Huyett v. Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Company

Citation23 Pa. 373
PartiesHuyett versus Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Company.
Decision Date01 July 1854
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

The opinion of the Court was delivered by LOWRIE, J.

In the case of the Railroad Company v. Yeiser, all the material principles of this cause are decided except one; and that has reference to what is sufficient evidence of carelessness on the part of a railroad company in case of a fire occasioned by sparks from their engines.

Whether, in this instance, it was caused by the carelessness of the defendants' servants, must be judged from the circumstances; and we think that the cases referred to by the plaintiff's counsel, show clearly enough that this question, under the evidence here, is within the province of the jury: see also 1 Denio 91.

How is it possible for the Court to say, as matter of law, how many sparks, or how many fires caused by them, it takes to prove carelessness? How can the law declare, except as a deduction from facts found, what are sufficient spark-catchers? When we find fires started by a locomotive, at distances of 80 to 150 feet from the road, how can we say that that is no evidence of carelessness? It is a question of fact, whether the small sparks that escape through a good spark-catcher will ignite wood at such a distance. We see wooden houses, and lumber, and firewood, and shingles standing all along the very edge of railroads without being burnt; how can we say that the happening of several fires, all about the same time, along the line of the road, is no evidence of carelessness?

The company has paid for its right of way and for all the...

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20 cases
  • Director General of Railroad v. Johnston
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Delaware
    • June 14, 1921
    ...from a locomotive, the distance of such building from the railroad may be evidence of negligence in equipment, or operation. In Huyett v. Railroad Co., 23 Pa. 373, the fire started 73 feet from the right of way; held to be evidence of negligence. So In Louisville & N. R. Co. v. Malone, 109 ......
  • Cont'l Ins. Co. v. Chi. & N. W. Ry. Co.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Minnesota (US)
    • March 30, 1906
    ...58 Ill. 389;Tex., etc., Ry. Co. v. Ins. Co. (Tex. Civ. App.) 73 S. W. 1088;Glanz v. Railway Co. (Iowa) 93 N. W. 575. In Hayett v. Railway Co., 23 Pa. 373, Lowry, J., said: ‘When we find fires started by a locomotive at distances from 80 to 150 feet from the road how can we say that there is......
  • Dir. Gen. of Railroads v. Johnston
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Delaware
    • June 14, 1921
    ...or want of adequate appliances to prevent the escape of sparks. One of the earliest cases on this point is Huyett v. Railroad Co., 23 Pa. 373. See Louisville & N. R. Co. v. Malone, 109 Ala. 509, 20 South. See, also, Railroad Co. v. Scheible, 162 Ky. 469, 172 S. W. 910, where the facts prove......
  • McTavish v. Great Northern Railway Co.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • May 11, 1899
    ...... by John McTavish against the Great Northern Railway Company. Judgment for plaintiff. Defendant appeals. . . ... judgment. Reading this entire document as a whole, we are. clear that it ... trail running along the east side of the railroad track, and. at a distance varying from 100 to 150 feet ... repeated fires. As early as the case of Huyett v. Railroad Co., 23 Pa. 373, the Court said: "How. is ......
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