191 U.S. 64 (1903), 26, Choctaw, Oklahoma & Gulf Railroad Company v. McDade

Docket Nº:No. 26
Citation:191 U.S. 64, 24 S.Ct. 24, 48 L.Ed. 96
Party Name:Choctaw, Oklahoma & Gulf Railroad Company v. McDade
Case Date:November 02, 1903
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 64

191 U.S. 64 (1903)

24 S.Ct. 24, 48 L.Ed. 96

Choctaw, Oklahoma & Gulf Railroad Company



No. 26

United States Supreme Court

November 2, 1903

Submitted October 14, 1903




It is the duty of a railroad company to use due care to provide a reasonably safe place and safe appliances for the use of workmen in its employ. It is obliged to use the same degree of care to provide properly constructed roadbed, structures, and track to be used in the operation of the road.

The servant has a right to assume that the master has used due diligence in providing suitable appliances for the operation of his business, and does not assume the risk of the employer's negligence in making such provision.

While an employee who continues without objection in his master's employ with knowledge of a defective apparatus assumes the hazard incident to the situation, unless the evidence plainly shows the assumption of the risk, it is a question properly left to the jury.

The facts appear in the opinion of the court.

Page 65

DAY, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE DAY delivered the opinion of the Court.

This was an action to recover for the death by wrongful act of John I. McDade, an employee of the Choctaw, Oklahoma & Gulf Railroad Company. The plaintiff recovered a judgment in the circuit court, which was affirmed in the court of appeals. 112 F. 888.

There was evidence tending to show that McDade, a brakeman in the employ of the company, was killed on the night of August 19, 1900, while engaged in the discharge of his duties as head brakeman on a car in one of the company's trains. McDade was at his post of duty, and, when last seen, was transmitting a signal from the conductor to the engineer to run past the station of Goodwin, Arkansas, which the train was then approaching. The train passed Goodwin at a rate of from twenty and twenty-five miles an hour. At Goodwin, there was a water tank, having attached thereto an iron spout which, when not in use, hung at an angle from the side of the tank. Shortly after passing Goodwin, McDade was missed from the train, and, upon search being instituted, his lantern was found near the place on the car where he was at the time of giving the signal. His body was found at a distance of about six hundred and seventy-five feet beyond the Goodwin tank. There was also testimony tending to show, from the location of the waterspout and the injuries upon the head and person of McDade, that he was killed as a result of being struck by the overhanging spout. The car upon which McDade was engaged at the time of the injury was a...

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