Lafferty v. Hannibal & St. Joseph R.R. Co.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Missouri
Citation44 Mo. 291
PartiesJAMES LAFFERTY and JOSHUA LAFFERTY, Defendants in Error, v. HANNIBAL & ST. JOSEPH RAILROAD COMPANY, Plaintiff in Error.
Decision Date31 August 1869

Error to Fifth District Court.

Carr, Hall & Oliver, for plaintiff in error, cited 1 Hill. on Torts, 372, § 36, note a; Redf. on Railw. 493; Pennsylvania Railway v. Haskett, 10 Ind. 409; Gen. Stat. 1865, p. 601, § 5.

Dixon & Murphy, for defendants in error, cited Morgan v. Cox, 22 Mo. 373; 16 Mo. 508; 11 Mass. 137; 18 Johns. 256, 288; 19 Johns. 381; 26 Mo. 441; 42 Mo. 193; 31 Miss. 156; 2 Comst. 165; 3 Hill. 612; 35 Mo. 457; 39 Maine, 273; 24 Verm. 488; 15 East. 388; 4 Den. 464; 8 Barb. 427.

WAGNER, Judge, delivered the opinion of the court.

This was an action for damages, and asking for the statutory penalty. The petition, in substance, states that plaintiffs' horses got on the track of defendant's railroad where it was not fenced, and where there was no road crossing, and, while so on the track, they were frightened by the cars and engine of the defendant; and, getting off the track of said railroad, they were injured.

The Circuit Court sustained a demurrer to this petition, and, on appeal to the District Court, the decision of the Circuit Court was reversed.

The only question requiring consideration is the true meaning and proper construction to be placed upon the forty-third section of chapter 63, Gen. Stat. 1865. That section declares that every railroad corporation formed or to be formed in this State, and every corporation formed or to be formed under that chapter, shall erect and maintain good and substantial fences, on the sides of the road where the same passes through, along, or adjoining inclosed or cultivated fields or uninclosed prairie lands, of the height of at least five feet, with openings or bars and gates therein, and farm crossings of the road, for the use of the proprietors or owners of the land adjoining such railroads; and also to construct and maintain cattle guards at all railroad crossings where fences are required as aforesaid, suitable and sufficient to prevent horses, cattle, mules, and all other animals, from getting on the railroad. The section further provides that until such fences, openings, gates or bars, farm crossings or cattle guards shall be duly made and maintained, such corporation shall be liable in double the amount of all damages which shall be done by its agents, engines, or cars, to horses, cattle, mules, or other animals on said road.

There was no collision on the road, and the animals were not injured by any actual contact; but, being on the track of the road, they were frightened by the train, and, in running, hurt themselves while jumping off the track.

There is an admission in the record that, where the accident occurred, the road was not fenced or inclosed as required by statute. In such case negligence is an inference of law, and the defendant will be held liable absolutely, without regard to that question, if the injury happened or the damage resulted in a manner contemplated by the above section.

In Indiana they have a statute on the same subject, differing somewhat in phraseology from ours, but in substance and effect identically the same. Under that statute the plaintiff brought suit for injury done to a mare. The facts were that, at the sound of the whistle on the approaching train, the mare ran on the track before the train until she came to a culvert, and then jumped so as to clear the culvert, and fell on one side of the track. In falling, the mare's left leg was broken, and she was otherwise injured. She was not touched by the locomotive or any part of the train. Upon these facts the court decided that the statute contemplated a direct injury; that the words “shall be killed or injured by the cars or locomotive, or other carriages,” etc., imported the idea of actual collision, and that it would not be consistent with the intent of the act to give them such an exposition as would cover a case of consequential damages. (The P. & C. R.R. v. Haskett, 10 Ind. 409.)

Redfield, in the last edition of his work on railways, quotes the foregoing case as authority, and lays down the rule that the liability of a railroad, where the company has failed to fence...

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36 cases
  • Eaton v. Mississippi River & Bonne Terre Railway Company
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 4 Marzo 1919
    ...v. Railroad Co., 120 Mo.App. 341-353; Brown v. Railroad, 127 Mo.App. 614-618; Hume v. Railroad, 9 Mo.App. 588, Mem.; Lafferty v. Railroad, 44 Mo. 291-294; Jackson v. Railway, 43 Mo.App. 324; Kinion v. Railway, 39 Mo.App. 382-387. (6) Except for damages from operation, a railroad company doe......
  • Ingalsbe v. St. Louis-San Francisco Ry. Co., 2594.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 27 Marzo 1920
    ...occur at a highway crossing, and that the road was not fenced." These cases are not in conflict with or modified by Lafferty v. Railroad, 44 Mo. 291, where the Supreme Court for the first time ruled that in order to recover double damages under section 3145, R. S. 1909, for an animal coming......
  • Shell v. The Missouri Pacific Railway Company
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Kansas
    • 29 Junio 1908
    ...for the reason, that it does not charge that there was any collision between defendant's car and plaintiff's animal. Lafferty v. Railway, 44 Mo. 291; Seibert v. Railway, 72 Mo. 565; Halferty v. Railway, 82 Mo. 90; Foster v. Railway, 90 Mo. 119; Yeager v. Railway, 61 Mo.App. 595. (5) And the......
  • Shell v. Missouri Pac. Ry. Co.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 29 Junio 1908
    ...section. Under section 1105, it would have been necessary that there be a collision with one of defendant's cars (Lafferty v. Railway Co., 44 Mo. 291, Foster v. Railway Co., 90 Mo. 119. 2 S. W. 138), and such state of case the petition shows did not exist. And under section 1106, it is nece......
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