Industrial Accident Commission of State of California v. Payne, No. 224

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtMcKENNA
Citation42 S.Ct. 489,259 U.S. 182,66 L.Ed. 888
PartiesINDUSTRIAL ACCIDENT COMMISSION OF STATE OF CALIFORNIA et al. v. PAYNE, Agent, etc
Docket NumberNo. 224
Decision Date29 May 1922

259 U.S. 182
42 S.Ct. 489
66 L.Ed. 888
INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENT COMMISSION OF STATE OF CALIFORNIA et al.

v.

PAYNE, Agent, etc.

No. 224.
Submitted April 28, 1922.
Decided May 29, 1922.

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Page 183

Mr. Warren H. Pillsbury, of San Francisco, Cal., for petitioners.

Messrs. A. S. Halsted, of Los Angeles, Cal., and Alexander Britton, and Charles H. Bates, both of Washington, D. C., for respondent.

Mr. Justice McKENNA delivered the opinion of the court.

O. J. Burton, one of the petitioners, received injuries while working in the general repair shops of the railway company upon an engine that had been employed in interstate commerce and which was destined to be so employed again, and the question is whether redress for the injury must be sought through the Workmen's Compensation Act of California (chapter 586, California Statutes 1917) or under the provisions of the federal Employers' Liability Act (35 Stat. 65 [Comp. St. §§ 8657-8665]).

The proceedings were instituted by Burton by an application to the Industrial Accident Commission of the state, which set forth the facts of his injury and prayed compensatory relief. Payne and the railway company answered, setting up the defense of interstate commerce and the Federal act, and that the accident was caused by Burton's misconduct. The commission awarded relief. On petition for review by Payne and the railway company, the District Court of Appeal granted a certiorari and reversed the award of the commission.

Page 184

The court, after stating the facts, expressed the view that 'the sole question for' its consideration was whether 'the engine at the time of the accident was engaged in interstate commerce, within the meaning of the federal Employers' Liability Act (35 Stat. 65),' and concluded, after a review of cases, that Burton's work 'was so intimately connected with interstate commerce as practically to be part of it, and therefore' the commission 'had no jurisdiction.'

The facts are not in dispute. It was stipulated that while Burton was drilling and tapping the boiler of the engine a piece of steel lodged in his left eye; that this was in the course of his employment and caused thereby, and occurred while he was performing service growing out of and incidental to the same.

We may assume, though the fact is contested, that the engine was sent from exclusive employment in interstate commerce to the repair shops. It was sent there for general overhauling December 1, 1918, and was, to a certain extent, stripped and dismantled. It was estimated that the work upon it would be finished January 31, 1919, but it was not actually completed until February 25, 1919. The accident occurred on February 1st of that year. After the repairs were finished the engine was given a trial trip and finally put into service in interstate commerce.

For its conclusion and judgment, the court reviewed a number of cases,1 and considered that the principle they

Page 185

established was simple, that its application had been rendered difficult by diversity of decisions in the federal and state courts, and that this court had fixed no rule by which the conflict could be resolved, but had remitted the decision of each case to its particular facts. Such action is not unusual, and it is not very tangible to our perception how any other can obtain when the facts in the case are in dispute. Propositions of law are easily pronounced, but when invoked circumstances necessarily justify or repel their application in the instance and the judgment to be rendered.

And there is no relief from those conditions in the present case and our inquiry necessarily must be whether, considering the facts, the cases that have been decided have tangible concurrence enough to determine the present controversy.

We may say of them at once that a precise ruling, one that enables an instant and undisputed application, has not been attempted to be laid down. The test of the employment and the application of the federal Employers' Liability Act (in determining its application we determine between it and the California act) is:

'Was the employe at the time of the injury engaged in interstate transportation or any work so closely related to it as to be practically a part of it?' Shanks v. D., L. & W. R. R. Co., 239 U. S. 556, 36 Sup. Ct. 188, 60 L. Ed. 436, L. R. A. 1916C, 797.

This test was followed in C., B. & Q. R. R. Co. v. Harrington, 241 U. S. 177, 36 Sup. Ct. 517, 60 L. Ed. 941, and Southern Pacific Co. v. Industrial Accident Commission, 251 U. S. 259, 40 Sup. Ct. 130, 64 L. Ed. 258, 10 A. L. R. 1181.

Shanks v. D., L. & W. R. R. Co. is particularly applicable to the present case. It illustrates the test by a contrast of examples and by it, and the cases that have followed it, the ruling of the District Court of Appeal must be judged. The ruling is, as we have said, that...

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126 practice notes
  • Mississippi Cent R. Co. v. Knight, 24615
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • 30 de março de 1925
    ...U.S. 77, 64 L.Ed. 790; Philadelphia & Reading R. R. Co. v. Polk, 256 U.S. 332, 65 L.Ed. 958; Industrial Accident Commission v. Davis, 259 U.S. 182, 66 L.Ed. 888. Applying these tests to appellee's status, there is no escape from the conclusion that his work was not independent of the in......
  • May Department Stores Co. v. Union E.L. & P. Co., No. 34288.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 30 de junho de 1937
    ...Actions take estimation from degrees, and of this life and law are replete with examples." [Industrial Accident Commission v. Davis, 259 U.S. 182, 42 Sup. Ct. 489, 66 L. Ed. [7] Cupples' corporate equity was, unquestionably, kept in existence to be used for the purpose of carrying on a......
  • Harlan v. Wabash Ry. Co., No. 32085.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 12 de junho de 1934
    ...to be such instrumentality even though it is not at the precise time active therein." [See Industrial Accident Commission v. Davis, 259 U.S. 182, 66 L. Ed. 888.] There are many cases holding that the withdrawal of an engine used by an interstate carrier in interstate transportation for......
  • Hamarstrom v. M.K.T. Ry. Co., No. 18850.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 4 de abril de 1938
    ...so closely connected with interstate transportation by railroad as to be practically a part thereof. Industrial Accident Comms. v. Payne, 259 U.S. 182, 42 Sup. Ct. Rpt. 489, 491; Allen v. St. Louis-San Francisco Ry. Co., 331 Mo. 461, 53 S.W. (2d) 884, l.c. 890; Milburn v. Chicago, M., St. P......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
126 cases
  • Mississippi Cent R. Co. v. Knight, 24615
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • 30 de março de 1925
    ...U.S. 77, 64 L.Ed. 790; Philadelphia & Reading R. R. Co. v. Polk, 256 U.S. 332, 65 L.Ed. 958; Industrial Accident Commission v. Davis, 259 U.S. 182, 66 L.Ed. 888. Applying these tests to appellee's status, there is no escape from the conclusion that his work was not independent of the in......
  • May Department Stores Co. v. Union E.L. & P. Co., No. 34288.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 30 de junho de 1937
    ...Actions take estimation from degrees, and of this life and law are replete with examples." [Industrial Accident Commission v. Davis, 259 U.S. 182, 42 Sup. Ct. 489, 66 L. Ed. [7] Cupples' corporate equity was, unquestionably, kept in existence to be used for the purpose of carrying on a......
  • Harlan v. Wabash Ry. Co., No. 32085.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 12 de junho de 1934
    ...to be such instrumentality even though it is not at the precise time active therein." [See Industrial Accident Commission v. Davis, 259 U.S. 182, 66 L. Ed. 888.] There are many cases holding that the withdrawal of an engine used by an interstate carrier in interstate transportation for......
  • Hamarstrom v. M.K.T. Ry. Co., No. 18850.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 4 de abril de 1938
    ...so closely connected with interstate transportation by railroad as to be practically a part thereof. Industrial Accident Comms. v. Payne, 259 U.S. 182, 42 Sup. Ct. Rpt. 489, 491; Allen v. St. Louis-San Francisco Ry. Co., 331 Mo. 461, 53 S.W. (2d) 884, l.c. 890; Milburn v. Chicago, M., St. P......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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