251 U.S. 259 (1920), 118, Southern Pacific Co. v. Industrial

Docket Nº:No. 118
Citation:251 U.S. 259, 40 S.Ct. 130, 64 L.Ed. 258
Party Name:Southern Pacific Co. v. Industrial
Case Date:January 05, 1920
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 259

251 U.S. 259 (1920)

40 S.Ct. 130, 64 L.Ed. 258

Southern Pacific Co.



No. 118

United States Supreme Court

Jan. 5, 1920

Accident Commission of California

Submitted December 18, 1919




Certiorari is the proper means of reviewing a judgment of a state court affirming an award against a railroad company under a workmen's compensation law where the federal question upon which the applicability, as distinct from the validity, of that law depends is whether the injured employee was engaged in interstate commerce. P. 262.

A lineman engaged in the necessary work of wiping the insulators supporting a main wire, in use at the time as a conductor of electricity which, flowing from it through a transformer, and thence along the trolley-wires of a railroad, moved cars in interstate and intrastate commerce, held employed in interstate commerce within the Federal Employers' Liability Act. Id.

178 Cal. 20 reversed.

The case is stated in the opinion.

Page 262

MCREYNOLDS, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE McREYNOLDS delivered the opinion of the Court.

William T. Bulter, husband of respondent Mary E. Butler, was killed at Oakland, California, while employed by the Southern Pacific Company as an electric lineman. The supreme court of the state affirmed an award rendered by the California Industrial Commission against the company, and the cause is properly here by writ of certiorari.

The fatal accident, which occurred June 21, 1917, arose out of and happened in the course of deceased's employment. He

received an electric shock while wiping insulators, which caused him to fall from a steel power pole, producing injury which proximately caused his death.

At that time, the company, a common carrier by railroad, maintained a power house at Fruitvale, California, where it manufactured the electric current which moved its cars engaged in both interstate and intrastate commerce. From the generators, this current passed along main lines or cables, through a reduction and transforming station, to the trolley wires, and thence to the motors. When he received the electric shock, deceased was engaged in work on one of the main lines necessary to keep it in serviceable condition. If such work was part of interstate commerce, the Workmen's...

To continue reading