Elliott v. Chicago St Ry Co, No. 71

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtBREWER
Citation150 U.S. 245,14 S.Ct. 85,37 L.Ed. 1068
PartiesELLIOTT v. CHICAGO, M. & ST. P. RY. CO
Docket NumberNo. 71
Decision Date20 November 1893

150 U.S. 245
14 S.Ct. 85
37 L.Ed. 1068
ELLIOTT

v.

CHICAGO, M. & ST. P. RY. CO.

No. 71.
November 20, 1893.

Statement by Mr. Justice BREWER.

This case was commenced in the district court of Clay county, Dakota territory, on August 31, 1886, by the plaintiff in error, Biddena Elliott, widow of John Elliott, deceased, against the railway company, to recover damages on account of the death of John Elliott, alleged to have been caused by the negligence of the defendant and its employes.

The defendant answered, a trial was had at the September term, 1886, and the plaintiff recovered a verdict for $7,000. Judgment having been entered thereon, the defendant appealed to the supreme court of the territory, which reversed the judgment and remanded the case for a new trial. 5 Dak. 523, 41 N. W. Rep. 758.

The case was again tried, though apparently in the district court of Minnehaha county, at the April term, 1889, upon the same evidence that was presented on the first trial. A verdict was directed in favor of the defendant, and judgment entered thereon. Plaintiff appealed to the supreme court, which, on May 31, 1889, affirmed the judgment. Thereupon a writ of error was sued out from this court.

Page 246

Melvin Grigsby, for plaintiff in error.

H. H. Field and John W. Cary, for defendant in error.

Mr. Justice BREWER, after stating the facts in the foregoing language, delivered the opinion of the court.

The question in this case is as to the liability of the company for the death of John Elliott. The company made three defenses: (1) That it was guilty of no negligence; (2) that, if there were any negligence, it was that of a fellow servant; and (3) that Elliott was guilty of contributory negligence. The supreme court of the territory, in its opinion filed when the case was first in that court, considered the last two defenses as sustained, and, because thereof, reversed the judgment in favor of the plaintiff. All of them have been presented and full argued in this court, but, as we consider the third sufficient, it is unnecessary to notice the first two. We are of opinion that the deceased was guilty of contributory negligence, such as to bar any recovery. It is true that questions of negligence and contributory negligence are ordinarily questions of fact to be passed upon by a jury; yet, when the undisputed evidence is so conclusive that the court would be compelled to set aside a verdict returned in opposition to it, it may withdraw the case from the consideration of the jury, and direct a virdict. Railroad Co. v. Houston, 95 U. S. 697; Schofield v. Railroad Co., 114 U. S. 615, 5 Sup. Ct. Rep. 1125; Railroad Co. v. Converse, 139 U. S. 469, 11 Sup. Ct. Rep. 569; Aerkfetz v. Humphreys, 145 U. S. 418, 12 Sup. Ct. Rep. 835.

What, then, are the facts concerning the accident? It took place at a station called 'Meckling,' a hamlet of two or three houses, and of so little importance that at the time the company had no station agent there. The main track of the defendant's road ran eastward and westward in a straight line, and the ground was level. On the north side of this track was a siding, 728 feet in length from...

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125 practice notes
  • Ketterman v. Dry Fork R. Co
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • December 21, 1900
    ...to it, it may withdraw the case from the consideration of the jury, and direct a verdict. Elliott v. Railway Co., 14 Sup. Ct. 85, 150 U. S. 245, 37 L. Ed. 1068. 4. When, in actions for negligence, the facts are undisputed, and such that all reasonable minds must draw the same conclusions fr......
  • O'donnell v. Philadelphia Record Co.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • April 14, 1947
    ...Converse, 139 U.S. 469, 472, 11 S.Ct. 569, [35 L.Ed. 213] and authorities there cited; Elliott v. [Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul] R. Co. 150 U.S. 245, 14 S.Ct. 85, [37 L.Ed. 1068]; [51 A.2d 781 Anderson] County Commissioners v. Beal, 113 U.S. 227, 241, 5 S.Ct. 433, [28 L.Ed. 966].' In Pleas......
  • Campbell v. Weller, 865
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • May 7, 1917
    ...19 How. 263; Railroad Co. v. Fraloff, 100 U.S. 27; Parks v. Ross, 11 How. 373; Schuchardt v. Allen, 1 Wall. 370; Elliott v. Ry. Co., 150 U.S. 245; Maas v. White, 37 Mich. 130; Ry. Co. v. Converse, 139 U.S. 469; Lockhart v. Willis, 50 P. 319; Kelley v. Ryes, 29 P. 144; O'Brian v. Miller, 25 ......
  • Graves v. Northern Pac. Ry. Co.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • June 29, 1917
    ...35 N.Y. 9, 90 Am. Dec. 761; Northern P. Ry. Co. v. Freeman, 174 U.S. 379, 19 S.Ct. 763, 43 L.Ed. 1014; Elliott v. Chicago etc. R. Co., 150 U.S. 245, 14 S.Ct. 85, 37 L.Ed. 1068.) The fact that the railway company violated statutes or ordinances is no excuse for negligence of party about to c......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
125 cases
  • Ketterman v. Dry Fork R. Co
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • December 21, 1900
    ...to it, it may withdraw the case from the consideration of the jury, and direct a verdict. Elliott v. Railway Co., 14 Sup. Ct. 85, 150 U. S. 245, 37 L. Ed. 1068. 4. When, in actions for negligence, the facts are undisputed, and such that all reasonable minds must draw the same conclusions fr......
  • O'donnell v. Philadelphia Record Co.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • April 14, 1947
    ...Converse, 139 U.S. 469, 472, 11 S.Ct. 569, [35 L.Ed. 213] and authorities there cited; Elliott v. [Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul] R. Co. 150 U.S. 245, 14 S.Ct. 85, [37 L.Ed. 1068]; [51 A.2d 781 Anderson] County Commissioners v. Beal, 113 U.S. 227, 241, 5 S.Ct. 433, [28 L.Ed. 966].' In Pleas......
  • Campbell v. Weller, 865
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • May 7, 1917
    ...19 How. 263; Railroad Co. v. Fraloff, 100 U.S. 27; Parks v. Ross, 11 How. 373; Schuchardt v. Allen, 1 Wall. 370; Elliott v. Ry. Co., 150 U.S. 245; Maas v. White, 37 Mich. 130; Ry. Co. v. Converse, 139 U.S. 469; Lockhart v. Willis, 50 P. 319; Kelley v. Ryes, 29 P. 144; O'Brian v. Miller, 25 ......
  • Graves v. Northern Pac. Ry. Co.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • June 29, 1917
    ...35 N.Y. 9, 90 Am. Dec. 761; Northern P. Ry. Co. v. Freeman, 174 U.S. 379, 19 S.Ct. 763, 43 L.Ed. 1014; Elliott v. Chicago etc. R. Co., 150 U.S. 245, 14 S.Ct. 85, 37 L.Ed. 1068.) The fact that the railway company violated statutes or ordinances is no excuse for negligence of party about to c......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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