Chicago & Alton R. Co. v. McWhirt,
243 U.S. 422 (1917)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Chicago & Alton R. Co. v. McWhirt, 243 U.S. 422 (1917)

Chicago & Alton Railroad Company v. McWhirt

No. 714

Argued January 29, 30, 1917

Decided March 26, 1917

243 U.S. 422


A provision in the special charter of a railroad company permitting the grantee to lease its road to any other railroad company "upon such terms as may be mutually agreed upon" is not to be construed as authority for the lessor and lessee to determine what shall be their respective liabilities to third persons who may be tortiously injured in the operation of the road when leased; therefore it creates no contract right which would be impaired by subsequent general legislation rendering the lessor and lessee jointly liable for such torts when committed by the latter, and this quite apart from any power of the legislature to alter or amend the charter.

A state law rendering any railroad company of the state leasing its road to a company of another state liable jointly with the lessee for actionable torts of the latter committed in the operation of the road does not deprive of due process or deny the equal protection of the laws.

When the plaintiff pleads a case of joint liability under the state law against a resident and a nonresident defendant, the case is not removable from the state to the federal court in the absence of any showing that the defendants were joined fraudulently for the purpose of preventing removal.

187 S.W. 830 affirmed.

The case is stated in the opinion.

Page 243 U. S. 423

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