Baltimore & Ohio R. Co. v. Groeger,
266 U.S. 521 (1925)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Baltimore & Ohio R. Co. v. Groeger, 266 U.S. 521 (1925)

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company

No. 113

Argued October 24, 1924

Decided January 5, 1925

266 U.S. 521


1. Section 2 of the Boiler Inspection Act, in making it unlawful for any common carrier

"to use any locomotive engine propelled by steam power . . . unless the boiler . . . and appurtenances thereof are in proper condition and safe to operate in the service to which the same is put, that the same may be employed in the active service of such carrier in moving traffic without unnecessary

Page 266 U. S. 522

peril to life or limb"

-- prescribes a sufficiently definite standard of duty. P. 266 U. S. 523

2. Under this section, the carrier's duty to have the boiler in safe condition is absolute and continuing. P. 266 U. S. 527.

3. Where a breach of this duty is a contributing cause of an explosion resulting in the death of an employee, the carrier is liable under this Act, and the Employers' Liability Act, whether or not it had notice, actual or constructive, that the boiler was defective or unsafe. Id.

4. Evidence considered and held sufficient to go to the jury on the question whether a defective or dangerous condition of the crown sheet was a contributing cause of the explosion of a locomotive boiler. P. 266 U. S. 524.

5. The carriers are left free to determine how their boilers shall be kept in the prescribed condition of safety, and are not required to furnish the best mechanical contrivances and inventions to that end or to discard appliances upon discovery of later improvements. P. 266 U. S. 528.

6. A charge authorizing a jury to decide that the standard of duty imposed by the Boiler Inspection Act required a fusible safety plug to be installed, and instructing them that, in such case, its absence would impose on the carrier an absolute liability held erroneous. P. 266 U. S. 531.

288 F. 321 reversed.

Certiorari to a judgment of the Circuit Court of Appeals affirming a recovery against the railroad in an action under the Federal Employers' Liability and Boiler Inspection Acts.

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