Missouri, Kansas & Texas Ry. Co. v. United States - 231 U.S. 112 (1913)
U.S. Supreme Court
Missouri, Kansas & Texas Ry. Co. v. United States, 231 U.S. 112 (1913)
Missouri, Kansas & Texas
Railway Company v. United States
Submitted October 24, 1913
Decided November 10, 1913
231 U.S. 112
Under the Hours of Service Act of March 4, 1907, c. 2939, 34 Stat. 1415, when several employees are kept on duty beyond the specified time of sixteen hours, a separate penalty is incurred for the detention of each employee although by reason of the same delay of a train.
Each overworked railroad employee presents towards the public a distinct source of danger.
The wrongful act under the statute is not the delay of the train, but the retention of the employee, and the principle that, under one act having several consequences which the law seeks to prevent, there is but one liability attached thereto does not apply.
An employee who is waiting for the train to move and liable to be called and who is not permitted to go away is on duty under the Hours of Service Act.
The penalty under the Hours of Service Act, not being in the nature of compensation to the employee but punitive and measured by the harm done, is to be determined by the judge, and not by the jury.
The facts, which. involve the construction of the Hours of Service of Railway Employes Act, are stated in the opinion.