Baltimore Co v. Goodman

Decision Date31 October 1927
Docket NumberNo. 58,58
Citation48 S.Ct. 24,275 U.S. 66,72 L.Ed. 167,56 A. L. R. 645
CourtU.S. Supreme Court

Dayton, Ohio, and William A. Eggers and Morison R. Waite, both of Cincinnati, Ohio, for petitioner.

Messrs. Robert N. Brumbaugh and I. L. Jacobson, both of Dayton, Ohio, for respondent.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 67-68 intentionally omitted] Mr. Justice HOLMES delivered the opinion of the Court.

This is a suit brought by the widow and administratrix of Nathan Goodman against the petitioner for causing his death by running him down at a grade crossing. The defence is that Goodman's own negligence caused the death. At the trial the defendant asked the Court to direct a verdict for it, but the request and others looking to the same direction were refused, and the plaintiff got a verdict and a judgment which was affirmed by the Circuit Court of Appeals. 10 F.(2d) 58.

Goodman was driving an automobile truck in an easterly direction and was killed by a train running southwesterly across the road at a rate of not less than 60 miles an hour. The line was straight but it is said by the respondent that Goodman 'had no practical view' beyond a section house 243 feet north of the crossing until he was about 20 feet from the first rail, or, as the respondent argues, 12 feet from danger, and that then the engine was stiil obscured by the section house. He had been driving at the rate of 10 or 12 miles an hour but had cut down his rate to 5 or 6 miles at about 40 feet from the crossing. It is thought that there was an emergency in which, so far as appears, Goodman did all that he could.

We do not go into further details as to Goodman's precise situation, beyond mentioning that it was daylight and that he was familiar with the crossing, for it appears to us plain that nothing is suggested by the evidence to relieve Goodman from responsibility for his own death. When a man goes upon a railroad track he knows that he goes to a place where he will be killed if a train comes upon him before he is clear of the track. He knows that he must stop for the train not the train stop for him. In such circumstances it seems to us that if a driver cannot be sure otherwise whether a train is dangerously near he must stop and get out of his vehicle, although obviously he will not often be required to do more than to stop and look. It seems to us that if he relies upon not hearing the train or any...

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306 cases
  • Erie Co v. Tompkins
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • April 25, 1938
    ...Holmes. United Zinc Co. v. Britt, 258 U.S. 268, 42 S.Ct. 299, 66 L.Ed. 615, 36 A.L.R. 28; Baltimore & O.R.R. Co. v. Goodman, 275 U.S. 66, 70, 48 S.Ct. 24, 25, 72 L.Ed. 167, 56 A.L.R. 645. Without in the slightest departing from that doctrine, but implicitly applying it, the strictness of th......
  • Scott v. Mo. Pac. Railroad Co.
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • August 3, 1933
    ...Co., 106 Kan. 401, 188 Pac. 419; Rule v. Railway Co., 107 Kan. 479, 192 Pac. 729. See, also, Baltimore & O.R. Co. v. Goodman, 275 U.S. 66, 48 Sup. Ct. 24, 72 L. Ed. 167, 56 A.L.R. 645.] But he is not, under all circumstances, as a matter of law, required to stop before crossing a railroad t......
  • Galicich v. Oregon Short Line R. Co.
    • United States
    • Wyoming Supreme Court
    • February 14, 1939
    ... ... E. R. Co ... (Pa.) 113 A. 370-52 C. J. 190. A driver approaching a ... railroad track must look for danger. B. & O. R. R. Co. v ... Goodman, 275 U.S. 66. Snyder v. C., B. & Q. R. Co ... (C. C. A. 8) 29 F.2d 910. Cummins v. Erie R. Co. (C ... C. A. 6) 83 F.2d 816. Pike v. R. Co., 3 F.Supp ... 799. Baltimore & Ohio R. Co. v. Shaw (C. C. A. 3) 35 ... F.2d 410. Weston v. So. Ry. Co. (N. C.) 139 So. E ... 237. Toledo Terminal R. Co. v. Hughes (Ohio) ... ...
  • Kowtko v. Delaware and Hudson Railroad Corp.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Middle District of Pennsylvania
    • April 6, 1955 100, 59 A. 686; Baltimore & Ohio R. Co. v. Muldoon, 3 Cir., 1939, 102 F.2d 151, at page 152; Baltimore & Ohio R. Co. v. Goodman, 1927, 275 U.S. 66, at page 70, 48 S. Ct. 24, 72 L.Ed. 167; Pfendler v. Speer, 1936, 323 Pa. 443, at page 446, 185 A. 618; Moses v. Northwestern Pennsylvania ......
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9 books & journal articles
  • Table of Cases
    • United States
    • The Path of Constitutional Law Suplemmentary Materials
    • January 1, 2007
    ...Baltimore, Mayor and City Council of, v. Dawson, 350 U.S. 877, 76 S.Ct. 133, 100 L.Ed. 774 (1955), 1111 Baltimore & O.R.R. v. Goodman, 275 U.S. 66, 48 S.Ct. 24, 72 L.Ed. 167 (1927), 79, Baltimore Sun Co. v. Ehrlich, 437 F.3d 410 (4th Cir. 2006), 1426 Banco Nacional de Cuba v. Sabbatino,......
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    • United States
    • Emory University School of Law Emory Law Journal No. 70-6, 2021
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    ...opinion) (citations omitted).246. Id. at 440.247. Id.248. Id. (citation omitted).249. See id.250. Baltimore & Ohio R.R. v. Goodman, 275 U.S. 66 (1927).251. Jason M. Solomon, Juries, Social Norms, and Civil Justice, 65 Ala. L. Rev. 1125, 1154 (2014) ("Holmes formulated what would be known as......
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    ...v. United States (237 F.2d 657 [C.A. 5]) 469 Ballentine; United States v. (245 F.2d 223 [C.A. 2]) 104 Baltimore & O. R. Co. v. Goodman (275 U. S. 66) 198 Baltimore & O. R. Co.; Norman v. (294 U. S. 240) 188, 354 Baltimore & O. R. Co.; United States v. (333 U. S. 169) 69, 118, 331 Balzac v. ......
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    ...a driver negligent as a matter of law. Such common law per se rules can present problems. Compare Baltimore & Ohio R.R. Co. v. Goodman, 275 U.S. 66, 69-70 (1927) (appearing to adopt a per se rule for motorists approaching railroad crossing), with Pokora v. Wabash Ry. Co., 292 U.S. 98, 102, ......
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