Boston & Albany R. Co. v. O'Reilly
158 U.S. 334 (1895)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Boston & Albany R. Co. v. O'Reilly, 158 U.S. 334 (1895)

Boston and Albany Railroad Company v. O'Reilly

No. 197

Submitted March 15, 1895

Decided May 20, 1895

158 U.S. 334

Syllabus

Where a case has gone to a hearing, testimony been admitted to a jury under objection but without stating any reasons for the objection, and a verdict rendered, with judgment on the verdict, the losing party cannot, in the appellate court, state for the first time a reason for that objection which would make it good.

Evidence offered by the plaintiff to show the profits of his business and admitted under objections is held not to be such as to enable the jury to intelligently perform its duty of finding the earnings of the plaintiff after allowing for interest on capital invested, and for the energy and skill of his partners.

Other evidence, admitted under objections, held to be too uncertain to be made the basis for damages, and to have probably worked substantial injury to the rights of the defendant.

While an appellate court will not disturb a judgment for an immaterial error, yet it should appear beyond a doubt that the error complained of did not and could not have prejudiced the rights of the party duly objecting.

In October, 1890, Patrick J. O'Reilly, in the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Massachusetts, brought an action against the Boston and Albany Railroad Company for personal injuries received while riding as a passenger on one of that company's trains.

The declaration contained three counts alleging negligence on the part of the company in respect to the condition of a certain truck attached to the tender of the engine which drew the train, in respect to the journal of the tender, and in respect to the condition of the defendant's track, rails, and roadbed. The defendant's answer consisted of an general denial. The trial resulted in a verdict for the sum of $15,000, and to the judgment entered for that amount a writ of error was sued out of this Court.

Page 158 U. S. 335

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