American Fidelity & Cas. Co. v. Thompson, 31290.

CourtUnited States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
Writing for the CourtPARKER, Judge.
Citation39 S.E.2d 443,74 Ga.App. 189
Docket Number31290.
Decision Date05 September 1946

39 S.E.2d 443

74 Ga.App. 189



No. 31290.

Court of Appeals of Georgia, Division No. 2.

September 5, 1946

Syllabus by the Court.

A passenger riding on the busses of common carriers for hire, from a point in Florida through Georgia and into South Carolina, on a through ticket and continuous journey, her destination being known to the initial carrier, although she changed from the bus of the first carrier to the bus of a connecting carrier at a point in Florida, was transported throughout the journey in interstate commerce.

(a) The rights and remedies of a passenger in interstate commerce, for injuries sustained on account of the negligence of the carrier, are controlled by the Federal Motor Carrier Act, and state statutes regulating motor transportation do not apply.

(b) The court erred in admitting in evidence the Florida statutes and in overruling the defendant's motion for new trial.

Andrews & Nall, A. Walton Nall, Hal Lindsay, and A. C. Latimer, all of Atlanta, for plaintiff in error.

Wm. Lamar Hailey, of Hartwell, for defendant in error.

PARKER, Judge.

Mrs. Thompson (the defendant in error) sued Florida Motor Lines Corporation, a common carrier for hire, and American Fidelity and Casualty Company, Inc. (the plaintiff in error), as its insurer, for damages for injuries alleged to have been received in an accident at Fort Pierce, Florida. It was alleged that Florida Motor Lines Corporation operated busses between Jacksonville and Miami, Florida, and also operated 'in interstate commerce in transporting passengers for hire into or through [74 Ga.App. 190] Georgia with trips originating in Florida' (par. 4); and that plaintiff purchased a ticket at the bus terminal in [39 S.E.2d 444] West Palm Beach, Florida, which entitled her to passage on the defendant carrier's bus from West Palm Beach 'via and through the State of Georgia' to Greenwood, South Carolina, and that after boarding the bus she was transported as far as Fort Pierce where the injuries were sustained (par. 9).

American Fidelity and Casualty Company, Inc., filed an answer subject to a general demurrer and plea of misjoinder of causes of action, but the answer only appears in the record. No appearance was made for the other defendant so far as the record shows. The plaintiff amended her petition by striking the name of Florida Motor Lines Corporation as a party defendant, and by alleging that at the time of the accident referred to in the original petition the Florida Motor Lines Corporation 'was engaged wholly in intrastate business and that the ticket referred to in paragraph nine of plaintiff's petition designated that she [was] entitled to passage on bus of Florida Motor Lines only so far as Jacksonville, Florida, and from thereon to Greenwood, South Carolina, over the Greyhound Line'.

The plaintiff testified on the trial in part as follows: 'I had gotten on the bus at West Palm Beach coming to Greenwood, South Carolina. * * * My ticket was bought to Greenwood, South Carolina. * * * I bought a ticket at West Palm Beach to Greenwood, South Carolina, over the Florida Motor Lines and got on the bus to go to Greenwood. I was going to stop in Greenwood where I had two daughters. I was not going to stop anywhere between West Palm Beach and Greenwood; I was going direct.' Upon being recalled after the defendant had rested, the plaintiff testified further as follows: 'You ask me whether I planned any stop-over from West Palm Beach to Greenwood, and you state my answer was that I did not--I didn't stop but I changed busses at Jacksonville, is the only stop. I didn't stop to visit anybody, but I mean I changed busses in Jacksonville, I left the Motor Line bus there and caught a Greyhound. I bought a ticket from the Florida Motor Lines in West Palm Beach. That ticket called for Jacksonville because the bus didn't come out of there. The Florida Motor Lines doesn't run out of Jacksonville, and the remaining portion of the ticket called for Greenwood on the Greyhound bus. I bought [74 Ga.App. 191] my ticket in West Palm Beach direct through to Greenwood, and made a change in Jacksonville; changed busses in Jacksonville.'

The plaintiff offered in evidence the provisions of the Florida statutes applicable to the regulation and control of auto transportation companies transporting persons or property, and providing for the giving of bonds or the filing of insurance policies to indemnify passengers and the public sustaining personal injuries for any act of negligence of such companies and for damages to property. The statutes tendered in evidence authorized a direct action on such bonds or insurance policies 'by any person or persons who shall have sustained an actionable injury protected thereby.' F.S.A. § 323.06. Counsel for the defendant objected to this evidence upon the ground that it was immaterial and inapplicable, and because the statutes did not authorize the direct action against the defendant, and that such action would have to...

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