway Company, as a switchman in the yards of the company at Toledo, Ohio. He continued in such employ until the 11th of July, 1887, on which day, in attempting to couple two
freight cars, his arm was caught between the deadwoods and crushed. Thereafter he filed his petition of intervention in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Northern District of Ohio, the court which had appointed McNulta receiver, and in which the foreclosure proceedings were still pending. At first his intervening petition was referred to a master, but afterwards, on his motion, the order of reference was set aside and a jury called and impaneled. The testimony having all been received, the court left to the jury the single question of the amount of damages which the intervener should recover, if entitled to recover anything, and the jury in response thereto found that his damages were $10,000. The court, however, on an examination of the testimony, held that no cause of action was made out against the receiver, set aside the verdict of the jury, and dismissed the petition, from which decision the intervener brought his appeal to this Court.