Winfree v. Northern Pacific Ry. Co.,
227 U.S. 296 (1913)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Winfree v. Northern Pacific Ry. Co., 227 U.S. 296 (1913)

Winfree v. Northern Pacific Railway Company

No. 139

Submitted January 23, 1913

Decided February 24, 1913

227 U.S. 296


While there are exceptions, especially in the case of remedial statutes, the general rule is that statutes are addressed to the future, and not to the past, and, in the absence of explicit words to that effect, statutes are not retroactive in their application.

The Employers' Liability Act of 1908 introduced a new policy and radically changed existing law, and will not be construed as a remedial statute having retrospective effect.

An action brought under the Employers' Liability Act of 1908 by the personal representative of the person who was killed prior to the passage of the act cannot be sustained as stating a cause of action under the law of the state where that law gives the action to the parents.

Damages to the estate of one killed by negligence is a distinct cause of action, under the laws of the Washington, from damages to the parents of the person so killed.

173 F. 5 affirmed.

Page 227 U. S. 297

The facts, which involve the construction of the Employers' Liability Act of 1908 and whether it had a retroactive effect, are stated in the opinion.

Page 227 U. S. 300

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