Atlantic Coast Line R. Co. v. Richardson

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Florida
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM.
Citation157 So. 17,117 Fla. 10
Decision Date15 October 1934
PartiesATLANTIC COAST LINE R. CO. v. RICHARDSON.

157 So. 17

117 Fla. 10

ATLANTIC COAST LINE R. CO.
v.
RICHARDSON.

Florida Supreme Court

October 15, 1934


En Banc.

Error to Circuit Court, Pinellas County; O. L. Dayton, Judge.

Action by Mrs. Fannie Richardson against the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Company. Judgment for plaintiff, and defendant brings error.

Affirmed.

COUNSEL [117 Fla. 11] Kelly & Shaw, of Tampa, for plaintiff in error.

W. G. Ramseur and J. Carl Lambdin, both of St. Petersburg, B. K. Roberts, of Tallahassee, and A. L. Porter, of Crawfordville, for defendant in error.

OPINION

PER CURIAM.

A writ of error in this case brought up for consideration certain charges of the court that were given to the jury on the basis of sections 7051, 7052, C. G. L., sections 4964, 4965, R. G. S., creating a presumption of negligence [157 So. 18] against railroad companies in case of damage to persons, stock, or other property by running of locomotives or cars and for damage done by any person in the employ or service of such company. It was argued on behalf of the plaintiff in error that in view of the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Western & Atlantic R. Co., v. Henderson, 279 U.S. 639, 49 S.Ct. 445, 73 L.Ed. 884, the Florida statute must now be held to be in violation of the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The statute had been upheld as valid by this court and applied in the following cases: Atlantic Coast Line R. Co. v. Crosby, 53 Fla. 400, 43 So. 318; Seaboard Air Line Ry. Co. v. Thompson, 57 Fla. 155, 48 So. 750; Stevens v. Tampa Electric Co., 81 Fla. 512, 88 So. 303; Payne v. McKinnon, 81 Fla. 583, 88 So. 495; Seaboard Air Line Ry. Co. v. Myrick, 91 Fla. 918, 109 So. 193; Florida East Coast Ry. Co. v. Davis, 96 Fla. 171, 117 So. 842; Morris v. Florida Cent. & P. R. Co., 43 Fla. 10, [117 Fla. 12] 29 So. 541; Louisville & N. R. Co. v. Rhoda, 73 Fla. 12, 74 So. 19; Seaboard Air Line Ry. Co. v. Moseley, 60 Fla. 186, 53 So. 718; Jones v. Jacksonville Electric Co., 56 Fla. 452, 47 So. 1; Atlantic Coast Line R. Co. v. Watkins, 97 Fla. 350, 121 So. 95; Florida R. Co., v. Dorsey, 59 Fla. 260, 52 So. 963; Atlantic Coast Line Ry. Co. v. Hamlett, 81 Fla. 872, 89 So. 337; Williams v. Hines, 80 Fla. 690, 86 So. 695; Atlantic Coast Line R. Co. v. Webb, 112 Fla. 449, 150 So. 741. The Florida statute was attacked as unconstitutional but upheld by the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for this jurisdiction in the case of Kirch v. Atlantic Coast Line R. Co., 38 F. (2d) 963, 964, wherein Bryan, United States Circuit Judge, speaking for that court, said:

'It is argued that section 7051, which undertakes to create the presumption of negligence as against railroad companies upon proof of injury, violates the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment; and it is pointed out that an exactly similar statute of the state of Georgia has been held to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in Western & Atlantic R. R. v. Henderson, 279 U.S. 639, 49 S.Ct. 445, 447, 73 L.Ed. 884. There is no doubt that the Florida statute was copied from the Georgia statute; but the Florida Supreme Court has given to it a construction that is different from the construction which the Supreme Court held in the Henderson Case has been given by the Supreme Court of Georgia. In the just cited case it was said that the statute as construed by the Georgia decisions 'creates an inference that is given effect of evidence to be weighed against opposing testimony, and is to prevail unless such testimony is found by the jury to preponderate.' The uniform construction of the statute by the Supreme Court of Florida is that it merely creates a presumption [117 Fla. 13] that disappears and comes to an end upon the submission of proof by a railroad company that its agents have exercised ordinary and reasonable care Atlantic Coast Line Ry. Co. v. Crosby, 53 Fla 400, 43 So. 318; Seaboard Air Line Ry. Co. v Thompson, 57 Fla. 155, 48 So. 750; Stevens v. Tampa Electric Co., 81 Fla. 512, 88 So. 303; Payne v. McKinnon, 81 Fla. 583, 88 So. 495; Seaboard Air Line Ry. Co. v. Myrick, 91 Fla. 918, 109 So. 193; Florida East Coast Ry. Co. v. Davis, 96 Fla. 171, 117 So. 842. That statute as so construed has the same meaning as the Mississippi statute, which makes proof of injury in like cases prima facie evidence of the acts of negligence alleged in the declaration. The Mississippi statute was upheld by the Supreme Court in Mobile, etc., R. Co. v. Turnipseed, 219 U.S. 35, 31 S.Ct. 136, 55 L.Ed. 78, 32 L. R. A. (N. S.) 226, Ann. Cas. 1912A, 463. The construction which a state, through its highest court, places upon its own statute is binding upon us. Minnesota Iron Co. v. Kline, 199 U.S. 593, 26 S.Ct. 159, 50 L.Ed. 322; mobile, etc., R. Co. v. Turnipseed, supra; W. & A. R. Co. v. Henderson, supra. We are therefore of opinion that section 7051 of the Compiled Statutes of Florida does not violate the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. The judgment is reversed, and the cause remanded for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.'

When this case was orally argued before this court on March 17, 1933, the court was advised that the question of unconstitutionality of the Florida statute was being presented to the Supreme Court of the United States in the cases of Stringfellow v. Atlantic...

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9 practice notes
  • Powell v. Jackson Grain Co.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 24 de outubro de 1938
    ...also, Stringfellow v. Atlantic Coast Line R. Co., 290 U.S. 322, 54 S.Ct. 175, 78 L.Ed. 339, and Atlantic Coast Line Ry. Co. v. Richardson, 117 Fla. 10, 157 So. 17. Under the last above quoted statute, when in a trial by jury, the evidence has all been submitted, a verdict for the defendant ......
  • Seaboard Air Line R. Co. v. Bailey, No. 13343.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • 9 de julho de 1951
    ...jeep. 2 Western & Atlantic R. R. Co. v. Henderson, 279 U.S. 639, 49 S.Ct. 445, 73 L.Ed. 884; Atlantic Coast Line R. R. Co. v. Richardson, 117 Fla. 10, 157 So. 17; Kirch v. Atlantic Coast Line R. R. Co., 5 Cir., 38 F.2d 963; Atlantic Coast Line R. R. Co. v. Claughton, 5 Cir., 75 F.2d 626; At......
  • Willis v. Hillsborough County
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 15 de outubro de 1934
    ...99 Fla. 795, 128 So. 408; Glass v. Craig, 83 Fla. 408, 91 So. 332. See, also, Cherry v. Brizzolara, 89 Ark. 309, 116 S.W. 668, 21 L. R. A. [117 Fla. 10] (N. S.) 508; Grymes v. Sanders, 3 Otto (93 U. S.) 55, 23 L.Ed. 798. The county commissioners should have known the true condition of the p......
  • Lawson v. Loftin
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 9 de março de 1945
    ...the presumption created by Section 768.05, Fla. Statutes 1941, same F.S.A., disappeared. See Atlantic Coast Line R. Co. v. Richardson, 117 Fla. 10, 12, 157 So. 17; Atlantic Coast Line R. Co. v. Crosby, 53 Fla. 400, 43 So. 318; Florida East Coast R. Co. v. Smith, 61 Fla. 218, 55 So. 871; Flo......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
9 cases
  • Powell v. Jackson Grain Co.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 24 de outubro de 1938
    ...also, Stringfellow v. Atlantic Coast Line R. Co., 290 U.S. 322, 54 S.Ct. 175, 78 L.Ed. 339, and Atlantic Coast Line Ry. Co. v. Richardson, 117 Fla. 10, 157 So. 17. Under the last above quoted statute, when in a trial by jury, the evidence has all been submitted, a verdict for the defendant ......
  • Seaboard Air Line R. Co. v. Bailey, No. 13343.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • 9 de julho de 1951
    ...jeep. 2 Western & Atlantic R. R. Co. v. Henderson, 279 U.S. 639, 49 S.Ct. 445, 73 L.Ed. 884; Atlantic Coast Line R. R. Co. v. Richardson, 117 Fla. 10, 157 So. 17; Kirch v. Atlantic Coast Line R. R. Co., 5 Cir., 38 F.2d 963; Atlantic Coast Line R. R. Co. v. Claughton, 5 Cir., 75 F.2d 626; At......
  • Willis v. Hillsborough County
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 15 de outubro de 1934
    ...99 Fla. 795, 128 So. 408; Glass v. Craig, 83 Fla. 408, 91 So. 332. See, also, Cherry v. Brizzolara, 89 Ark. 309, 116 S.W. 668, 21 L. R. A. [117 Fla. 10] (N. S.) 508; Grymes v. Sanders, 3 Otto (93 U. S.) 55, 23 L.Ed. 798. The county commissioners should have known the true condition of the p......
  • Lawson v. Loftin
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 9 de março de 1945
    ...the presumption created by Section 768.05, Fla. Statutes 1941, same F.S.A., disappeared. See Atlantic Coast Line R. Co. v. Richardson, 117 Fla. 10, 12, 157 So. 17; Atlantic Coast Line R. Co. v. Crosby, 53 Fla. 400, 43 So. 318; Florida East Coast R. Co. v. Smith, 61 Fla. 218, 55 So. 871; Flo......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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