Fillippon v. Albion Vein Slate Co. - 250 U.S. 76 (1919)
U.S. Supreme Court
Fillippon v. Albion Vein Slate Co., 250 U.S. 76 (1919)
Fillippon v. Albion Vein Slate Company
Argued March 18, 1919
Decided May 19, 1919
250 U.S. 76
In response to an inquiry from the jury, who had retired to consider of their verdict, the trial court sent them a supplementary instruction in writing on a question of contributory negligence. Held error, the parties and their counsel being absent and no opportunity being given them either to be present or to make timely objection. P. 250 U. S. 80.
An opportunity afterwards to except to an instruction and to the manner of giving it is not equivalent to an opportunity to be present during the proceedings, since the prime and essential function of an exception is to direct the mind of the trial judge to the point in question so that he may reconsider and change his ruling if convinced of error. P. 250 U. S. 81.
In jury trials, erroneous instructions are presumptively harmful. P. 250 U. S. 82.
An erroneous instruction may neutralize a correct one on the same subject and introduce material error. P. 250 U. S. 83.
Under the law of Pennsylvania, a servant who goes on with perilous work under the peremptory orders of his master, although knowing the attendant danger and having time to consider, is not guilty of contributory negligence unless he knows, or has reason to suppose, that the danger is inevitable or imminent. P. 250 U. S. 82.
242 F. 258, reversed.
The case is stated in the opinion.