Breisch v. Central Railroad of New Jersey
312 U.S. 484 (1941)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Breisch v. Central Railroad of New Jersey, 312 U.S. 484 (1941)

Breisch v. Central Railroad of New Jersey

No. 384

Argued January 17, 1941

Decided March 3, 1941

312 U.S. 484

Syllabus

1. The remedy of an employee of an interstate railway for personal injuries suffered while he was engaged about intrastate transportation and caused by a breach of the Federal Safety Appliance Acts is the remedy afforded by the common or statutory law of the State. P. 312 U. S. 486.

2. The Federal Safety Appliance Acts create the right; the remedy is within the State's discretion. P. 312 U. S. 486.

3. A fixed interpretation of a state statute by the supreme court of the State should be accepted by the federal courts when it does not obviously depend altogether on a misconception of federal law. P. 312 U. S. 488.

4. In construing the state Workmen's Compensation Act as inapplicable to causes of action arising under the Federal Safety Appliance Acts, and in ruling that the remedy in such cases is by action at law, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania does not

Page 312 U. S. 485

appear to have been actuated entirely by a misunderstanding of the federal Acts. P. 312 U. S. 489.

Confirmatory of this conclusion is the Pennsylvania statute providing

"That, when a court of last resort has construed the language used in a law, the Legislature, in subsequent laws on the same subject matter, intend the same construction to be placed upon such language,"

and the fact that the state court's constructions of the Compensation Act and of jurisdiction over claims rising under the Safety Appliance Acts remain undisturbed by the subsequent amendments of the Compensation Act. P. 312 U. S. 491.

112 F.2d 595 reversed.

Certiorari, 311 U.S. 634, to review the reversal of a judgment for personal injuries resulting from violations of the Federal Safety Appliance Acts.

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