98 N.Y. 198, Tolman v. Syracuse, B. & N.Y.R. Co.

Citation:98 N.Y. 198
Party Name:CYNTHIA A. TOLMAN, as Administratrix, etc., Respondent, v. THE SYRACUSE, BINGHAMTON AND NEW YORK RAILROAD COMPANY, Appellant.
Case Date:February 10, 1885
Court:New York Court of Appeals
 
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Page 198

98 N.Y. 198

CYNTHIA A. TOLMAN, as Administratrix, etc., Respondent,

v.

THE SYRACUSE, BINGHAMTON AND NEW YORK RAILROAD COMPANY, Appellant.

New York Court of Appeal

February 10, 1885

Argued January 22, 1884.

Page 199

COUNSEL

Louis Marshall for appellant. The evidence on the question of the defendant's negligence was not sufficient to justify its submission to the jury as against the affirmative evidence of both the plaintiff's and defendant's witnesses that the statutory signals were given. ( Culhane v. N.Y. C. & H. R. R. R. Co., 60 N.Y. 133; McKeefer v. Same, 88 Id . 667; Davis v. N.Y. C. R. R. Co., 47 Id . 402; Chapman v. Same, 14 Hun, 484; Salter v. U. & B. R. R. Co., 59 Id . 631.) The evidence, failing to show affirmatively that the plaintiff was not guilty of contributory negligence, omits proof which is an essential prerequisite of a recovery by the plaintiff. ( Wilds v. H. R. R. R. Co., 24 N.Y. 430; Hale v. Smith, 78 Id . 480; Reynolds v. N.Y. C. & H. R. R. R. Co., 58 Id . 248; Warner v. Same, 44 Id . 471; Hart v. Hudson River Bridge Co., 84 Id . 56; Cordell v. N.Y. C. & H. R. R. R. Co., 75 Id . 330; Riceman v. Havemeyer, 84 Id . 647; Glendenning v. Sharpe, 22 Hun, 78; Kinney v. N.Y. & M. B. R. R.

Page 200

Co., 13 Weekly Dig. 61; Miller v. N.Y. C. & H. R. R. R. Co., Id . 145; Becht v. Corbin, 92 N.Y. 658.)Since it appeared that the plaintiff's intestate could have seen the train in time to avoid the accident, he must be presumed either to have seen it and to have rushed across the track in utter disregard of his own safety, or else to have failed to look and listen for the train. In either event he is equally guilty of contributory negligence. ( Wilds v. H. R. R. R. Co., 24 N.Y. 430; Connolly v. N.Y. C. & H. R. R. R. Co., 38 Id . 346; Salter v. U. & B. R. R. R. Co., 75 Id . 273.) The positive testimony of an unimpeached, uncontradicted witness cannot be disregarded by the court or jury arbitrarily or capriciously. ( Newton v. Pope, 1 Cow. 109; Lomer v. Meeker, 25 N.Y. 361; Robinson v. McManus, 4 Lans. 387; Satterthwaite v. Freeland, 5 T. & C. 366; Seibert v. E. Ry. Co., 49 Barb. 583; Culhane v. N.Y. C. R. R. Co., 67 Barb. 562; Elwood v. W. U. Tel. Co., 45 N.Y. 549; Wohlfart v. Beckert, 92 Id . 490; Kavanagh v. Wilson, 70 Id . 177; Gildersleeve v. Landon, 73 Id . 609; Koehler v. Adler, 78 Id . 287.) If a fog existed, which affected the ability of the deceased to see, his duty to exercise active vigilance increased. ( Chapman v. N.Y. C. R. R. Co., 14 Hun, 484; Weber v. N.Y. C. R. R. Co., 58 N.Y. 451; Grippen v. N.Y. C. R. R. Co., 40 Id . 48.)

T. K. Fuller for respondent. The question of the defendant's negligence was properly submitted to the jury. ( Ernst v. H. R. R. R. Co., 35 N.Y. 9; Renwick v. N.Y. C. & H. R. R. R. Co., 36 Id . 132; Smedis v. B. & R. B. R. R. Co., 88 Id . 13, 19; 14 N.Y. Weekly Dig. 24; Powell v. N.Y. C. & H. R. R. R. Co., 22 Hun, 56; Roach v. Flushing, etc., R. R. Co., 58 N.Y. 626; Salter v. U. & B. R. R. R. Co., 59 Id . 631; S. C., 88 Id . 42; McGrath v. N.Y. C. & H. R. R. R. Co., 63 Id . 522; Kellogg v. N.Y. & H. R. R. Co., 79 Id . 72; McKeever v. Same, 88 Id . 667; Massoth v. D. & H. C. Co., 64 Id . 524; Shaw v. Jewett, Receiver, etc., 13 Weekly Dig. 80; Putnam v. N.Y. C. & H. R. R. R. Co., 16 Id . 114; Voak v. Nor. Cen. R....

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