St. Louis & San Francisco Ry. Co. v. Schumacher
152 U.S. 77 (1894)

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U.S. Supreme Court

St. Louis & San Francisco Ry. Co. v. Schumacher, 152 U.S. 77 (1894)

St. Louis and San Francisco Railway Company v. Schumacher

No. 239

Submitted February 1, 1894

Decided March 5, 1894

152 U.S. 77

Syllabus

When the employs of a railroad company sues the company to recover damages for injuries inflicted upon him while in its service by reason of defective machinery, and it plainly appears that he was guilty of contributory negligence, and there is no evidence of a willful or intentional negligence on the part of the railroad company for the purpose of injuring the plaintiff, there is nothing in the case to submit to the jury.

Page 152 U. S. 78

This was an action by Schumacher to recover for personal injuries received by him while in the employ of the defendant railway company as a laborer upon a gravel train, which was engaged in "surfacing" or ballasting defendant's tracks in the Indian Territory.

The complaint alleged that the plaintiff boarded the train at Tuscahoma to aid in unloading the gravel when the car should reach its destination; that when the train reached Talihina, it was stopped on the main track to take on several cars loaded with gravel, which were then on the side track; that after these cars were switched to the main track from the side track, they were cut loose from the engine and run with great force and violence down grade until they struck the train on which plaintiff was riding; that the brakeman was unable to diminish the speed or check the cars by reason of a defective brake, of the condition of which the defendant had notice or might with proper diligence have had notice, and that, by reason of the negligence of the defendant in permitting such defective brake to be used, plaintiff was, by the striking of the cars against the train on which he was riding, violently thrown from the car upon the track, the wheels running over his left foot and inflicting painful and serious injuries. In a supplemental complaint, plaintiff further charged the defendant with negligence in failing to make and enforce suitable regulations as to the manner of switching and making up trains, regulating the speed thereof, and providing a sufficient number of brakemen to check and control the cars.

The answer put in issue all these allegations, and pleaded contributory negligence on the part of the plaintiff.

Upon the trial, the case was submitted to a jury, who returned a verdict for the plaintiff in the sum of $8,000, upon which judgment was entered, and defendant sued out this writ of error.

Page 152 U. S. 79

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