Louisville, Evansville and St. Louis R. Co. v. Clarke - 152 U.S. 230 (1894)
U.S. Supreme Court
Louisville, Evansville and St. Louis R. Co. v. Clarke, 152 U.S. 230 (1894)
Louisville, Evansville and St. Louis Railroad Company v. Clarke
Argued January 4, 1894
Decided March 4, 1894
152 U.S. 230
The right which section 284 of the Revised Statutes of Indiana gives to the personal representative of a deceased person whose death has been caused by the wrongful act or omission of another to maintain an action against the latter within two years after the death accrues when the death so caused occurs, whether it happens before or after the expiration of a period of a year and a day from the date of its cause.
The common law rule in prosecutions for murder, appeals of death, and inquisitions against deodands does not apply to the right of action given by that statute.
In an action by the personal representative of a deceased person whose death has been caused by the wrongful act or omission of the defendant, evidence as to the income of the deceased previous to his death is admissible.
When, in an action founded upon a state statute, a federal judge, in instructing the jury, adopts the construction given to the statute by the highest court of the State, it is no error to add that he had formerly been of a different opinion, and so instructed former juries.
This was an action brought by the executor of a deceased person under Rev.Stats. Indiana, § 284, against the plaintiff in error, defendant below, to recover damages for the death of the plaintiff's testator alleged to have been caused by the wrongful act of the defendant. The accident by which the plaintiff was injured was alleged to have taken place November 25, 1886, and the death to have happened by reason of his injuries February 23, 1888. The defendant demurred on the ground that the complaint did not state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action, contending that, as the death did not occur until after the expiration of a year and a day from the infliction of the injury, it could not be held in law to have been caused by the act of the defendant. The demurrer was overruled, the defendant answered, issue was joined, and the trial resulted in a verdict and judgment for the plaintiff, to which this writ of error was sued out. The
overruling of the demurrer was one of the assignments of error. There were also other assignments which are noticed in the opinion of the Court.