Chicago, Indianapolis Louisville Railway Company v. Haynes Hackett, No. 889

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtLurton
Citation228 U.S. 559,33 S.Ct. 581,57 L.Ed. 966
Docket NumberNo. 889
Decision Date05 May 1913
PartiesCHICAGO, INDIANAPOLIS, & LOUISVILLE RAILWAY COMPANY, Plff. in Error, v. HAYNES L. HACKETT

228 U.S. 559
33 S.Ct. 581
57 L.Ed. 966
CHICAGO, INDIANAPOLIS, & LOUISVILLE RAILWAY COMPANY, Plff. in Error,

v.

HAYNES L. HACKETT.

No. 889.
Submitted February 24, 1913.
Decided May 5, 1913.

Page 560

Messrs. E. C. Field, H. R. Kurrie, and John D. Black for plaintiff in error.

Mr. Morse Ives for defendant in error.

Mr. Justice Lurton delivered the opinion of the court:

This is a personal-injury case. The plaintiff, Haynes L. Hackett, was a yard switchman in the employ of the railroad company. While engaged in switching cars in the yard of the company at Monon, Indiana, on February 4, 1907, he was injured through the negligence of another servant of the company who was his immediate superior as yard foreman. He brought this action in the supreme court of Cook county, Illinois, and recovered a judgment for $30,000, for the loss of both legs. This was affirmed by the appellate court of Illinois, which was the highest court of the state to which the case could be carried.

The plaintiff's declaration contained thirteen counts. A demurrer to the first count was sustained and it was

Page 561

dropped out of the case. The remaining counts were based upon the Indiana act of March 4, 1893 (Acts 1893, p. 294), and particularly the fourth paragraph thereof. The demurrer to these courts was overruled, and the plea of not guilty was entered, upon which issue was joined.

The Indiana statute provides that 'every railroad or other corporation, except municipal, operating in this state, shall be liable for damages for personal injuries sustained by any employee while in its service, the employee being in the exercise of due care and diligence, in the following cases.' One of the cases described was this: 'When such injury was caused by the negligence of any person in the service of such corporation who has charge of any signal, telegraph office, switch yard, shop, roundhouse, locomotive, engine, or train upon a railway.'

Shortly stated, the case alleged was that the plaintiff, while assisting in the switching of certain cars from one track to another, was, through the negligence of the yard foreman, then in control and directing the operation, thrown violently and negligently from one of the cars and run over. The plaintiff in error claimed in the state court that the Indiana statute upon which the action was brought was invalid as a denial to railroad companies of the equal protection of the law guaranteed by the 14th Amendment. This objection was denied, and the ruling is assigned as error.

The constitutionality of the act has been upheld by this court in Tullis v. Lake Erie & W. R. Co. 175 U. S. 348, 44 L. ed. 192, 20 Sup. Ct. Rep. 136, and in Louisville & N. R. Co. v. Melton, 218 U. S. 36,—L.R.A.(N.S.) —, 54 L. ed. 921, 30 Sup. Ct. Rep. 676.

It is, however, contended that neither of the cases cited brought before this court the precise question here presented, namely, that the act violates the 14th Amendment, because upon its face it applies to 'any employee,' thereby embracing in one classification those employees subjected to the hazards incident to the actual

Page 562

operation of railway trains with those in other branches of the service not so subjected, and, therefore, not within the reason for the classification. Upon this assumption it is claimed that the act is one which cannot be upheld as valid as to one class of employees and invalid as to the other, embraced within the single classification, and must therefore be condemned as wholly invalid under the rule applied by this court in Employers' Liability Cases (Howard v. Illinois C. R. Co.) 207 U. S. 463, 52 L. ed. 297, 28 Sup. Ct. Rep. 141. But this argument overlooks the fact that the act in question is an act of state legislation, and that its construction is a matter for the state courts of Indiana. If the supreme court of Indiana has construed the act as not extending to any class of railroad employees except those whose occupation connects them in some way with the movement of trains where they are exposed to the hazards incident to the operation and movement of trains and engines, and the act as thus construed and applied is a valid enactment, we must accept that as the proper interpretation of the act. The single duty of this court would then consist in determining whether the act as thus construed violated the equality clause of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

In repeated decisions the Indiana supreme court has construed the act as one which cannot be invoked by any class of railroad employees not engaged in some branch of service where they are subjected to the hazards incident to the movement of trains or engines, and held that, as thus limited, the act is valid; Richey v. Cleveland, C. C. & St. L. R. Co. 176 Ind. 542, ——L.R.A.(N.S.) —, 96 N. E. 694; Bedford Quarries Co. v. Bough, 168 Ind. 671, 14 L.R.A.(N.S.) 418, 80 N. E. 529; Indianapolis Traction & Terminal Co. v. Kinney, 171 Ind. 612, 23 L.R.A.(N.S.) 711, 85 N. E. 954; Cleveland, C. C. & St. L. R. Co. v. Foland, 174 Ind. 411, 91 N. E. 594, 92 N. E. 165. Thus the Indiana court, in Pittsburgh, C. C. & St. L. R. Co. v. Rogers, 168 Ind. 483, 81 N. E. 212, said:

'It was held by this court in Pittsburgh, C. C. & St. L. R. Co. v. Montgomery (1898) 152 Ind. 1, 69 L.R.A. 875, 71 Am. St....

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77 practice notes
  • United States ex rel. Flemings v. Chafee, No. 528
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
    • 28 Marzo 1972
    ...of imprisonment." See also Norton v. Shelby County, 118 U.S. 425, 442, 6 S.Ct. 1121, 30 L.Ed. 178 (1886); Chicago, I. & L. Ry. v. Hackett, 228 U.S. 559, 566, 33 S. Ct. 581, 57 L.Ed. 966 (1913). This doctrine — that convictions rendered by a court lacking either personal or subject matter ju......
  • James B. Beam Distilling Co. v. State, Nos. 46642
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Georgia
    • 14 Julio 1989
    ...imposing no duties....Norton v. Shelby County 118 U. S. 425, 442 [6 S.Ct. 1121, 1125, 30 L.Ed. 178]; Chicago, I. & L. Ry. Co. v. Hackett, 228 U. S. 559, 566 [33 S.Ct. 581, 584, 57 L.Ed. Chicot at 374, 60 S.Ct. at 318. An even more astonishing discovery in reading Chicot is that Chicot cited......
  • State v. Cutsinger, No. 28203.
    • United States
    • Hawaii Court of Appeals
    • 30 Enero 2008
    ...the challenged decree. Norton v. Shelby County, 118 U.S. 425, 442, 6 S.Ct. 1121, 1125, 30 L.Ed. 178; Chicago, I. & L. Ry. Co. v. Hackett, 228 U.S. 559, 566, 33 S.Ct. 581, 584, 57 L.Ed. 966. It is quite clear, however, that such broad statements as to the effect of a determination of unconst......
  • Morton v. Godfrey L. Cabot, Inc., No. 10119
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • 9 Marzo 1951
    ...v. Shelby County, 118 U.S. 425, 442, 6 S.Ct. 1121, 1125, 30 L.Ed. 178; Chicago, I. & L. Ry. Co. v. Hackett, 228 Page 872 U.S. 559, 566, 33 S.Ct. 581, 584, 57 L.Ed. 966. It is quite clear, however, that such broad statements as to the effect of a determination of unconstitutionality must be ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
77 cases
  • United States ex rel. Flemings v. Chafee, No. 528
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
    • 28 Marzo 1972
    ...of imprisonment." See also Norton v. Shelby County, 118 U.S. 425, 442, 6 S.Ct. 1121, 30 L.Ed. 178 (1886); Chicago, I. & L. Ry. v. Hackett, 228 U.S. 559, 566, 33 S. Ct. 581, 57 L.Ed. 966 (1913). This doctrine — that convictions rendered by a court lacking either personal or subject matter ju......
  • James B. Beam Distilling Co. v. State, Nos. 46642
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Georgia
    • 14 Julio 1989
    ...imposing no duties....Norton v. Shelby County 118 U. S. 425, 442 [6 S.Ct. 1121, 1125, 30 L.Ed. 178]; Chicago, I. & L. Ry. Co. v. Hackett, 228 U. S. 559, 566 [33 S.Ct. 581, 584, 57 L.Ed. Chicot at 374, 60 S.Ct. at 318. An even more astonishing discovery in reading Chicot is that Chicot cited......
  • State v. Cutsinger, No. 28203.
    • United States
    • Hawaii Court of Appeals
    • 30 Enero 2008
    ...the challenged decree. Norton v. Shelby County, 118 U.S. 425, 442, 6 S.Ct. 1121, 1125, 30 L.Ed. 178; Chicago, I. & L. Ry. Co. v. Hackett, 228 U.S. 559, 566, 33 S.Ct. 581, 584, 57 L.Ed. 966. It is quite clear, however, that such broad statements as to the effect of a determination of unconst......
  • Morton v. Godfrey L. Cabot, Inc., No. 10119
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • 9 Marzo 1951
    ...v. Shelby County, 118 U.S. 425, 442, 6 S.Ct. 1121, 1125, 30 L.Ed. 178; Chicago, I. & L. Ry. Co. v. Hackett, 228 Page 872 U.S. 559, 566, 33 S.Ct. 581, 584, 57 L.Ed. 966. It is quite clear, however, that such broad statements as to the effect of a determination of unconstitutionality must be ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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