101 N.Y. 419, Greany v. Long Island Railroad Co.

Citation:101 N.Y. 419
Party Name:ELLEN GREANY, Respondent, v. THE LONG ISLAND RAILROAD COMPANY, Appellant.
Case Date:March 02, 1886
Court:New York Court of Appeals
 
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Page 419

101 N.Y. 419

ELLEN GREANY, Respondent,

v.

THE LONG ISLAND RAILROAD COMPANY, Appellant.

New York Court of Appeal

March 2, 1886

         Argued December 17, 1885.

Page 420

         COUNSEL

         Edward E. Sprague for appellant. The court erred in allowing testimony, as to defendant's omission to sound the whistle and bell, from witnesses who were not in a position to have observed the signals. (Culhane v. N.Y. C. & H. R. R. R. Co., 60 N.Y. 133; McKeever v. N.Y. C. & H. R. R. R. Co., 88 id. 667; Chapman v. N.Y. C., 14 Hun, 485; Tolman v. S. B. & N.Y. 27 id. 325, 327.)

Page 421

Plaintiff should have been nonsuited on the ground of contributory negligence. (Salter v. U. & B. R., 88 N.Y. 42; 75 id. 279; Adolph v. C. P. N. & E. R., 76 id. 535; Tolman v. S. B. & N.Y. , 98 id. 198; Becht v. Corbin, 92 id. 658; Connelly v. N.Y. C., 88 id. 346; Byrne v. N.Y. C., 83 id. 620; 34 Iowa, 153; 5 Am. R. Rep., 469.)

         John Fleming for respondent. It was negligence in defendant not blowing whistle, or sounding bell at crossing. (3 Edm. Stat. [2d ed.] 643; Renwick v. N.Y. C. R. R. Co., 36 N.Y. 132, 133; Salter's Case, 59 id. 631; 88 id. 50.) It was negligence of the grossest kind in defendant running a train at high speed over a public highway within a few feet of its depot, while another train having just passed over the highway in an opposite direction was standing at that depot, receiving and discharging passengers, and its engine letting off steam; and when that depot was not the place for the trains of defendant to pass or meet each other, and when defendant omitted to give any signals or warning of the approaching fast train. (Salter's Case, 88 N.Y. 50; Brassels v. N.Y. C. & H. R. R. R. Co., 84 id. 274; Terry v. Jewett, 78 id. 344; Smedis v. Rockaway Beach R. R. Co., 88 id. 20; John v. H. R. R. R. Co., 20 id. 65; Renwick v. C. R. R. Co., 36 id. 132.) Nor would the ringing of bell or blowing of whistle, or both, relieve defendant under the circumstances disclosed by this case. (Cordell v. N.Y. C. & H. R. R. R. Co., 70 N.Y. 124; Smedis Case, 88 id. 20.) Whether plaintiff was guilty of contributory negligence was a question of fact. (Massoth v. D. & H. C. Co., 64 N.Y. 529; Schwier v. N.Y. C. & H. R. R. R. Co., 79 id. 73; Terry v. Jewett, 78 id. 342; Salter v. U. & B. R. R. R. Co., 88 id. 50; Hart v. H. R. R. R. Co., 80 id. 622; Shaw v. Jewett, 86 id. 616; Cassidy v. Angeli, 12 R. I. 447; Louisville C. & L. R. R. Co. v. Goetz, 79 Ky. 442; Mahar v. Grand T. R. R. Co., 19 Hun, 32; Tolman v. Syracuse, B. & N.Y. R. R., 98 N.Y. 198.) The plaintiff was not guilty of contributory negligence.

Page 422

(Johnson Case, 20 N.Y. 65; Brown Case, 32 id. 600; Beisigel Case, 34 id. 622; Mackay v. N.Y. C. R. R. Co., 35 id. 79; Ernst v. H. R. R. R. Co., id. 9; Eaton v. Erie R. Co., 51 id. 544; Roach v. Flushing R. R. Co., 58 id. 626; Carr Case, 60 id. 633; Mahar Case, 19 Hun, 32; Massoth v. D. & H. C. Co., 64 N.Y. 524; Stackus v. N.Y. C. & H. R. R. R. Co., 79 id. 464; Kellogg v. N.Y. C. & H. R. R. R. Co., 84 id. 244; Shaw v. Jewett, 86 id. 616; Barry v. N.Y. C. & H. R. R. R. Co., 92 id. 290; Terry v. Jewett, 86 id. 344; Louisville & Lexington R. R. Co. v. Goetz, 79 Ky. 442; Wanless Case, 9 Eng. Rep. [Moak's] 1; Schwier v. N.Y. C. & H. R. R. R. Co., 90 N.Y. 560; French v. Taunton R. R., 116 Mass. 537; Detroit & M. R. R. Co. v. Steinberg, 17 Mich. 99.) There was no error in the court allowing question put to witness as to hearing bell or whistle. (Salter v. U. & B. R. R., 59 N.Y. 631; Renwick v. N.Y. C. R. R. Co., 36 id. 132.) The circumstances of the case were such as to make listening for bell or whistle unavailing and to excuse plaintiff's witnesses from listening, or trying to listen. (Smedis Case, 88 N.Y. 19.)

         DANFORTH, J.

         The appellant concedes there was evidence upon which the jury might find negligence on its part, but contends:

         First. That certain negative evidence from persons who did not affirmatively appear to have been 'looking, watching, or listening for the ringing of a bell or sounding of a whistle, ' was improperly received to prove that those signals were not given; and Second. That the plaintiff should have been nonsuited on the ground of her contributory negligence.

         As to the first: It...

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