Mcgrady v. Charlotte Harbor & N. Ry. Co.

Decision Date16 December 1913
Citation63 So. 921,66 Fla. 486
PartiesMcGRADY v. CHARLOTTE HARBOR & N. RY. CO.
CourtFlorida Supreme Court

Rehearing Denied Jan. 9, 1914.

Error to Circuit Court, De Soto County; F. A. Whitney, Judge.

Action by Will McGrady, a minor, by A. Carver, his next friend against the Charlotte Harbor & Northern Railway Company. Judgment for defendant, and plaintiff brings error. Reversed.

Syllabus by the Court

SYLLABUS

A declaration containing allegations that the plaintiff, an employé of a railroad company, was assisting in running a hand car which was taken off and put back on the tracks as occasion required, and that, while plaintiff was in the performance of his duty, another employé of the company 'at the moment when said car was being lifted, * * * in order that the wheels might mount or run onto and upon the rails and tracks, suddenly, and without notice or warning to the plaintiff, carelessly and negligently dropped said hand car onto, upon, and against plaintiff,' and injured him is not subject to a demurrer, on the ground that the alleged injury was not sustained 'by the running' of the hand car within the meaning of the statute.

COUNSEL Ben F. Cone, of Jacksonville, and Williams & Hardee, of Gainesville, for plaintiff in error.

Wall & McKay, of Tampa, for defendant in error.

OPINION

WHITFIELD J.

This action was brought by an employé against the employer railroad company to recover damages for personal injuries caused by the negligence of another employé in placing a hand car upon the railroad track. A demurrer to the declaration was sustained, and final judgment for the defendant was rendered, to which judgment the plaintiff took writ of error.

The first count of the declaration alleges 'that, while the plaintiff was in the performance of his duty' as section hand in assisting in running a certain hand car of the railroad company, one other section hand, 'at the moment when said [hand] car was being lifted as aforesaid, in order that the wheels might mount or run onto and upon said rails and tracks, suddenly, and without notice or warning to the plaintiff, carelessly and negligently dropped said hand car or machinery onto, upon, and against plaintiff, the plaintiff being then and there without fault or negligence on his part, causing plaintiff to' be injured as specified, 'which injury to plaintiff was caused by the carelessness and negligence of said certain other hand in so running said car as to cause the same to be dropped or run upon or against the plaintiff as aforesaid.'

The question to be determined is whether the allegations sufficiently show an injury to an employé of the railroad company 'caused by negligence of another employé' 'by the running of the locomotives or cars, or other machinery of such company,' within the meaning of section 3150 of the General Statutes of 1906, which changes the commonlaw rule of nonliability of the master for injuries to employés caused by the negligence of other employés to which he employer does not proximately contribute.

While statutory enactments in derogation of the common law should not be extended further than the words used will fairly warrant, yet in construing a statute the valid intent of the lawmaking power, as gathered from the language and purpose of the act, is the guiding star, and, when the intent is ascertained, it should be made effective as being the essence of the law.

There is no contention that a hand car used by a railroad company upon its tracks is not a 'car' or 'machinery' within the meaning of the quoted statute. That it is, see Atlantic Coast Line R. Co. v. Ryland, 50 Fla. 190, 40 So. 24; Ryland v. Atlantic Coast Line R. Co., 57 Fla. 143, 49 So. 745; Kansas City, M. & B. R. Co. v. Crocker, 95 Ala. 412, 11 So. 262; Thomas v. Georgia Railroad & Banking Co., 38 Ga. 222.

The object designed to be attained by the statute is the protection to railroad employés engaged in dangerous employments incident to the actual physical operation or running of railroad locomotives, cars, or other machinery of a railroad company. The language of the statute, to wit 'the running of the locomotives,' etc., considered with reference to the object designed to be accomplished, is intended to cover and include such hazardous tasks as are a part of the actual use for transportation purposes 'of the locomotives or cars, or other machinery of such company.' If this is not the intent of the...

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