1. In order to sustain a claim under the Federal Employers'
Liability Act, the plaintiff must in some adequate way establish
negligence of the carrier and causal connection between the
negligence and the injury. P. 284 U. S.
2. Circumstances in this case held
prove that the falling of a brakeman under a train was caused by
stumbling in a depression in a pathway skirting the track, upon
which he was seen running.
36 S.W.2d 686; 38 id.
Certiorari to review a judgment sustaining a recovery under the
Federal Employers' Liability Act.
MR. JUSTICE McREYNOLDS, delivered the opinion of the Court.
While employed as head brakeman by petitioner railway company
and engaged in interstate commerce, J. W. Moore sustained fatal
injuries at a New Mexico station. His personal representative
obtained a judgment for damages, under the Federal Employers'
Liability Act, in a Texas court.
The Court of Civil Appeals at El Paso reversed this, holding
that the evidence failed to show the accident resulted from the
carrier's negligence. The Supreme Court granted a writ of error,
reversed the Court of Civil
Page 284 U. S. 459
Appeals, and affirmed the original judgment. It concluded that,
viewing all the evidence, there was enough to show negligence and
causal connection between this and the death.
The matter is here by certiorari. The railway sets up a claim
under the federal statute which it has not heretofore had
opportunity to submit for adjudication to any federal tribunal. The
cause is one of a peculiar class where we have frequently been
obliged to give special consideration to the facts in order to
protect interstate carriers against unwarranted judgments and
enforce observance of the Liability Act as here interpreted.
Examination of the record convinces us that the Court of Civil
Appeals reached the proper conclusion. We can find no evidence from
which it may be properly concluded that Moore's tragic death was
the result of negligence by the railway company. As often pointed
out, one who claims under the Federal Act must in some adequate way
establish negligence and causal connection between this and the
injury. New York Central R. Co. v. Ambrose, 280 U.
; Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Ry. v.
Toops, 281 U. S.
In the language of the supreme court, the respondent
"recovered in the trial court on the theory that the deceased,
while in the discharge of his duties as a brakeman, was running
along by the side of the track of the Railway Company, and, while
doing so with the purpose and intent of boarding one of the cars in
the train, he stepped on or upon some soft area or hole in his
pathway, and was thereby caused to fall and be run over and
Nobody saw the accident; no one can say with fair certainty how
it occurred. Consistently with the facts disclosed, it might have
happened in one of several ways and without causal negligence by
the petitioner. When last seen, the deceased was running westwardly
by the side of the train then moving in that direction. Across
Page 284 U. S. 460
the pathway commonly used by trainmen there was a slight
depression -- estimated to be four or five, or possibly six or
eight, feet long and three feet wide -- filed with small rock
screenings. It was softer than other portions of the way -- yielded
to the foot. Eight or ten feet west of this, witnesses found blood
upon the rail.
Two hours after the accident, a fourteen year old boy discovered
the mark of a shoe in the screenings. He said it
"was deeper than the footprint that I made; it looked as though
somebody that was heavy or running had stepped in it. The front
part of the foot was deepest."
There is no evidence -- nothing but conjecture -- to show that
the deceased made this impression; and, even if he did, we cannot
assume that, by stepping there, he was made to stumble and fall
under the moving train.
What occasioned this distressing accident can only be surmised.
It was necessary to show causal negligence in order to establish
the respondent's right to recover. The evidence fails to meet this
The judgment below must be reversed, and the cause remanded for
further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.