Amerson v. Corona Coal & Iron Co.

Decision Date03 June 1915
Docket Number61
Citation69 So. 601,194 Ala. 175
PartiesAMERSON v. CORONA COAL & IRON CO.
CourtAlabama Supreme Court

Rehearing Denied June 30, 1915

Appeal from Circuit Court, Walker County; J.J. Curtis, Judge.

Action by M.M. Amerson, as administrator against the Corona Coal &amp Iron Company. Judgment for defendant, and plaintiff appeals. Reversed and remanded.

The complaint alleges that plaintiff's intestate was employed by defendant, and while engaged in the duties of his employment a piece of rock or slate fell from the roof of the mine, striking plaintiff's intestate and killing him. The first count declares for a failure to furnish plaintiff's intestate a reasonably safe place in which to work. The second count declares as for a defect in the ways, works machinery, and plant, in that the rocks or slate were loose unsafe, and liable to fall. The third count declares the negligence of Norris, the superintendent, in giving negligent orders. The fourth count declares upon the negligence of the same superintendent in negligently placing plaintiff's intestate at a place where the rock or slate was loose. The fifth count was like the first, and went out on demurrer. The contested question seems to have been whether Freeman or the Corona Coal & Iron Company was the employer. The evidence sufficiently appears from the opinion.

Ray &amp Cooner, of Jasper, for appellant.

Davis & Fite, of Jasper, for appellee.

THOMAS J.

In Tobler v. Pioneer Mining & Manufacturing Co., 166 Ala. 517, 52 So. 86, this court declared the rule to be that where the plaintiff has introduced his evidence, and it does not tend to prove the cause of action, the court may refuse to hear the evidence of the defendant; but it is only in the absence of all evidence against the defendant that the court should direct a verdict. If there be any evidence which tends to establish the plaintiff's cause, the court should not withdraw the case from the jury, or direct a verdict. It is not for the court to judge of the sufficiency of the evidence, or to decide which of conflicting tendencies of the evidence should be adopted by the jury. McCormack Co. v. Lowe, 151 Ala. 313, 44 So. 47; M., J. & K.C.R.R. Co. v. Bromberg, 141 Ala. 258, 284, 37 So. 395; Shipp et al. v. Shelton, 69 So. 102.

If there was evidence in the cause tending to show that the Corona Coal & Iron Company was really operating the mine, and not J.S. Freeman, then the court committed error in giving the affirmative charge for the defendant. The evidence showed that the Corona Coal & Iron Company issued checks in its name to pay the injured party and others working with him, such checks being good in the purchase of merchandise at the two commissaries of the company, and that the company deducted from the amount of his wages certain insurance premiums, as shown by the "cutting blank of the Corona Coal & Iron Company," signed by "Geo. Adams, Timekeeper"; that the checks for time or wages were turned in at the office of the company, and the money was paid thereon by the company; and that the mines being operated belonged to the company, and had so belonged to it for many years. One witness testified how the coal was carried to a side track by mules and thence by motor; that the mules used had been in the mines six years; that he would say that the Corona Coal & Iron Company was the one that had been keeping these mules; that "the commissary at Corona is called the Corona Coal & Iron Company's commissary"; that prior to that time the Corona Coal & Iron Company had operated No. 3 opening and had a blacksmith shop in connection with the mines; that he had seen Jim Freeman "working for the Corona Coal & Iron Company," prior to the time of this injury at Patton, and that he was in and out of the mines and giving orders to his men; that Freeman employed witness to work in the mines; that he had an office "next to the Corona office" where the time sheet was kept, where the time was turned in; that the employés went from there to the Corona Coal & Iron Company's office and got checks in payment for time employed or labor performed. One of the miners, as a witness, stated that he was working for Freeman; and another stated that: "I don't reckon I was working for Mr. Freeman. I was working for the Corona Coal & Iron Company." The evidence showed that Mr. Freeman did not have a commissary, but that the company did.

The defendant introduced a contract between J.S. Freeman and Mr Pill, for the Corona Coal & Iron Company, of date January 1, 1913, leasing for a period of six months the mine where the accident occurred on January 17, 1913, and introduced a witness employed by Mr. Freeman, who testified that he got checks of the same kind that he had received from the Corona Coal & Iron Company at the other mines. Defendant introduced as a witness the general manager of the Corona Coal & Iron Company, who testified that the mine where the injury occurred was being operated under lease by Mr. Freeman, on the day of the injury, under the contract introduced in evidence; and on cross-examination he stated that the mine was owned by the Corona Coal & Iron Company, that their mules hauled the coal on their rails and tracks with the company's tram cars, but that Freeman was in possession under the lease, and that the company's engineers surveyed the mines and filed the plot of the mine in the state department in the name of the Corona Coal & Iron Company. The witness then explained what he meant, in his...

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69 cases
  • Nashville, C. & St. L. Ry. v. Crosby
    • United States
    • Alabama Supreme Court
    • October 14, 1915
    ...821. This clearly states the long-established rule of law declaring when the affirmative charge should not be given. In Amerson v. Corona Coal & Iron Co., 69 So. 601, court said: "If there be any evidence which tends to establish the plaintiff's cause, the court should not withdraw the case......
  • Birmingham Southern R. Co. v. Harrison
    • United States
    • Alabama Supreme Court
    • January 16, 1919
    ... ... sought by defendant's refused charge 3. Amerson v ... Coronoa, etc., Co., 194 Ala. 175, 69 So. 601; Tobler ... v ... ...
  • McMillan v. Aiken
    • United States
    • Alabama Supreme Court
    • November 18, 1920
    ...adverse to such party, the general charge should not be given (Ringeman v. Wiggs Bros., 146 Ala. 685, 40 So. 323; [1] Amerson v. Coronoa Coal & Iron Co., supra). The jury may such inferences from the facts proved as they believe reasonable (Jones v. Bell, 201 Ala. 336, 77 So. 998; N., C. & ......
  • Crim v. Louisville & N.R. Co.
    • United States
    • Alabama Supreme Court
    • January 13, 1921
    ...an inference adverse to such party, the general charge should not be given (Ringeman v. Wiggs Bros., 146 Ala. 685, 40 So. 323; Amerson v. Corona C. & I. Co., supra). The jury may draw inferences from the facts proved as they believe reasonable ( Jones v. Bell, 201 Ala. 336, 77 So. 998; N.C.......
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