American Railroad Co. v. Birch - 224 U.S. 547 (1912)
U.S. Supreme Court
American Railroad Co. v. Birch, 224 U.S. 547 (1912)
American Railroad Company v. Birch
Submitted April 24, 1912
Decided May 13, 1912
224 U.S. 547
The Employers' Liability Act of 1908 expressly applies to, and is in force in, Porto Rico, but quaere, and not necessary to decide in this case, whether the Safety Appliance Acts apply to, or are in force in, Porto Rico.
Where words of a statute are clear, they must be strictly followed even if the construction causes apparently unnecessary inconvenience.
Where the purpose of Congress is clear, the courts must yield to such purpose and assume that all contending considerations were taken into account by Congress.
The National Employers' Liability Act of 1908 gives the right of recovery to the personal representatives, and not to the heirs, of one killed by the negligence of the employer, and the heirs cannot maintain an action even where the local statute, as in Porto Rico, gives a right to the heirs as well as to the personal representatives to maintain such an action.
A defendant company has the right under the Employers' Liability Act of 1908 to have its liability determined in one action.
5 P.R.F. 273 reversed.
The facts, which involve the construction of the Employers' Liability Act of 1908 and its application to Porto Rico, are stated in the opinion.