Brown v. Western Railway of Alabama - 338 U.S. 294 (1949)


U.S. Supreme Court

Brown v. Western Railway of Alabama, 338 U.S. 294 (1949)

Brown v. Western Railway of Alabama

No. 43

Argued October 19, 1949

Decided November 21, 1949

338 U.S. 294

Syllabus

In an action in a state court for damages under the Federal Employers' Liability Act, the trial court sustained a general demurrer to the complaint and dismissed the action. Under the state law, such a dismissal was a final adjudication barring recovery in any future state proceeding. The State Court of Appeals affirmed on the basis of a state rule of practice to construe pleadings "most strongly against the pleader."

Held:

1. The construction of the complaint by the state court in accordance with state practice is not binding on this Court, which will itself construe the allegations of the complaint in order to determine whether petitioner has been denied a right of trial granted him by Congress. Pp. 338 U. S. 295-296.

2. The complaint did set forth a cause of action, and should not have been dismissed. Pp. 338 U. S. 297-299.

77 Ga.App. 780, 49 S.E.2d 833, reversed.

A state court sustained a general demurrer to a complaint claiming damages under the Federal Employers' Liability Act, and dismissed the action. The Court of Appeals of Georgia affirmed. 77 Ga.App. 780, 49 S.E.2d 833. The Supreme Court of Georgia denied certiorari. This Court granted certiorari. 336 U.S. 965. Reversed and remanded, p. 338 U. S. 299.



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