Gulf Ry Co v. Moser

Citation275 U.S. 133,48 S.Ct. 49,72 L.Ed. 200
Decision Date21 November 1927
Docket NumberNo. 53,53
PartiesGULF, C. & S. F. RY. CO. v. MOSER
CourtUnited States Supreme Court

Messrs. J. W. Terry, of Galveston, Tex., and Lawrence H. Cake, of Washington, D. C., and Charles K. Lee, of Fort Worth, Tex., for petitioner.

Mr. A. L. Curtis, of Belton, Tex., for respondent.

Mr. Justice McREYNOLDS delivered the opinion of the Court.

Mrs. Moser, administratrix of her husband's estate, brought suit under the federal Employers' Liability Act (chapter 149, 35 Stat. 65; chapter 143, 36 Stat. 291 (45 USCA §§ 51-59; Comp. St. §§ 8657-8665)) to recover damages consequent upon his death while employed by petitioner as a brakeman. The point for consideration is whether the trial court charged the jury concerning estimation of damages according to the rule approved by this court.

The cause went to the jury upon special issues framed as questions. Answers thereto constitute the verdict. Relevant parts of special issue No. 7 follow:

'Regardless of what your answers may be to the questions submitted in this charge, you will assess damages, and you will arrive at the amount thereof by assessing the same at such sum of money as if paid in cash at this time would be sufficient to fairly compensate the surviving wife and child for such actual pecuniary loss as you may believe from the evidence that they had a reasonable expectation of receiving from said John H. Moser, if any, from and after the death of the said John H. Moser, if he had not died on the date alleged. By pecuniary loss is meant such loss as may be compensated for in money. In answering special issue No. 7, you will take into consideration the contribution of money and other pecuniary benefits, if any, which the evidence may show that said surviving wife and child would have received from him after the time of his death, if he had continued to live. * * * In assessing the damages, if any, you will confine yourselves solely to the determination of the pecuniary and monetary interest, if any, that the plaintiff and her child had in the continued life of deceased. * * *

'Bearing in mind the foregoing definitions and instructions on the measure of damages, you will answer special issue No. seven. What amount of money, if paid now, will fairly and reasonably compensate the surviving widow and child of the deceased, John H. Moser, for the actual pecuniary loss which they respectively suffered by reason of his death, if any? This question you will answer by stating the aggregate amount of such pecuniary loss or damage, and you will answer in the space below the amount you find from the evidence.'

Petitioner seasonably objected to the charge as—

'generally too broad and not definite and specific enough and the jury should be limited in their consideration of the measure...

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