Philadelphia, B. & W. R. Co. v. Schubert - 224 U.S. 603 (1912)
U.S. Supreme Court
Philadelphia, B. & W. R. Co. v. Schubert, 224 U.S. 603 (1912)
Philadelphia, Baltimore & Washington
Railroad Company v. Schubert
Argued April 29, 1912
Decided May 13, 1912
224 U.S. 603
Congress has power to impose the liability on the employer defined in the Employers' Liability Act of 1908. Second Employers' Liability Cases, 223 U. S. 1.
Where Congress possesses the power to impose a liability, it also possesses the power to ensure its efficacy by prohibiting any contract, rule, regulation, or device in evasion of it. Second Employers' Liability Cases, 223 U. S. 1, 223 U. S. 52.
Congress has power to enforce the regulations, validly prescribed by the Employers' Liability Act of 1908, by the provisions of § 5 of the act providing that exemptions from liability shall be void, and that the acceptance of benefits under a relief contract shall not be a bar to recovery.
In framing the Employers' Liability Acts of 1906 and 1908, Congress well understood the practice of maintaining relief departments, and, by the statute of 1908, Congress enlarged the scope of the clause defining contracts for immunity which should not prevail, and included stipulations which made acceptance of benefits from such relief departments a release from liability.
Congress has power, in regulating interstate commerce and commerce in the District of Columbia and in the territories, to legislate unfettered by any existing arrangements or contracts in conflict with its policy. Prior arrangements are necessarily subject to the paramount authority of Congress. Louisville & Nashville R. Co. v. Mottley, 219 U. S. 467.
The provisions of § 5 of the Employers' Liability Act apply as well to existing as to future contracts.
36 App.D.C. 565 affirmed.
The facts, which involve the construction of § 5 of the Employers' Liability Act of 1908, are stated in the opinion.