31 Vt. 79 (Vt. 1858), Harris v. Stevens

Citation:31 Vt. 79
Opinion Judge:PIERPOINT, J.
Attorney:E. R. Hard and J. French , for the plaintiff. Geo. F. Edmunds , for the defendants.
Court:Supreme Court of Vermont

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31 Vt. 79 (Vt. 1858)




Supreme Court of Vermont.

July, 1858

The rights and duties of railroad companies in regard to the admission of persons into their station-houses .

A railroad corporation, by erecting their station houses, and opening them to the public, impliedly license everybody to enter them. But this license is revocable as to all persons except those who have legitimate business there, growing out of the operation of the road, or with the officers or employees of the company. The corporation have the right to direct all other persons to depart therefrom, and, on their refusal to do so, may remove them.

It is the duty of every person, who desires to remain in a railroad station-house, for the purpose of taking the cars therefrom, to make known such intention to the officers of the company on being requested to do so; and, if such is the regulation of the company, he may be required to purchase a ticket before he can be permitted to remain in the depot.

One, who desires to take passage upon the cars, must exercise his right to enter and remain in the station-house in conformity with the due and reasonable regulations of the company as to his conduct while there; and he can not exercise it until a reasonable time next prior to the departure of the train on which he intends to go. What is such a reasonable time depends upon the circumstances of each particular case.

Therefore, where, in an action of trespass to the person, the defendant pleaded that he was the station agent of a railroad company, and that the alleged assault was necessarily committed in removing the plaintiff from the station-house, where he persisted in remaining after the defendant had requested him to leave; and the plaintiff replied, setting forth the obligation of the railroad company as a common carrier, and alleging that the plaintiff went into the station-house, and there purchased a ticket to another station, and that, while he was waiting there for the departure of the train on which he was intending by virtue of such ticket to go, the defendant committed the assault, etc.; Held , on special demurrer, that this replication was insufficient, because it did not allege that the train, on which he intended to go, and the departure of which he was then awaiting in the station-house, was expected soon to leave.

Held , also, that it was not necessary to allege in the replication, that the plaintiff went into the station-house with the purpose of traveling upon the cars, but that it was sufficient if it appeared that such purpose was formed after his entry and before the assault.

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TRESPASS for assault and battery. The defendant Parmalee pleaded specially, in substance, that at the time of the alleged trespass the Vermont and Canada Railroad Company was lawfully possessed of a certain close in Essex, called " Essex Junction Station," and that he was their agent, having the custody and control thereof; that the plaintiff entered said close, and there remained against the will of the company and its agent aforesaid, whereupon Parmalee requested him to depart therefrom forthwith; that he refused to do so, and that Parmalee thereupon gently laid his hands upon him for the purpose of removing him from the said close; that the plaintiff resisted and assaulted Parmalee, whereupon the latter necessarily did a little assault and beat the plaintiff in order to accomplish the said purpose.

The defendants, Tichout and Erasmus Stevens, each pleaded substantially the same facts, justifying the alleged trespass, as committed on their part, as the servants and by the direction of Parmalee.

To these pleas the plaintiff replied as follows: that the said Vermont and Canada Railroad Company long before and at the said time, when, etc., was the owner of a certain public highway,

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commonly called a railroad, lying and being contiguous to the said close in said several pleas mentioned, which said railroad was at and during the time aforesaid, used and employed by the said railroad company, and by certain other railroad companies, as a public and common carrier for the transportation and carrying of passengers and freight on said railroad.

And the said close in the said several pleas mentioned, was at the said time, when, etc., and long before had been a public and common depot or station, used in connection with, and for the accommodation and convenience of said railroad, at which, at and during the time aforesaid, the engines, carriages and cars of the said railroad companies were accustomed to and did stop for the purpose of receiving and discharging passengers and freight, and for other purposes connected with the business so transacted upon said railroads. And as such public station or depot, the said close was at and during said time lawfully visited and resorted to by all persons having occasion so to do. And the said plaintiff further saith that just before the said time, when, etc., he, the plaintiff, went in and upon the said close, so being such depot and station as aforesaid, and then and there contracted with the said Vermont and Canada Railroad Company, as such common carriers, at and for a certain reasonable consideration, then and there paid to the said railroad company by the said plaintiff, to carry the said plaintiff upon the said railroad and upon the Vermont Central Railroad from the said depot or station to a certain other depot or station in Williston, and then and there received of and from the said Vermont and Canada Railroad Company a certain instrument called a passenger ticket, in due form indicating the right of the plaintiff to be carried as aforesaid.

And that while the said plaintiff was in and upon the said close, and after the making of the said contract with the said Vermont and Canada Railroad Company, and before the performance thereof by the said Vermont and Canada Railroad Company, and while the said plaintiff so held the said ticket and was waiting in said close, so being such depot or station as aforesaid, for the departure of the cars in and upon which the plaintiff intended, and by virtue of the contract and ticket aforesaid had a lawful

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right, to go from said last mentioned depot or station to said station or depot in said Williston, and before the departure of the cars, they, the said defendants, William G., Erasmus, and Stephen D., well knowing that such contract had been made and that the said plaintiff held the said ticket as aforesaid, unlawfully and of their own wrong committed the said several trespasses in the introductory part of said several pleas mentioned, in manner and form as the said plaintiff hath above in his said declaration alleged, etc., etc.

To this replication the defendants, whose pleas are above stated, demurred upon the following grounds:

1. Because it did not allege, except by way of argument and inference, that the plaintiff went upon the said close for the purpose or with the intent either to go to Williston or to purchase a ticket.

2. Because it did not distinctly or properly allege that after the purchase of the ticket the plaintiff was about to go upon the cars upon that occasion, nor that at the time of the assault he in fact intended to go immediately, or on the next train, to Williston.

3. Because it did not allege that Parmalee, on the occasion of committing the assault, knew that the plaintiff then intended, or was waiting, to go on the next train to Williston.

The county court, at the November Term, 1857,- BENNETT, J., presiding,- by consent of the parties, adjudged pro forma the replication insufficient, and rendered judgment for the demurring defendants, to which the plaintiff excepted.

E. R. Hard and J. French , for the plaintiff.

I. The facts stated in the replication are, in substance , a sufficient answer to the pleas.

1. The railroad being a public highway, and the close in question a public depot connected with and used exclusively for the accommodation of the railroad, the plaintiff was lawfully upon the close at the time of the alleged battery, and had a right to...

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