100 N.Y. 462, Gottlieb v. New York Central, Lake Erie and Western Railroad Co.

Citation:100 N.Y. 462
Party Name:JOHN GOTTLIEB, Respondent, v. THE NEW YORK, LAKE ERIE AND WESTERN RAILROAD COMPANY, Appellant.
Case Date:November 24, 1885
Court:New York Court of Appeals
 
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Page 462

100 N.Y. 462

JOHN GOTTLIEB, Respondent,

v.

THE NEW YORK, LAKE ERIE AND WESTERN RAILROAD COMPANY, Appellant.

New York Court of Appeal

November 24, 1885

Argued October 21, 1885.

COUNSEL

Lewis E. Carr for appellant. The servant assumes the risks

Page 463

ordinarily incident to the business in which he engages as it is conducted by his employer, or as it may from time to time be changed by the employer. (Wood on Mast. and Serv., § 326; Priestly v. Fowler, 3 M. & W. 1; Owen v. R. R. Co., 1 Lans. 108; 6 Alb. L. J. 174; De Forrest v. Jewett, 88 N.Y. 264; Gibson v. R. R. Co., 63 id. 449; Ladd v. R. R. Co., 119 Mass. 412; R. R. Co. v. Flanagan, 77 Ill. 365; Powers v. R. R. Co., 98 N.Y. 274; Haskin v. R. R. Co., 65 Barb. 129; De Graff v. R. R. Co., 3 T. & C. 255; 76 N.Y. 125; Henry v. S. I. R. R. Co., 81 id. 373; White v. Sharp, 27 Hun, 94.) There was error in the disposition of the case at the Circuit, because the accident to the plaintiff resulted from imperfections, if there were any, that were patent, and the risk from them was one assumed by the plaintiff. (Wood on Mast. and Serv. 681, 682, 698; De Graff v. R. R. Co., 3 T. & C. 255; Laning v. R. R. Co., 49 N.Y. 531; Smithson v. R. R. Co., 1 A. & E. R. R. Cases, 101, 105.) Opportunity to know is knowledge. (Porter v. H. R. R. Co., 2 A. & E. R. R. Cases, 44; 71 Mo. 66; Wright v. R. R. Co., 25 N.Y. 562; Loonam v. Brockway, 3 Robt. 74.) The court erred in ignoring the fact that the cars between which the plaintiff was injured were not those of the defendant, and in instructing the jury that such fact was entirely immaterial. (Salter v. Jewett, 85 N.Y. 61; Agawam Bk. v. Streever, 18 id. 502; Eaton Co. v. Every, 83 id. 31; Isaacson v. R. R. Co., 94 id. 278; M. R. R. Co. v. Smithson, 1 A. & E. R. R. Cases, 101, 106; People v. R. R. Co., 28 Hun, 543; S. C., 22 id. 533; Jones v. R. R. Co., id. 284; Ballou v. R. R. Co., 26 Alb. L. J. 137; 5 A. & E. R. R. Cases, 480; Baldwin v. R. R. Co., 50 Iowa, 680; Mackin v. B. & A. R. R. Co., 135 Mass. 201; 15 A. & E. R. R. Cases, 196; Smith v. Potter, 2 id. 140.) Many things in railroad management are matters of executive detail, which must of necessity be intrusted to servants to perform, and neglect in those duties is not of the master. (Rose v. R. R. Co., 58 N.Y. 217; McCosker v. R. R. Co., 84 id. 77; Bissel v. R. R. Co., 70 id. 171.) There was want of proper care on part of the plaintiff. (Wood on Mast. and Serv., § § 335, 372, 373;

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Brown v. Maxwell, 6 Hill, 592; 2 Thompson on Neg., 1014, §§ 19, 20; McMillan v. R. R. Co., 20 Barb. 449; T. R. R. Co. v. Ashbury, 84 Ill. 429; R. R. Co. v. Jewell, 42 id. 99; Porter v. H. R. R. Co., 2 A. & E. R. R. Cases, 44; Gorton v. R. R. Co., 45 N.Y. 660; Hewitt v. R. R. Co., 3 Lans. 358; Tolman v. R. R. Co., 98 N.Y. 128.) It is the duty of the servant to make a vigilant use of his senses, for the purpose of ascertaining the condition of the appliances of which he is about to make use, so far as they are open to ordinary observation. (Lake Shore R. R. Co. v. McCormick, 5 A. & E. R. R. Cases, 474.) If the servant has the same knowledge, or means of knowledge, or the same opportunity of knowledge, with the master, of the defect complained of, such opportunity is in law knowledge and he is chargeable with its consequence. (Wood on Mast. and Serv., § 366; R. R. Co. v. Barber, 5 Ohio, 541; Loonam v. Brockway, 3 Robt. 74, 83.) If the defect is open to ordinary observation, the risk from it is assumed. (Wood on Mast. and Serv., § 335; Owen v. R. R. Co., 1 Lans. 108; Powers v. R. R. Co., 98 N.Y. 274.)

John W. Lyon for respondent. A railroad company owes to its employes the duty of providing and maintaining its operative machinery and appliances in good, safe and suitable repair, so as to protect them against danger, and those who are charged with the duty of providing and maintaining the machinery and appliances for the operation of a railroad represent the corporation, and their want of care and omission of duty in that respect is the negligence of the corporation itself. Ellis v. Erie Co., 95 N.Y. 546; De Kay v. Erie Co., 33 Hun, 665; Flike v. B. & A. R. R. Co., 53 N.Y. 549; Laning v. N.Y. C. R. R. Co., 79 id. 521; Connolly v. Pollion, 41 Barb. 366; Plank v. N.Y. C. R. R. Co., 60 N.Y. 607; Mehan v. S. B. & N.Y. R. R. Co., 73 id. 585; Booth v. B. & A. R. R. Co., id. 138; Muldooney v. Ill. C. R. R. Co., 36 Iowa, 462; Fay v. M. & St. L. Ry. Co., 15 N.W. 241...

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