Illinois Central R. Co. v. Behrens, 233 U.S. 473 (1914)
U.S. Supreme CourtIllinois Central R. Co. v. Behrens, 233 U.S. 473 (1914)
Illinois Central Railroad Company v. Behrens
Argued March 6, 1914
Decided April 27, 1914
233 U.S. 473
When a railroad is a highway for both interstate and intrastate commerce, and the two classes of traffic are interdependent in point of both movement and safety, Congress may, under the power committed to it by the commerce clause of the Constitution, regulate the liability of the carrier for injuries suffered by an employee engaged in general work pertaining to both classes of commerce, whether the particular service performed at the time, isolatedly considered, is in interstate or intrastate commerce. Employers' Liability Cases, 207 U. S. 463, distinguished.
Notwithstanding its wider powers, Congress, in enacting the Federal Employers' Liability Act of 1908, has confined the liability imposed by that act to injuries occurring to employees when the particular service in which they are employed at the time of injury is a part of interstate commerce. Pedersen v. Del., Lac. & West. R. Co., 229 U. S. 146.
An employee of a carrier in interstate commerce by railroad who is engaged on a switch engine in moving several cars all loaded with intrastate freight from one point in a city to another point in the same city is not engaged in interstate commerce, and an injury then sustained is not within the Employers' Liability Act of 1908.
The fact that an employee engaged in intrastate service expects, upon completion of that task, to engage in another which is a part of interstate commerce, is immaterial under the Employers' Liability Act of 1908, and will not bring the action under that act.
The facts, which involve the construction of the Federal Employers' Liability Act of 1908 and the determination of whether an injured employee was engaged in interstate commerce at the time of the injury, are stated in the opinion.