26 N.E. 1086 (Ill. 1891), Joliet, A. & N.R. Co. v. Velie

Citation:26 N.E. 1086
Opinion Judge:MAGRUDER, J.
Party Name:JOLIET, A. & N. RY. CO. v. VELIE.
Attorney:Williams, Holt & Wheeler, for appellant. A. J. Hopkins, N. J. Aldrich, and F. H. Thatcher, for appellee.
Case Date:March 30, 1891
Court:Supreme Court of Illinois

Page 1086

26 N.E. 1086 (Ill. 1891)




Supreme Court of Illinois

March 30, 1891

Appeal from appellate court, second district.

Page 1087

Williams, Holt & Wheeler, for appellant.

A. J. Hopkins, N. J. Aldrich, and F. H. Thatcher, for appellee.


This is an action on the case, begun on April 23, 1888, by the appellee against the appellant company in the circuit court of Kane county, to recover damages for a personal injury. The plea was not guilty. The first trial resulted in a verdict in favor of the plaintiff for $15,000. A new trial was granted. The second trial has resulted in verdict and judgment in favor of the plaintiff for $14,000. This judgment has been affirmed by the appellate court, and the judgment of the latter court is brought here for review by appeal. The railroad of the defendant runs from Aurora to Joliet, and is only 24 miles long. The plaintiff entered the service of the defendant as conductor on August 17, 1886, and continued in such position from that time until April 22, 1887, when he was injured. The defendant had only one track between Aurora and Joliet, with two side tracks, one on each side of the main track, at the intermediate town of Plainfield. These side tracks were for switching purposes, and cars were left upon them to be loaded or unloaded. The company had only one locomotive and one car; the latter a combination passenger and baggage car. It had no freight cars of its own. Besides the local passenger traffic, its business was to haul freight cars for other roads between the two termini. Its switching at Joliet was done for it by the Chicago & Alton Railroad Company. The cars were switched onto its track at Joliet from the different roads centering there, and hauled by it to Aurora, where they were unloaded, and then taken back to Joliet. The company had no turn-table at Aurora, and the engine was obliged to 'back up' either from Aurora to Joliet, or from Joliet to Aurora. Some switching was usually done at Plainfield for the purpose of rearranging the cars. The road was a new one, and when plaintiff began his service the ballasting and surfacing of the road were not yet finished, although the track was laid. The only men on the train besides the plaintiff were a fireman, an engineer, and an inexperienced person acting as brakeman. On the day of the accident the plaintiff started from Aurora with two or three freight-cars, the 'nose,' or pilot, of the engine being attached to the forward car. When the train reached Plainfield the freight-cars were backed upon one of the side tracks, and the plaintiff attempted to uncouple the forward car from the engine. The hand-rail upon the end of the freight-car was mashed in against the car, so that the plaintiff, when step ping between the car and the engine to do the uncoupling, was unable to take hold of the rail, and fell forward, and was thrown under the engine. One of his legs was mangled and cut off. His ribs were torn from the breast bone. Internal injuries were received, and his nervous system has been completely shattered. The car whose hand-rail was thus defective came from the Santa Fe road at Joliet to the road of the defendant...

To continue reading