99 N.W. 406 (Mich. 1904), Howell v. Lansing City Electric Ry. Co.

Citation:99 N.W. 406, 136 Mich. 432
Opinion Judge:HOOKER, J.
Attorney:[136 Mich. 434] Cahill & Wood, for appellant. Frank L. Dodge and C. P. Black, for appellee.
Case Date:April 26, 1904
Court:Supreme Court of Michigan

Page 406

99 N.W. 406 (Mich. 1904)

136 Mich. 432




Supreme Court of Michigan

April 26, 1904

Error to Circuit Court, Ingham County; Howard Wiest, Judge.

Action by Sarah E. Howell against the Lansing City Electric Railway Company. There was judgment for plaintiff, and defendant brings error. Reversed.

[136 Mich. 434] Cahill & Wood, for appellant.

Frank L. Dodge and C. P. Black, for appellee.


The defendant's motorman lost control of the car he was in charge of, upon a grade on Washington avenue, in the city of Lansing. At the foot of the grade was a switch, and just beyond the switch the track turned upon Franklin avenue, which is intersected by Washington avenue at that point. It was customary for cars to meet and pass at the switch, and as the uncontrolled car passed over or beyond the switch the other car was visible, approaching, on Franklin avenue, a few hundred feet distant, and was seen by the plaintiff across the corner. In her alarm she arose and started for the door, and either went upon the platform and jumped from or was thrown from it, or, as her counsel claim, stood at the door and was thrown from the car as it turned the sharp curve in the road at the corner. The car proceeded until it collided with the other car. That she suffered a serious injury is not denied, but counsel for defense allege that it was due to her own want of care, which is claimed to have amounted to contributory negligence. The negligence charged was: (1) Allowing the car to be out of repair, whereby the brake was ineffective. (2) Putting the car in charge of an incompetent motorman. (3) Negligence of the motorman in managing the car.

[136 Mich. 435] There was testimony in the case that the brake rod had broken the day previous to that of the accident, and that it was repaired; that the brakeman had no reason to doubt the efficiency of the brake until he tried to use it, when it failed. There was another

Page 407

brake at the opposite end of the car. The motorman attempted to stop the car with this, but failed. So far as the proof indicates anything upon the subject, the motorman may have been justified in believing that the car could be stopped by the use of the brake. It was found after the accident that the brake rod was useless for want of a bolt. Evidence was given tending to show the degree of care which had been given to this car, and the failure of the repair to last more than 24 hours is some...

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