Great Northern Ry Co v. Donaldson, No. 172

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtDAY
Citation38 S.Ct. 230,62 L.Ed. 616,246 U.S. 121
Docket NumberNo. 172
Decision Date04 March 1918
PartiesGREAT NORTHERN RY. CO. v. DONALDSON

246 U.S. 121
38 S.Ct. 230
62 L.Ed. 616
GREAT NORTHERN RY. CO.

v.

DONALDSON.

No. 172.
Argued Jan. 31, 1918.
Decided March 4, 1918.

Page 122

Messrs. F. G. Dorety, of Seattle, Wash., and E. C. Lindley, of St. Paul, Minn., for plaintiff in error.

Mr. James McCabe, of Seattle, Wash., for defendant in error.

Mr. Justice DAY delivered the opinion of the court.

Adaline Donaldson, as administratrix of the estate of Vance H. Thoms, deceased, brought suit in the superior court of Snohomish county, Wash., under the federal Employers' Liability Act (Act April 22, 1908, c. 149, 35 Stat. 65 [Comp. § . 1916, §§ 8657-8665]), to recover damages for injuries received which resulted in the death of Vance H. Thoms, by reason of a boiler explosion upon one of the defendant's engines upon which decedent was employed as an engineer.

The charges of negligence, in the amended complaint alleged to have resulted in the injury and death of the decedent were: That the boiler on the engine was insufficient in that:

1. The button heads of the crown bolts of the boiler were excessively and unnecessarily large and consequently unduly exposed to the direct heat produced by the oil fuel used on the locomotive;

2. That the boiler was not provided with fusible safety plugs;-

Page 123

3. That scale was negligently allowed by defendant company, its officers and employes, to accumulate upon the crown sheet in the boiler.

The answer of the company denied negligence, and specifically set up the defense of contributory negligence and assumed risk on the part of the deceased. In the trial court the plaintiff recovered a verdict and judgment, and the judgment was affirmed in the Supreme Court of the state of Washington. 89 Wash. 161, 154 Pac. 133.

The ground of reversal principally urged here is that the testimony did not warrant a recovery by the plaintiff, and when properly considered required an instruction to the jury to find a verdict in favor of the company.

An examination of the record discloses that there was testimony tending to support the allegations of negligence set forth in the amended complaint. That the engine upon which the deceased was working had been a coal-burning engine but that at the time of the explosion the fuel used in its operation was, and for some time had been, oil. That the button heads on the bolts of the crown sheet at the top of the fire box (this sheet also formed the bottom of the water compartment over the fire box) were large ones when the engine was fired with coal, and were not changed with the change of fuel from coal to oil. That these button heads because of their size became overheated when oil was used for fuel, resulting in the deterioration and weakening of the strength of their material, and from the consequent giving away of the button heads, the crown sheet came down and the explosion resulted. There is also testimony tending to show that there was an accumulation of scale and a want of use of fusible plugs.

On the part of the company there was testimony tending to meet and refute that introduced by the plaintiff, and a considerable amount of testimony was introduced tending to show that the water in the boiler was too low,

Page 124

thereby causing the explosion from the fault of the deceased engineer in allowing it to become so. There was testimony for the plaintiff to the effect that the water was not too low at the time of the explosion. The trial court submitted these issues to the jury, with the result that a verdict was found in favor of the plaintiff. The circuit court held that there was evidence sufficient to sustain the verdict, and refused to disturb it. The Supreme Court of Washington affirmed the judgment. In this situation it is enough to say that it is not the province of this court to weigh conflicting evidence. The record shows testimony supporting the verdict, and that is as far as this court enters upon a consideration of that question.

Complaint is made that the trial court failed to give an instruction requested...

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51 practice notes
  • Howard v. Mobile & Ohio Railroad Co., No. 32092.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • June 12, 1934
    ...of the witnesses or the weight of the evidence. Western & Atl. Railroad v. Hughes, 278 U.S. 496; Great Northern Ry. Co. v. Donaldson, 246 U.S. 121; Kinghorn v. Railroad Co., 47 Fed. (2d) 593; O'Boyle v. Northwestern Fire & Marine Ins. Co., 49 Fed. (2d) 713; Wabash Ry. Co. v. Lewis, 48 Fed. ......
  • Harlan v. Wabash Ry. Co., No. 32085.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • June 12, 1934
    ...(2d) 85; Thomasson v. West St. L.W. & L. Co., 278 S.W. 979; Railroad Co. v. Hughes, 278 U.S. 496; Great Northern Ry. Co. v. Donaldson, 246 U.S. 121. (b) The defendants' alleged violation of the Federal Boiler Inspection Act was not submitted to the jury by plaintiff's instruction. It was, t......
  • Engvall v. Soo Line Railroad Co., No. C6-99-64.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Minnesota (US)
    • August 2, 2001
    ...can occur without a violation of a specific FRA regulation. Groeger, 266 U.S. at 529, 45 S.Ct. 169; see also Great N. Ry. v. Donaldson, 246 U.S. 121, 128, 38 S.Ct. 230, 62 L.Ed. 616 (1918) (rejecting railroad's claim that, because a particular type of bolt used in a boiler had not been disa......
  • Texas & P. Ry. Co. v. Baldwin, No. 648.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • January 31, 1930
    ...v. Groeger (C. C. A.) 288 F. 321, 266 U. S. 521, 45 S. Ct. 169, 69 L. Ed. 419 (certiorari denied); Great Northern Ry. Co. v. Donaldson, 246 U. S. 121, 38 S. Ct. 230, 62 L. Ed. 616, Ann. Cas. 1918C, There is sufficient testimony in this record that, after the appellee was struck and knocked ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
52 cases
  • Howard v. Mobile & Ohio Railroad Co., No. 32092.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • June 12, 1934
    ...of the witnesses or the weight of the evidence. Western & Atl. Railroad v. Hughes, 278 U.S. 496; Great Northern Ry. Co. v. Donaldson, 246 U.S. 121; Kinghorn v. Railroad Co., 47 Fed. (2d) 593; O'Boyle v. Northwestern Fire & Marine Ins. Co., 49 Fed. (2d) 713; Wabash Ry. Co. v. Lewis, 48 Fed. ......
  • Harlan v. Wabash Ry. Co., No. 32085.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • June 12, 1934
    ...(2d) 85; Thomasson v. West St. L.W. & L. Co., 278 S.W. 979; Railroad Co. v. Hughes, 278 U.S. 496; Great Northern Ry. Co. v. Donaldson, 246 U.S. 121. (b) The defendants' alleged violation of the Federal Boiler Inspection Act was not submitted to the jury by plaintiff's instruction. It was, t......
  • Engvall v. Soo Line Railroad Co., No. C6-99-64.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Minnesota (US)
    • August 2, 2001
    ...can occur without a violation of a specific FRA regulation. Groeger, 266 U.S. at 529, 45 S.Ct. 169; see also Great N. Ry. v. Donaldson, 246 U.S. 121, 128, 38 S.Ct. 230, 62 L.Ed. 616 (1918) (rejecting railroad's claim that, because a particular type of bolt used in a boiler had not been disa......
  • Texas & P. Ry. Co. v. Baldwin, No. 648.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • January 31, 1930
    ...v. Groeger (C. C. A.) 288 F. 321, 266 U. S. 521, 45 S. Ct. 169, 69 L. Ed. 419 (certiorari denied); Great Northern Ry. Co. v. Donaldson, 246 U. S. 121, 38 S. Ct. 230, 62 L. Ed. 616, Ann. Cas. 1918C, There is sufficient testimony in this record that, after the appellee was struck and knocked ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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