Enochs v. Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railway Co

Decision Date24 September 1896
Docket Number17,975
Citation44 N.E. 658,145 Ind. 635
CourtIndiana Supreme Court
PartiesEnochs v. Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railway Co

From the Bartholomew Circuit Court.

Affirmed.

J. W Donaker, for appellant.

S Stansifer, for appellee.

OPINION

McCabe, J.

The circuit court sustained several demurrers to each of the two paragraphs of the appellant's complaint, and the plaintiff refusing to amend or plead over, the appellee had judgment upon the demurrer.

The two paragraphs are substantially the same. Both seek to recover damages alleged to have been sustained by the plaintiff through the alleged negligence of the defendant.

The substance of the facts alleged is that, the defendant's railroad track runs through the city of Columbus, upon and along Jackson street, running north and south across Ninth street, both of which are public streets in said city; that plaintiff resided on the west side of Jackson street, a half square north of said Ninth street; that on April 27, 1894, after dark, plaintiff was walking from her place of business to her said house, traveling west on the north side of said Ninth street; that when the plaintiff arrived at the intersection of said Jackson and Ninth streets the defendant was wholly obstructing said Ninth street with an engine and train of cars attached thereto, and unlawfully and negligently permitting said train to remain over and across said Ninth street, wholly obstructing travel thereon for more than twenty minutes; that said train extended north beyond any street crossing of said Jackson street; that plaintiff waited on the east side of said railroad track at said north sidewalk crossing of said Ninth street fifteen minutes for defendant to remove its train; being informed by the trainmen that it was not ready to move out, and becoming impatient and being desirous to reach her home, she undertook to go around said train of cars to the south end of the engine and across defendant's railroad track and said Jackson street to her home; that in attempting to pass around said engine, without any fault or negligence on her part, the plaintiff caught her foot on a stone lying across the gutter between said Ninth street and the south sidewalk thereof at said Jackson street, whereby she was thrown over said stone violently to the ground, thereby breaking and fracturing the bones of her left arm at the wrist, and otherwise bruising her body.

There were such other allegations as that it is conceded that appellant was shown to be free from contributory negligence.

And it is also conceded that the allegations were such as show that the defendant was guilty of negligence in obstructing the street with the train.

The only question is, was the negligence of the defendant the proximate cause of the plaintiff's injury? If it was not, there can be no recovery against the defendant. (16 Am. and Eng. Ency. of Law, 428-431.) An eminent author states the law as we think correctly thus: "Negligence may, however, be the proximate cause of an injury of which it is not the sole or immediate cause. If the defendant's negligence concurred with some other event (other than plaintiff's fault) to produce the plaintiff's injury, so that it clearly appears that but for such negligence the injury would not have happened, and both circumstances are closely connected with the injury in the order of events, the defendant is responsible, even though his negligent act was not the nearest cause in the order of time. Strictly defined, an act is the proximate cause of an event, when, in the natural order of things, and under the particular circumstances surrounding it, such an act would necessarily produce that event. But the practical construction of 'proximate cause' by the courts, is a cause from which a man of ordinary experience and sagacity could foresee that the result might probably ensue." Sherman and Redfield on Negligence (3d ed.), section 10.

Tested by this rule, the appellee's negligence was not the proximate cause of appellant's injury.

It is true, that appellant's injury would not have happened but for the appellee's negligence. But that is not the sole ingredient to be considered in determining whether appellee's act was the proximate cause of appellant's injury. N. Y., etc., R. R. Co. v. Perriguey, 138 Ind. 414, 34 N.E. 233; McGahan v. Indianapolis, etc., Gas Co., 140 Ind. 335, 49 Am. St. Rep. 199; 29 L. R. A. 355, 37 N.E. 601.

That the appellant should have come in contact with the stone on which she caught her foot, causing her fall and injury in attempting to go around the obstructing train, would necessarily follow the obstruction; or that ordinary experience or sagacity could foresee that such an accident might probably ensue cannot be affirmed. Appellant mainly relies on two cases. The first is Billman v Indianapolis, etc., R. R. Co., 76 Ind. 166, 40 Am. Rep. 230. The complaint in that case alleged "that the servants and agents of the appellee managed and operated the locomotive and cars of the railway company in such a recklessly and culpably negligent manner, as to willfully and wrongfully cause a team of horses, belonging to one Zero Carter, to take fright and run away, and that, because of such fright, and while unmanageable and running away, they ran against the horse of appellant and caused its death." ...

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1 cases
  • Enochs v. Pittsburgh, C., C. & St. L. Ry. Co.
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court
    • September 24, 1896
    ... ... Hord, Judge.Action by Julia A. Enochs against the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railway Company. There was a judgment for defendant, ... ...

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