Davis v. Minneapolis & St. L. R. Co., No. 19914[57].

CourtSupreme Court of Minnesota (US)
Writing for the CourtHOLT
Citation159 N.W. 802,134 Minn. 369
Docket NumberNo. 19914[57].
Decision Date10 November 1916
PartiesDAVIS v. MINNEAPOLIS & ST. L. R. CO.

134 Minn. 369
159 N.W. 802

DAVIS
v.
MINNEAPOLIS & ST. L. R. CO.

No. 19914[57].

Supreme Court of Minnesota.

Nov. 10, 1916.


Appeal from District Court, Ramsey County; Olin B. Lewis, Judge.

Action by T. D. Davis against the Minneapolis & St. Louis Railroad Company. From a judgment for plaintiff, defendant appeals. Affirmed.


Syllabus by the Court

A violation of the federal Safety Appliance Act (Act March 2, 1893, c. 196, 27 Stat. 531 [U. S. Comp. St. 1913, §§ 8605-8612]) may be established by proof that repeated efforts to work the lever of an automatic coupler, in the manner it is designed to be worked by switchmen in railroad operations, failed to lift the coupling pin.


[159 N.W. 802]

W. H. Bremner and F. M. Miner, both of Minneapolis, for appellant.

Barton & Kay, of St. Paul, for respondent.


HOLT, J.

The only question on this appeal is: Does the evidence sustain the finding of the jury that the car, which plaintiff attempted to uncouple when injured, was equipped with a defective coupler in violation of the federal Safety Appliance Act?

Plaintiff was in the service of defendant as a switchman in its yards at Des Moines, Iowa, and had been engaged in that work for many years previous to June 3, 1915. In the early forenoon of that day he, with a crew, was moving four cars in the yard. It is admitted that defendant was then engaged in transporting interstate commerce and plaintiff was assisting therein. The locomotive was behind pushing the cars, and plaintiff's duty was to cut off the two cars in front when a suitable momentum was reached, so as to let them run in on a side track, the switch of which was being held open by another switchman. In this operation it was necessary to uncouple while the train was in motion. It was moving at the rate of from four to six miles an hour when plaintiff started to work the coupling lever. He was on the right-hand side of the train as it was moving and the lever was upon the front end of the rear car of the two between which the cut was to be made. The lever falls short several inches of extending to the side of the car so it is necessary to reach in between the cars in working it. The lever on this particular car was operated by pushing or bearing down on it. Plaintiff claims that, as he was walking or running along the train, he took hold of the lever with his left hand and made several futile attempts to work it, but that he was unable to thereby lift the coupling pin, and he then went in between to lift it by hand. In so doing he stumbled and fell, resulting in the loss of an arm.

Defendant produced three witnesses who examined this coupler within 30 minutes after the accident, and they all declare that no defect could be detected in any of its parts,...

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15 practice notes
  • Kimberling v. Wabash Ry. Co., No. 32531.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • July 30, 1935
    ...v. Ry. Co., 25 S.W. (2d) 791; Henry v. Railroad Co., 61 S.W. (2d) 340; Alcorn v. Railroad Co., 63 S.W. (2d) 55; Davis v. Railroad Co., 134 Minn. 369, 159 N.W. 802, certiorari denied, 242 U.S. 650, 37 Sup. Ct. 243, 60 L. Ed. 545; Devaney v. Railroad Co., 18 Pac. (2d) 284, affirmed, 27 Pac. (......
  • CHICAGO, M., ST. P. & PRR CO. v. Linehan, No. 9698.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • August 28, 1933
    ...is immaterial. Philadelphia Storage Battery Co. v. Kelley-How-Thomson Co. (C. C. A. 8) 64 F.(2d) 834. In Davis v. M. & St. L. R. Co., 134 Minn. 369, 159 N. W. 802, a situation under the Federal Safety Appliance Act was presented, and the question of physical facts demonstrating the testimon......
  • Chicago, I.&L. Ry. Co. v. Stierwalt, No. 12400.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • October 27, 1926
    ...act is violated, the question of negligence in the general sense of want of care is immaterial. In Davis v. Minneapolis, etc., R. Co., 134 Minn. 369, 159 N. W. 802, it appeared that a coupler would not function when the plaintiff took hold of the lever at the side of the car and made severa......
  • Ross v. Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range Ry. Co., No. 31642.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Minnesota (US)
    • July 29, 1938
    ...failed to couple by impact. Even a single failure was sufficient to support the jury's verdict. Davis v. Minneapolis & St. Louis Ry. Co., 134 Minn. 369, 159 N.W. 802;Duryea v. Chicago, St. P., M. & O. Ry. Co., 194 Minn. 431, 260 N.W. 528;Chicago, M., St. P. & P. Ry. Co. v. Linehan, 8 Cir., ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
14 cases
  • Kimberling v. Wabash Ry. Co., No. 32531.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • July 30, 1935
    ...v. Ry. Co., 25 S.W. (2d) 791; Henry v. Railroad Co., 61 S.W. (2d) 340; Alcorn v. Railroad Co., 63 S.W. (2d) 55; Davis v. Railroad Co., 134 Minn. 369, 159 N.W. 802, certiorari denied, 242 U.S. 650, 37 Sup. Ct. 243, 60 L. Ed. 545; Devaney v. Railroad Co., 18 Pac. (2d) 284, affirmed, 27 Pac. (......
  • CHICAGO, M., ST. P. & PRR CO. v. Linehan, No. 9698.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • August 28, 1933
    ...is immaterial. Philadelphia Storage Battery Co. v. Kelley-How-Thomson Co. (C. C. A. 8) 64 F.(2d) 834. In Davis v. M. & St. L. R. Co., 134 Minn. 369, 159 N. W. 802, a situation under the Federal Safety Appliance Act was presented, and the question of physical facts demonstrating the test......
  • Chicago, I.&L. Ry. Co. v. Stierwalt, No. 12400.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • October 27, 1926
    ...act is violated, the question of negligence in the general sense of want of care is immaterial. In Davis v. Minneapolis, etc., R. Co., 134 Minn. 369, 159 N. W. 802, it appeared that a coupler would not function when the plaintiff took hold of the lever at the side of the car and made severa......
  • Ross v. Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range Ry. Co., No. 31642.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Minnesota (US)
    • July 29, 1938
    ...to couple by impact. Even a single failure was sufficient to support the jury's verdict. Davis v. Minneapolis & St. Louis Ry. Co., 134 Minn. 369, 159 N.W. 802;Duryea v. Chicago, St. P., M. & O. Ry. Co., 194 Minn. 431, 260 N.W. 528;Chicago, M., St. P. & P. Ry. Co. v. Linehan, 8 C......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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