Mangum v. Norfolk & W. Ry. Co

Decision Date12 June 1919
Citation99 S.E. 686
CourtVirginia Supreme Court

Error to Circuit Court, Prince George County.

Action by Wiley P. Mangum against the Norfolk & Western Railway Company. To review judgment for defendant, plaintiff brings error. Reversed.

Bernard Mann and R. II. Mann, both of Petersburg, for plaintiff in error.

Wm. B. McIlwaine and J. M. Townsend, both of Petersburg, for defendant in error.

BURKS, J. This was an action of trespass on the case, brought by Wiley P. Man-gum against the Norfolk & Western Railway Company, After all the evidence on both sides had been introduced, the defendant demurred to the plaintiff's evidence. The case will be stated, therefore, under the rule obtaining on a demurrer to the evidence, which is too familiar to occupy space in restating it.

In 1916 there was in operation at Hopewell what is generally known as the Du Pout Munition Works, employing many thousand operatives. Hopewell is nine miles from Petersburg, and large numbers of these operatives lodged in Petersburg. These operatives worked in shifts, so that many of them had to be transferred from one city to the other at least twice a day. During this period, the Norfolk & Western Railway Company operated between the two cities a number of trains daily. These trains were composed of 15 or 16 coaches each, and were generally crowded even on the platforms. Some, if not all, of these trains carried three conductors to collect fares, and, as the distance between the cities was so short, it took practically all of their time to collect the fares. There were no regular stops between the two cities, but there were several flag stations where passengers would be taken on or put off upon signal to the engineer. No tickets were required to entitle a passenger to ride, but the rate was the same whether paid in money or by the use of a ticket. The railroad company, however, sold two kinds of round-trip tickets good for two days only, including the date of issue, one known as a "reel" ticket, the other as a "card" ticket. The date of the sale was printed on the face of the reel tickets and stamped on the back of the card tickets. The railroad company sold several thousand of these tickets daily. The character of the employes of the munition works who were transported by the railway company daily between the two cities is described by one witness as "the worst people on earth, just the scrapings or scrubs of the earth, they came from all parts of the world, " and by another as being "about as rough as they could get." The straight fare was only 25 cents, but they resorted to all sorts of expedients to avoid its payment. One of the witnesses says:

"I have known them to band together in order to beat the conductor and to give him trouble, and one would make the conductor stop the train and put him off, and five or six others would drop off the train and run around where the conductor had been already, in order to get down free."


"You could come along with your punch and a man would have a round-trip ticket, and when you would punch it he would hold his hat there and catch the punch part, and after you went past he would get that punch part and put it back and pass it to-morrow morning, he would give you that same ticket to punch again."

Owing to conditions on the road, the company had special police agents on all of these trains to preserve order and to assist the conductors in enforcing the rules of the company The ejection of passengers was of almost daily occurrence.

The plaintiff, Mangum, testifies that on March 10, 1916, he purchased a round-trip reel ticket about 3 o'clock p. m., rode from Petersburg to Hopewell on it, and came back on the street car, and put it into his vest pocket and kept it there until "it had gotten out of date." In answer to further interrogatories, he testified as follows:

"Q. Now, please explain to the jury what ticket you had on the 14th of March, 1916, where you got it, and how you came to get it?

"A. Well, this ticket dated for the 10th I had left over in my vest pocket, and the ticket which was dated the 13th which I was using on the morning of the 14th, as I was coming out from the plant after 7 o'clock to get on the morning train from Hopewell that leaves there at 7:30, as I was coming out of the subway a young man hollered, 'Ticket for sale, ' and me knowing that I did not have any ticket, I asked him, I said, 'What is the price of the ticket?' and he said, 'Ten cents, ' and I gave him ten cents, and turned the ticket over and looked at it and just merely saw that it was dated for the 13th. That is all the inspection I gave the ticket whatever, and I put it in my pocket and wentand got on the train. The conductor came through taking up the tickets, and I ran my hand in my pocket and got the ticket. I got this one dated the 10th, this reel ticket, and the conductor took the ticket and made a space or two ahead, and came back and said, 'This ticket is no good, ' and I seen right away what I did, so I put my hand in my pocket and got the second ticket, which was dated the 13th, and which was apparently a good ticket. I thought it was then, and I think yet it is a good ticket, and I tendered the ticket to the conductor, and he made a space or two ahead the second time and came back and said: 'This ticket is no good. You will have to pay your fare or get off.' And my thinking it was a good ticket, and I yet believe it is a good ticket, I said to him, 'Well, pull it down.' He pulled the cord, and as I did so I realized where I was at, and I was worn out from 12 hours' work, and traveling back and forth, and I decided that I would pay him rather than be put off there like I would have been, so I proceeded to get up as he was pulling the cord the first time, to give the engineer the signal to stop, and I brought some money from my pocket. I couldn't say just the amount, but I had some 'change. I do not think I had a quarter then, but I had a quarter in my pocket, and I offered to pay the conductor, and he said, 'No, it is too late now, you will have to get off.' * * *

"Q. When you told the conductor, 'Well, pull her down, ' or something like that, did you think he was going to pull it down?

"A. No, sir; I had no idea he would stop the train and put me off, because I thought I had a good ticket all the time.

"Q. And when you saw, or as soon as you saw that he was going to put you off, then you made a tender of your fare, and he told you it was too late?

"A. Yes, sir; I tendered the fare before he got through pulling the first time on the cord, which was the signal to stop the train. * * *

"Q. Now, just tell the. jury, Mr. Mangum, what happened after the train started, after you were put off?

"A. After I was put off the train, of course, the train started up, and I let the coach pass me that I had just gotten off, and there was a young gentleman on there, and he held up his hand and called out to me, and he said: 'Come and get on. I have some money to pay your fare.' And I said, 'No, I have got the money myself.' So I decided that I had a right to ride that train on in, I had not done anything, and I got on the step to the second car; in other words, I got off the front end of one car and got on the front of the next, and got up on the steps and was standing there with one foot on the platform, and one on the step, and this young gentleman came back, and seen me and then got a detective."

The signal to stop a train is two pulls on the cord. A single pull means nothing. After Mangum was put off, the train started, and he got on the coach next to the one from which he was ejected. The conductor saw him and had him arrested by the special police officer on the train, who detained him in the baggage coach until they arrived at Petersburg. He testified "I offered to pay my fare the second time when I got back on the train, and they refused it."

At Petersburg he asked the police officer to permit him to walk up to the police station, but this offer was declined, and the patrol wagon was called up over the phone, and Mangum was put in the "cage" of the wagon, and taken to the police station. Here he was searched and then placed in the "lockup" among "negroes and negro women, and a low down class of white women and all kinds of men, " and kept...

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6 cases
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    ...relationship of carrier and passenger exists. Baltimore & O. R. Co. v. Norris, 17 Ind.App. 189, 46 N.E. 554; Mangum v. Norfolk & W. Ry. Co., 125 Va. 244, 99 S.E. 686, 5 A.L.R. 346. Here, the tender was made before Fleming was pushed. Moreover, as the driver himself testified, no effort was ......
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    ...under the circumstances mentioned, nor what is not susceptible of proof. Horner v. Speed, 2 Pat. & H. 616; Mangum v. Norfolk & W. R. Co., 125 Va. —, 99 S. E. 686, 5 A. L. R. 346; Burks' PI. & Pr. § 261, and cases cited; Tutt v. Slaughter, 5 Grat. (46 Va.) 364. The evidence for the defendant......
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