120 N.Y. 290, Brickell v. New York Cent. and Hudson River Railroad Co.

Citation:120 N.Y. 290
Party Name:THOMAS BRICKELL, Appellant, v. THE NEW YORK CENTRAL AND HUDSON RIVER RAILROAD COMPANY, Respondent.
Case Date:April 22, 1890
Court:New York Court of Appeals
 
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Page 290

120 N.Y. 290

THOMAS BRICKELL, Appellant,

v.

THE NEW YORK CENTRAL AND HUDSON RIVER RAILROAD COMPANY, Respondent.

New York Court of Appeal

April 22, 1890

Argued March 14, 1890.

Page 291

COUNSEL

C. H. Sedgwick for appellant. Plaintiff's contributory negligence was one of fact upon which the jury should have passed judgment. His acts were not inconsistent with ordinary human care and prudence. (Greaney v. L. I. R. R. Co., 101 N.Y. 423, 424; McCallum v. L. I. R. R. Co., 38 Hun, 572, 597; Little v. Hackett, 116 U.S. 366, 371, 381; S. C. S. R. Co. v. Eadie, 43 Ohio St. 91; W. S. T. & P. R. Co. v. Shacklet, 105 Ill. 364; McClain v. B. C. R. R. Co., 116 N.Y. 470; N.Y. , L. E. & W. R. Co., v. Steinbreiner, 47 N. J. L. 161; Dyer v. E. R. R. Co., 71 N.Y. 223; P. W. & B. R. R. Co. v. Hogeland, 9 East. 292; Robinson v. N.Y. C. R. R. Co., 66 N.Y. 11; B. C. v. Brisbane, 57 Am. Rep. 483, 488, 489-511; 36 Alb. L. J. 363.) Even if the rule of imputed negligence can be strained to cover this case, the question of Pulver's

Page 292

negligence should have been submitted to the jury. (Voak v. N.Y. C. & H. R. R. R. Co., 75 N.Y. 320; Cuyler v. Decker, 20 Hun, 175; Stackus Case, 79 N.Y. 464-469; Kellogg v. N.Y. C. & H. R. R. R. Co., 79 id. 76; Masterson v. N.Y. C. & H. R. R. R. Co., 84 id. 247; Shaw Case, 86 id. 616; Davis Case, 47 id. 400, 402.)

M. M. Waters for respondent. The plaintiff was not excused from the duty of both looking and listening by the fact that Pulver was with him and driving, even though it be conceded that plaintiff had neither the control of nor the right to control the horse. (Hoag v. N.Y. C. & H. R. R. R. Co., 111 N.Y. 199, 202, 203.) It is now generally accepted 'that it is in law dangerous, and, therefore, a negligent act, unless explained and justified by special circumstances, to attempt to cross a railroad track without looking for approaching trains.' (Solomon v. M. R. Co., 103 N.Y. 437, 443.) When plaintiff has been guilty of omitting the duties of looking and listening, and relies upon special circumstances to explain the omission, he has the burden of establishing the fact that the special circumstances are such as to show that both precautions were impossible or unavailing. (Tolman v. B. & N.Y. R. R. Co., 98 N.Y. 198, 204; McCall v. N.Y. C. R. R. Co., 54 id. 642.) Plaintiff has the burden of proving that he was not guilty of contributory negligence. (Lee v....

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