Phillips Petroleum Co. v. Jenkins,
297 U.S. 629 (1936)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Phillips Petroleum Co. v. Jenkins, 297 U.S. 629 (1936)

Phillips Petroleum Co. v. Jenkins

No. 386

Argued February 7, 10, 1936

Decided March 30, 1936

297 U.S. 629


1. Under its power to prescribe the provisions of charters of corporations organized under its laws and to impose conditions for the admission of foreign corporations to do local business, and under power reserved in its constitution to amend corporate charters and to impose like rules upon such foreign corporations, a State may, consistently with the equal protection clause of the

Page 297 U. S. 630

Fourteenth Amendment, make corporations, foreign and domestic, liable for personal injuries sustained by their employees through negligence of fellow employees, while as to individual employers it leaves in force the common law fellow servant rule. P. 297 U. S. 633.

2. Section 7137, Crawford & Moses Digest of the Arkansas Statutes, which abolishes the fellow servant rule in suits against corporations, is, as construed by the state supreme court, an exercise of the power reserved by the state constitution to prescribe and alter the terms of the charters of domestic corporations and to subject the foreign corporations which are authorized to do business in the State to the same regulations and liabilities as are imposed on domestic corporations. P. 297 U. S. 634.

3. Inasmuch as, under the state constitution, the power reserved to amend a corporate charter can be exercised only when the General Assembly is of opinion that the charter may be injurious to the citizens of the State, and then only in such manner that no injustice shall be done to the corporators, the enactment of the above-mentioned statute necessarily implies legislative determinations in accordance with those requirements, and, in the absence of anything in the record or of which judicial notice may be taken to negative these implied legislative conclusions or to show that the distinction made by the statute between corporate and individual employers is an arbitrary discrimination against corporations, it will be assumed that conditions in Arkansas warrant that distinction. P. 297 U. S. 636.

190 Ark. 964, 82 S.W.2d 264, affirmed.

Appeal from a judgment against the Petroleum Company and the surety on its supersedeas bond based on a verdict for damages in an action against the Company for personal injuries sustained by one of its employees in the course of his employment. A fellow servant of the plaintiff, whose negligence caused the injuries, was joined as a defendant with the corporation.

Page 297 U. S. 631

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