Great Northern Railway Company v. Wiles, No. 196

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtMcKenna
Citation36 S.Ct. 406,240 U.S. 444,60 L.Ed. 732
Docket NumberNo. 196
Decision Date20 March 1916
PartiesGREAT NORTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY, Plff. in Err., v. J. H. WILES, as Administrator of the Estate of Dennis E. Wiles, Deceased

240 U.S. 444
36 S.Ct. 406
60 L.Ed. 732
GREAT NORTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY, Plff. in Err.,

v.

J. H. WILES, as Administrator of the Estate of Dennis E. Wiles, Deceased.

No. 196.
Submitted January 26, 1916.
Decided March 20, 1916.

Page 445

Messrs. E. C. Lindley and M. L. Countryman for plaintiff in error.

Messrs. W. R. Duxbury and Lyle Pettijohn for defendant in error.

Mr. Justice McKenna delivered the opinion of the court:

Action for damages for the killing of one Dennis E. Wiles, brought by the administrator of his estate, who is also his father and next of kin. It was brought under the employers' liability act of April 22, 1908 (35 Stat. at L. 65, chap. 149), as amended April 5, 1910 (36 Stat. at L. 291, chap. 143, Comp. Stat. 1913, § 8662).

Wiles was a freight brakeman in the employ of the railway company in interstate commerce, the company being an interstate common carrier.

There was a verdict for plaintiff in the sum of $650. Upon motion of defendant the court, expressing the view that Wiles's negligence was the proximate cause of the accident which resulted in his death, rendered judgment that, notwithstanding the verdict, plaintiff take nothing by his action, that the same be dismissed, and that the railway company recover of plaintiff $36.52 costs.

The judgment was reversed by the supreme court of the state and judgment ordered to be entered on the verdict.

The only issue is as to the negligence of the railway company and the contributory negligence of the deceased, and the causal relation, if either existed, to the death of the deceased.

The determining facts of the case are as follows:

Deceased was a rear brakeman on a freight train of the railway company proceeding easterly between Grotto and

Page 446

Skykomish, Washington. After having passed a curve in the road the train broke in two by the drawbar pulling out of the sixth car from the engine, which caused the train to stop instantly. It was run into shortly after (from 3 to 5 minutes, it was testified) by a passenger train drawn by two engines. The night was pretty dark and the weather a little misty. At the place of collision the track was obstructed by a very sharp curve and a bluff on the right-hand side for about five box-car lengths, and the rear end of the freight train at that place could not be seen more than five box-car lengths away. On the left-hand side of the engine, which is the fireman's side, the track could not be seen more than a car length ahead because that would be on the outside of the curve. The engineer of the passenger train did not know of the existence of the freight train ahead and no negligence is attributed to him. The deceased and the conductor of the freight train were in the caboose and both were killed. What caused the pulling out of the drawbar was not shown, nor was there proof that it was defective, or that the company was negligent in the care or use of it.

The head brakeman of the freight train testified that the train stopped immediately upon the pulling...

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172 practice notes
  • Kurn v. Stanfield, No. 11615.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • May 24, 1940
    ...510, 76 L.Ed. 1098; Atchison T. & S. F. Ry. Co. v. Toops, 281 U.S. 351, 50 S.Ct. 281, 74 L. Ed. 896; Great Northern Ry. Co. v. Wiles, 240 U.S. 444, 36 S.Ct. 406, 60 L. Ed. 732; Aerkfetz v. Humphreys, 145 U. S. 418, 12 S.Ct. 835, 36 L.Ed. 758; Bernola v. Penn. R. Co., 3 Cir., 68 F.2d 172; Wh......
  • New Orleans & N.E. R. Co. v. Benson, 33160
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • October 10, 1938
    ...plaintiff, and, in any event, only secondarily on other members of crew, and plaintiff's negligence bars recovery. G. N. R. Co. v. Wiles, 240 U.S. 444; Frese v. C. B. & Q. R. Co., 263 U.S. 1; Davis v. Kennedy, 266 U.S. 147, 69 L.Ed. 212; U. V. R. Co. v. Caldine, 278 U.S. 139, 73 L.Ed. 224; ......
  • Mooney v. Terminal Railroad Assn. of St. Louis, No. 39202.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • March 5, 1945
    ...1001; Loring v. K.C., F.S. & M.R. Co., 128 Mo. 349; Pere Marquette R. Co. v. Haskins, 62 Fed. (2d) 806; Great Northern R. Co. v. Wiles, 240 U.S. 444, 36 S. Ct. 406, 60 L. Ed. 732; Unadilla Valley R. Co. v. Caldine, 278 U.S. 139, 49 S. Ct. 91, 73 L. Ed. 224; Ingram v. M. & O.R. Co., 30 S.W. ......
  • Koonse v. Mo. Pac. Railroad Co., No. 27609.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • April 5, 1929
    ...and death were caused solely by his own carelessness, unaffected by and independent of any negligence of appellant. Ry. Co. v. Wiles, 240 U.S. 444; Frese v. Railroad Co., 263 U.S. 1; Davis v. Kennedy, 266 U.S. 147. (4) The purpose for which deceased alighted from the train, if he did so, wa......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
172 cases
  • Kurn v. Stanfield, No. 11615.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • May 24, 1940
    ...510, 76 L.Ed. 1098; Atchison T. & S. F. Ry. Co. v. Toops, 281 U.S. 351, 50 S.Ct. 281, 74 L. Ed. 896; Great Northern Ry. Co. v. Wiles, 240 U.S. 444, 36 S.Ct. 406, 60 L. Ed. 732; Aerkfetz v. Humphreys, 145 U. S. 418, 12 S.Ct. 835, 36 L.Ed. 758; Bernola v. Penn. R. Co., 3 Cir., 68 F.2d 172; Wh......
  • New Orleans & N.E. R. Co. v. Benson, 33160
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • October 10, 1938
    ...plaintiff, and, in any event, only secondarily on other members of crew, and plaintiff's negligence bars recovery. G. N. R. Co. v. Wiles, 240 U.S. 444; Frese v. C. B. & Q. R. Co., 263 U.S. 1; Davis v. Kennedy, 266 U.S. 147, 69 L.Ed. 212; U. V. R. Co. v. Caldine, 278 U.S. 139, 73 L.Ed. 224; ......
  • Mooney v. Terminal Railroad Assn. of St. Louis, No. 39202.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • March 5, 1945
    ...1001; Loring v. K.C., F.S. & M.R. Co., 128 Mo. 349; Pere Marquette R. Co. v. Haskins, 62 Fed. (2d) 806; Great Northern R. Co. v. Wiles, 240 U.S. 444, 36 S. Ct. 406, 60 L. Ed. 732; Unadilla Valley R. Co. v. Caldine, 278 U.S. 139, 49 S. Ct. 91, 73 L. Ed. 224; Ingram v. M. & O.R. Co., 30 S.W. ......
  • Koonse v. Mo. Pac. Railroad Co., No. 27609.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • April 5, 1929
    ...and death were caused solely by his own carelessness, unaffected by and independent of any negligence of appellant. Ry. Co. v. Wiles, 240 U.S. 444; Frese v. Railroad Co., 263 U.S. 1; Davis v. Kennedy, 266 U.S. 147. (4) The purpose for which deceased alighted from the train, if he did so, wa......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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