Rogers v. Missouri Pac. R. Co. - 352 U.S. 500 (1957)
U.S. Supreme Court
Rogers v. Missouri Pac. R. Co., 352 U.S. 500 (1957)
Rogers v. Missouri Pacific Railroad Co.
Argued November 7, 1956
Decided February 25, 1957
352 U.S. 500
In an action in a Missouri state court under the Federal Employers' Liability Act, brought against respondent railroad by petitioner, who was injured in a fall from a culvert while working in a section gang burning weeds beside the track and watching a passing train for hotboxes, the jury awarded damages to petitioner. The State Supreme Court reversed upon the ground that petitioner's evidence did not suppot the finding of repondent's liability. This Court granted certiorari.
Held: The evidence was sufficient to support the jury finding for petitioner, and the judgment is reversed. Pp. 352 U. S. 501-511.
1. Under the Federal Employers' Liability Act, the test of a jury case is whether the proofs justify with reason the conclusion that employer negligence played any part, even the slightest, in producing the employee's injury. Pp. 352 U. S. 505-509.
2. Cognizant of the duty to effectuate the intention of the Congress to secure the right to a jury determination in cases under the Act, this Court is vigilant to exercise its power of review in any case where it appears that the litigants have been improperly deprived of that determination. P. 352 U. S. 509.
3. The fact that Congress has not substituted a scheme of workmen's compensation cannot relieve this Court of its obligation to effectuate the existing Act by granting certiorari to correct improper administration of the Act and to prevent its erosion by narrow and niggardly construction. P. 352 U. S. 509.
4. When this Court has granted certiorari in a Federal Employers' Liability Act case, the litigants are entitled to the same measure of review on the merits as in every other case. P. 352 U. S. 509.
5. In actions under the Act, Congress has vested the power of decision exclusively in the jury in all but the infrequent cases where fair-minded jurors cannot honestly differ whether fault of the employer played any part in the employee's injury. Pp. 352 U. S. 504-505, 352 U. S. 509-510.
6. Special and important reasons for the grant of certiorari in these cases exist when lower federal and state courts persistently deprive litigants of their right to a jury determination. P. 352 U. S. 510.
284 S.W.2d 467 reversed.