Spokane & Inland Empire R. Co. v. United States
241 U.S. 344 (1916)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Spokane & Inland Empire R. Co. v. United States, 241 U.S. 344 (1916)

Spokane & Inland Empire Railroad Company v. United States

No. 136

Submitted December 15, 1915

Decided June 5, 1916

241 U.S. 344

Syllabus

Exceptions from the general policy which the law embodies are to be strictly construed, and are to be so interpreted as not to destroy the remedial purpose intended.

The exception contained in § 6 of the Safety Appliance Act of March 2, 1893, as amended April 1, 1896, and March 2, 1903, exempting from its operation cars which are used upon street railways, does not exempt cars used in regular interstate traffic which are also to some extent used on street railways. Such cars are covered by the general provisions of the statute.

Cars used on an electric railway doing an interstate business on a standard gauge track according to standard railroad rules held, in this case, to be subject to the Safety Appliance Acts in regard to grab-irons and hand-holds, notwithstanding they were used at the terminals of the roads upon street railways.

The Safety Appliance Acts may not be violated with impunity by omitting grab-irons and hand-holds from cars because the railroad

Page 241 U. S. 345

company operating them deem the provision of the act onerous or because it considers that it has adopted methods to protect the employees in coupling the cars that are more expedient than those required by the statute.

Whether methods substituted for grab-irons and hand-hold in coupling cars used in interstate commerce other than those prescribed by the Safety Appliance Acts offer the same, or better, or adequate protection to employees is not a question for expert testimony.

210 F. 243 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the construction of the Safety Appliance Act and its application to suburban electric Railroads, are stated in the opinion.

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