Baltimore & Ohio Ry. Co. v. Jackson,
353 U.S. 325 (1957)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Baltimore & Ohio Ry. Co. v. Jackson, 353 U.S. 325 (1957)

Baltimore & Ohio Railway Co. v. Jackson

No. 370

Argued March 28, April 1, 1957

Decided May 13, 1957

353 U.S. 325


In this suit under the Federal Employers' Liability Act, a section foreman of a railroad was awarded damages for injuries sustained while operating a gasoline-powered motor track car pulling a hand car hauling material, tools, and equipment. Each car had only four wheels. The cars were fastened together by a pin, not a coupler. The motor track car had only hand brakes, and the hand car had no brakes. There was evidence that the accident resulted from want of adequate brakes for the use to which the cars were being put. The sole issue before this Court was whether such vehicles, when used in the manner here involved, are within the coverage of the Safety Appliance Acts.


1. The motor track car and hand car, when used in the manner employed here, must be equipped in accordance with the requirements of the Safety Appliance Acts. Pp. 353 U. S. 328-333.

(a) When a railroad puts a motor track car to locomotive use in pulling a hand car used to haul material, tools and equipment, the commands of the Acts must be obeyed. Pp. 353 U. S. 329-330.

(b) That, for 60 years, the Interstate Commerce Commission had not required such cars to be equipped in accordance with the Acts is not a binding administrative interpretation that Congress did not intend these cars to come within the purview of the Acts when used in the manner here involved. Pp. 353 U. S. 330-331.

(c) Whether the Safety Appliance Acts should apply to such cars is a matter of policy for Congress to decide, and it made the Acts applicable all-inclusively to "all trains, locomotives, tenders, cars, and similar vehicles." Pp. 353 U. S. 331-333.

2. Though they had only four wheels each, these cars were not exempted from the Acts by § 6, which exempts certain "trains composed of four-wheel cars." P. 353 U. S. 333.

98 U.S.App.D.C. 169, 233 F.2d 660, affirmed.

Page 353 U. S. 326

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