Easterling Lumber Co. v. Pierce,
235 U.S. 380 (1914)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Easterling Lumber Co. v. Pierce, 235 U.S. 380 (1914)

Easterling Lumber Co. v. Pierce

No. 589

Submitted November 30, 1914

Decided December 14, 1914

235 U.S. 380


A classification based on the use of engines, locomotives, and cars propelled by steam, electricity, gas, gasoline or lever power and running on tracks, in a state statute, abolishing the principle of negligence of fellow servant as a defense to actions against corporations and individuals for damages, is not so unequal as to deny equal protection of the law under the Fourteenth Amendment, and so held as to c. 194, Laws of Mississippi of 1908.

A state statute which cuts off no substantive defense but simply provides a rule of evidence controlling the burden of proof does not deny

Page 235 U. S. 381

due process of law, even when applied in the trial of an action for injuries sustained prior to the enactment of the statute, and so held as to c. 215, Laws of Mississippi of 1912, making proof of the happening of an accident a prima facie presumption of negligence.

64 So. 461 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the constitutionality under the Fourteenth Amendment of two statutes of Mississippi, one abolishing the defense of fellow servant in certain cases and the other creating a presumption of negligence in certain cases, are stated in the opinion.

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