Lewis v. Union Pac. R. Co.

CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals
Writing for the CourtMOSK; DORAN, Acting P. J., and DRAPEAU
Citation127 Cal.App.2d 280,273 P.2d 706
PartiesLEWIS v. UNION PAC. R. CO. Civ. 19888.
Decision Date30 August 1954

Page 706

273 P.2d 706
127 Cal.App.2d 280
LEWIS

v.
UNION PAC. R. CO.
Civ. 19888.
District Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 1, California.
Aug. 30, 1954.

Page 707

[127 Cal.App.2d 281] E. E. Bennett, Edward C. Renwick, Malcolm Davis, Jack W. Crumley, Los Angeles, for appellant.

Raoul D. Magana, Henry P. Lopez, Los Angeles, for respondent.

[127 Cal.App.2d 282] MOSK, Justice pro tem.

Respondent, an employee of the appellant Railroad Company for more than twenty years, had served as a member of a crew of workmen in appellant's East Los Angeles yards for about two and one-half years prior to April 27, 1950. On that date he was performing certain repair work on a train popularly known as the 'City of Los Angeles'.

A leak of air pressure was discovered on a routine test of brakes and respondent, together with a fellow workman, Harold Purcell, through a series of tests isolated the leak first to a lounge car numbered 3408 and then more specifically to brake valve number 1864 on that individual car. The two employees, respondent and Purcell, prepared to replace the leaky valve, respondent removing the old valve and Purcell preparing the new.

Respondent seated himself on the rail directly under the valve. He removed three of the four bolts holding the valve in place and set one after another on the rail beside him. After removing the third bolt and while respondent was placing it upon the ground the valve suddenly fell and landed on his left thigh and knee causing the severe injuries of which he complained in a law suit subsequently filed pursuant to the provisions of the Federal Employers' Liability Act.

The 'City of Los Angeles' is a train operated between Los Angeles and Chicago, partly on the route conducted by the appellant Union Pacific and partly over the road of the Chicago and Northwestern Railway Company. The coach involved herein was designated a Chicago and Northwestern car, but was attached to a Union Pacific train. It was stipulated that this appellant

Page 708

has no employees in Chicago. The amount of repairs to trains made at Chicago was subject to some conflict at the trial.

The jury returned a verdict for the respondent employee in the sum of $5,500, and from that judgment the appellant railroad has pursued this appeal. The appellant has based its appeal on three grounds: first, the trial court erroneously instructed the jury; second, counsel for respondent committed prejudicial misconduct in the trial; and third, no negligence on the part of appellant was established by the respondent and therefore the verdict of the jury was not substantiated by the evidence. We shall consider the foregoing points seriatim.

Appellant complains of a jury instruction of the trial court that 'It has been established that the car involved [127 Cal.App.2d 283] in the accident was the property of the defendant and that it was in charge of and being operated by agents of that defendant, acting within the scope of their authority'. The court was in error as to ownership of the individual railroad car in question, for the only evidence on the subject indicated it was actually the property of the Chicago and Northwestern Railway Company. But title is relatively unimportant under these circumstances, no question having been raised at the trial concerning control and operation of the car by appellant at the time of the accident. The law seems well settled that a railroad company owes substantially the...

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3 practice notes
  • Las Palmas Associates v. Las Palmas Center Associates, No. B051688
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 5 Noviembre 1991
    ...the jury's sympathy when he suggested buyers might donate the punitive damages to charity. (Cf. Lewis v. Union Pacific R.R. Co. (1954) 127 Cal.App.2d 280, 283, 273 P.2d 706.) Even so, any prejudice from these statements were cured when the trial court admonished the jury to disregard the st......
  • Farnsworth v. Western Pac. R. Co.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 13 Abril 1966
    ...(45 U.S.C.A. § 51; Grand Trunk Western Ry. Co. v. Lindsay, 233 U.S. 42, 34 S.Ct. 581, 58 L.Ed. 838; Lewis v. Union Pacific R.R. Co., 127 Cal.App.2d 280, 284, 273 P.2d Appellant also argues that the jury assessed damages for injuries to respondent that were occasioned by the December 12th ac......
  • Torres v. Southern Pac. Co.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 3 Abril 1968
    ...liable for an injury to an employee although its negligence is only a contributing proximate cause.' (Lewis v. Union Pacific R.R. Co., 127 Cal.App.2d 280, 284, 273 P.2d 706, 708; see Grand Trunk W.R. Co. v. Lindsay, 233 U.S. 42, 34 S.Ct. 581, 58 L.Ed. The remaining ground on which the trial......
3 cases
  • Las Palmas Associates v. Las Palmas Center Associates, No. B051688
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 5 Noviembre 1991
    ...the jury's sympathy when he suggested buyers might donate the punitive damages to charity. (Cf. Lewis v. Union Pacific R.R. Co. (1954) 127 Cal.App.2d 280, 283, 273 P.2d 706.) Even so, any prejudice from these statements were cured when the trial court admonished the jury to disregard the st......
  • Farnsworth v. Western Pac. R. Co.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 13 Abril 1966
    ...(45 U.S.C.A. § 51; Grand Trunk Western Ry. Co. v. Lindsay, 233 U.S. 42, 34 S.Ct. 581, 58 L.Ed. 838; Lewis v. Union Pacific R.R. Co., 127 Cal.App.2d 280, 284, 273 P.2d Appellant also argues that the jury assessed damages for injuries to respondent that were occasioned by the December 12th ac......
  • Torres v. Southern Pac. Co.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 3 Abril 1968
    ...liable for an injury to an employee although its negligence is only a contributing proximate cause.' (Lewis v. Union Pacific R.R. Co., 127 Cal.App.2d 280, 284, 273 P.2d 706, 708; see Grand Trunk W.R. Co. v. Lindsay, 233 U.S. 42, 34 S.Ct. 581, 58 L.Ed. The remaining ground on which the trial......

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