O'Donnell v. Director Gen. R. R.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
Writing for the CourtMoschzisker
Citation273 Pa. 375
Decision Date20 March 1922
PartiesO'Donnell, Appellant, <I>v.</I> Director General of R. R.
273 Pa. 375
O'Donnell, Appellant,
v.
Director General of R. R.
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
February 14, 1922.
March 20, 1922.

Page 376

Argued February 14, 1922.

Appeal, No. 258, Jan. T., 1922, by plaintiff, from judgment of C. P. Schuylkill Co., Sept. T., 1921, No. 500½, sustaining decision of Workmen's Compensation Board, in case of Pauline O'Donnell v. Director General of Railroads, operating Lehigh Valley

Page 377

Railroad Co.

Before MOSCHZISKER, C. J., FRAZER, WALLING, SIMPSON, SADLER and SCHAFFER, JJ. Affirmed.

Roger J. Dever, for appellant.—The movement of engine No. 1676 was not an interstate commerce movement: Chicago, etc., R. R. v. Harrington, 241 U. S. 177; Minneapolis, etc., R. R. v. Winters, 242 U. S. 353; Erie R. R. v. Welsh, 242 U. S. 303; Anderson v. Steel Co., 255 Pa. 33.

The employer's contract in this case was to pay to the employee or his dependents according to the schedule contained in the Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act and the contract being complete, the employer cannot be relieved of its obligation by asserting that the accident happened in interstate commerce.

Otto F. Farquhar, for appellee.—The work in which decedent was engaged, at the time of his death, was directly and closely connected with interstate commerce: North Carolina R. R. v. Zachary, 232 U. S. 248; Scanlon v. Payne, 271 Pa. 391.

Even though decedent was on his way to perform work of interstate character, if it be considered in that light, he would be engaged in interstate commerce: Erie R. R. Co. v. Winfield, 244 U. S. 170; Knorr v. R. R., 268 Pa. 172; N. C. R. R. v. Zachary, 232 U. S. 248; Hogarty v. Ry., 245 Pa. 443.

Liability of an employer for compensation under the Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act, if he fails

Page 378

to reject liability therefor in the manner prescribed by said act, exists by reason of a statutory presumption.

The question raised by appellant has been passed upon and finally determined by the Supreme Court of the United States: Erie R. R. v. Winfield, 244 U. S. 170; N. Y. C. & H. R. R. R. Co. v. Tonsellito, 244 U. S. 360.

OPINION BY MR. CHIEF JUSTICE MOSCHZISKER, March 20, 1922:


The plaintiff in this case, Pauline O'Donnell, widow of John J. O'Donnell, was denied an award under the Workmen's Compensation Act, on the ground that her husband's death had come about by an accident occurring in the course of interstate commerce; the referee, the board and the court below agreed in this conclusion; judgment was entered for defendant, and plaintiff has appealed.

Defendant railroad is a common carrier, engaged in intra- and interstate commerce; it operates a train from Pittsburgh, Pa., to Phillipsburg, N. J.; on June 1, 1920, engine No. 1676 was assigned, by proper authority, to haul this train from Mt. Carmel, an intermediate Pennsylvania point, to its destination; plaintiff's husband was directed to run the engine from Hazleton, Pa., where it was stationed, to Mt. Carmel, Pa., where it was needed for the purpose of its assignment, and, after its delivery, he was to take charge of another engine, attached to a freight train containing interstate shipments; engine No. 1676 left the track, on the run from Hazleton to Mt. Carmel, thus causing the injury which resulted in O'Donnell's death.

The derailed engine was due to arrive at Mt. Carmel at ten o'clock in the morning; and, in regular course, would not be required to haul the train to which it was assigned until about five o'clock that evening. Plaintiff contends that this break in the time, leaving room for a change of assignment, and the fact that, when the accident happened to her husband, the train to which his engine had been assigned was being drawn from Phillipsburg

Page 379

to Mt. Carmel by another locomotive, which would have had to be relieved from service before engine No. 1676 could be attached to the train in question, showed, when given due weight, that the latter engine was not in interstate service at the time of its derailment. In disposing of these contentions, the compensation board correctly states: "Engine No. 1676, at the time it was being driven by O'Donnell, had a definite assignment to interstate commerce, and O'Donnell himself had definite orders to deliver the engine at Mt. Carmel and then to assist in the movement of an interstate freight train,...

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4 practice notes
  • Howard v. Mobile & Ohio Railroad Co., No. 32092.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 12 Junio 1934
    ...269 Fed. 105; Railroad Co. v. Carr, 238 U.S. 260; Railroad Co. v. Dunlap, 58 Fed. (2d) 951; O'Donnell v. Director General of Railroads, 273 Pa. 375, 117 Atl. 82; L. & N. Railroad Co. v. Parker, 242 U.S. 13; Railroad Co. v. Welsh, 242 U.S. 303; McKay v. Ry. Co., 44 Fed. (2d) 150; B. &......
  • Mech v. Terminal Railroad Assn., No. 27623.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 18 Mayo 1929
    ...Railroad, 109 Tex. 36; Dir. Gen. v. Bennett, 268 Fed. 767; So. Railroad Co. v. Jacobs, 116 Va. 189, 241 U.S. 229; O'Donnell v. Dir. Gen., 273 Pa. 375; O'Brien v. Railroad, 231 N.Y. 511; Hester v. Railroad, 254 Fed. 787; Cott v. Railroad, 231 N.Y. 67, 257 U.S. 636. (b) Evidence of the switch......
  • Jarvis v. C., B. & Q. Railroad Co., No. 29248.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 31 Marzo 1931
    ...242 U.S. 13; N.Y.C., etc., Railroad Co. v. Carr, 238 U.S. 260, 263; Railroad v. Halverstodt, 16 Fed. (2d) 995; O'Donnell v. Director Gen., 273 Pa. 375; Koons v. Ry. Co., 271 Pa. 468; McDonald v. Railroad, 279 Pa. 26; Wabash Ry. Co. v. Whitcomb, 154 N.E. 885. (3) The train which plaintiff an......
  • Velia v. Reading Co.
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Pennsylvania
    • 11 Diciembre 1936
    ...himself therefrom." Koons v. Phila. & R. Ry. Co., 271 Pa. 468, 470, 114 A. 262, 263. Also see O'Donnell v. Director General, 273 Pa. 375, 117 A. The case of Erie R. Co. v. Winfield, 244 U.S. 170, 37 S.Ct. 556, 557, 61 L.Ed. 1057, Ann.Cas.1918B, 662, is conclusive on this point, the......
4 cases
  • Howard v. Mobile & Ohio Railroad Co., No. 32092.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 12 Junio 1934
    ...269 Fed. 105; Railroad Co. v. Carr, 238 U.S. 260; Railroad Co. v. Dunlap, 58 Fed. (2d) 951; O'Donnell v. Director General of Railroads, 273 Pa. 375, 117 Atl. 82; L. & N. Railroad Co. v. Parker, 242 U.S. 13; Railroad Co. v. Welsh, 242 U.S. 303; McKay v. Ry. Co., 44 Fed. (2d) 150; B. &......
  • Mech v. Terminal Railroad Assn., No. 27623.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 18 Mayo 1929
    ...Railroad, 109 Tex. 36; Dir. Gen. v. Bennett, 268 Fed. 767; So. Railroad Co. v. Jacobs, 116 Va. 189, 241 U.S. 229; O'Donnell v. Dir. Gen., 273 Pa. 375; O'Brien v. Railroad, 231 N.Y. 511; Hester v. Railroad, 254 Fed. 787; Cott v. Railroad, 231 N.Y. 67, 257 U.S. 636. (b) Evidence of the switch......
  • Jarvis v. C., B. & Q. Railroad Co., No. 29248.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 31 Marzo 1931
    ...242 U.S. 13; N.Y.C., etc., Railroad Co. v. Carr, 238 U.S. 260, 263; Railroad v. Halverstodt, 16 Fed. (2d) 995; O'Donnell v. Director Gen., 273 Pa. 375; Koons v. Ry. Co., 271 Pa. 468; McDonald v. Railroad, 279 Pa. 26; Wabash Ry. Co. v. Whitcomb, 154 N.E. 885. (3) The train which plaintiff an......
  • Velia v. Reading Co.
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Pennsylvania
    • 11 Diciembre 1936
    ...himself therefrom." Koons v. Phila. & R. Ry. Co., 271 Pa. 468, 470, 114 A. 262, 263. Also see O'Donnell v. Director General, 273 Pa. 375, 117 A. The case of Erie R. Co. v. Winfield, 244 U.S. 170, 37 S.Ct. 556, 557, 61 L.Ed. 1057, Ann.Cas.1918B, 662, is conclusive on this point, the......

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