Northern Pacific R. Co. v. Urlin
158 U.S. 271 (1895)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Northern Pacific R. Co. v. Urlin, 158 U.S. 271 (1895)

Northern Pacific Railroad Company v. Urlin

No. 272

Submitted April 5, 1895

Decided May 20, 1895

158 U.S. 271

Syllabus

While it cannot be safely said that in no case can a court of errors take notice of an exception to the conduct of the trial court in permitting leading questions, such conduct must appear to be a plain case of the abuse of discretion.

There was no error in permitting medical witnesses testifying in behalf of the plaintiff to be asked whether the examinations made by them were made in a superficial or in a careful and thorough manner.

It is competent for a medical man called as an expert to characterize the manner of the physical examinations made by him.

When a party is represented by counsel at the taking of a deposition, and takes part in the examination, that must be regarded as a waiver of irregularities in taking it.

When a deposition is received without objection or exception, objections to it are waived.

In an action against a railroad company to recover for personal injuries, the declarations of the party are competent evidence when confined to such complaints, expressions, and exclamations as furnish evidence of a present existing pain or malady, to prove his condition, ills, pains, and

Page 158 U. S. 272

symptoms, and if made to a medical attendant, are of more weight than if made to another person.

There is no error in not permitting the defendant to cross-examine the plaintiff on a subject on which he had not been examined in chief.

When the court has fully instructed the jury on a subject, a request to further charge in the same line and in the same manner may be refused as calculated to confuse the jury.

When the verdict in this case was rendered, the jury was polled at the request of the defendant and each answered that the verdict as read was his. No objection was made by defendant or request that the verdict should be signed, and judgment was entered in accordance with the verdict. Held, that this was a waiver by the defendant of the irregularity in the foreman's not signing the verdict as required by the local law of Montana.

This was an action brought by Alfred J. Urlin, in the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Montana, against the Northern Pacific Railroad Company to recover for personal injuries received by him when traveling as a passenger in one of its trains.

The car in which the plaintiff was riding became derailed, and was thrown down a bank and overturned. The complaint charged that the accident was due to "the defective, decayed, and rotten condition of the cross-ties" in the road, and that the plaintiff received "severe and dangerous wounds and internal injuries."

The case proceeded to trial before the court and a jury, and resulted in a verdict for the plaintiff in the sum of $7,500, and the jury also returned certain special findings which had been submitted to them at the request of the defendant. Judgment was entered upon said verdict and special findings. During the trial, several exceptions were taken by the defendant, which were allowed and signed by the judge, and which are brought for review to this Court by a writ of error.

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