San Antonio & Aransas Pass Ry. Co. v. Wagner - 241 U.S. 476 (1916)
U.S. Supreme Court
San Antonio & Aransas Pass Ry. Co. v. Wagner, 241 U.S. 476 (1916)
San Antonio & Aransas Pass Railway Company v. Wagner
Submitted April 14, 1916
Decided June 5, 1916
241 U.S. 476
Where the highest court of the state refuses to review the judgment of the intermediate appellate court of the state, it is to the latter court that the writ of error runs from this Court.
Omission to plead or prove that plaintiff's injury occurred in interstate commerce not having been made the basis of any assignment of error, held, in this case, in view of the state of the record, not to be a ground for reversal.
Amendment to the Safety Appliance Act of March 2, 1903 enlarged the scope of the act so as to embrace all vehicles used on any railway that is a highway of interstate commerce, whether employed at the time or not in interstate commerce. The Safety Appliance Act requires locomotives to be equipped with automatic couplers, and its protection extends to employees when coupling, as well as uncoupling, cars. Johnson v. Southern Pacific Co., 196 U. S. 1. Quaere whether the failure of a coupler to work at any time does not sustain a charge that the Safety Appliance Act has been violated. See Chicago & Rock Island Ry. v. Brown, 229 U. S. 317.
The Employers' Liability Act and the Safety Appliance Act are in pari materia, and where the former refers to any defect or insufficiency, due to the employer's negligence, in its cars, engines, appliances, etc., it is clearly the legislative intent to treat a violation of the Safety Appliance Act as negligence -- negligence per se.
Even if the injury of an employee, suing under the Employers' Liability Act, resulted from his improper management of a defective appliance covered by the Safety Appliance Act, such misconduct would only amount to contributory negligence which is, by express terms of the Liability Act, excluded from consideration in such a case.
166 S.W. 24 affirmed.
The facts, which involve the validity of a judgment for damages for personal injuries in an action under the Employers' Liability Act, are stated in the opinion.