Mississippi Cent. R. Co. v. Roberts, 31580

CourtMississippi Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtGriffith, J.
Citation160 So. 604,173 Miss. 487
Decision Date08 April 1935
Docket Number31580
PartiesMISSISSIPPI CENT. R. Co. v. ROBERTS et al

160 So. 604

173 Miss. 487

MISSISSIPPI CENT. R. Co.
v.
ROBERTS et al

No. 31580

Supreme Court of Mississippi

April 8, 1935


Division B

Suggestion Of Error Overruled May 28, 1935.

APPEAL from circuit court of Lamar county HON. HARVEY MCGEHEE, Judge.

Action by T. T. Roberts and another against the Mississippi Central Railroad Company and another. From a judgment for plaintiffs, named defendant appeals. Affirmed.

Affirmed.

[173 Miss. 489] Brady, Dean & Hobbs, of Brookhaven, for appellants.

A bell gives "clangs" and a whistle gives "blasts," and there is an appreciable interval between the separate sounds in each case, the only difference being that there is practically a non-appreciable difference between the blasts and the clangs. It could not have been in the minds of the lawmakers that railroads were being required to depart from customary, common-sense practice and tie down the whistle cord on approaching a crossing, any more than that they were being required to equip their engines with a bell with enough clappers to give forth the continuous roll of a snare drum. It is evident that what they intended was to establish a definite distance and to require that within that distance there shall be no lapse in the warning by bell or whistle. In interpreting statutes this court has always applied the rule of reason, and the aseertainment and following of the spirit of the legislative intent, rather than the letter, or what would be foolish or hurtful.

Dunn v. Clinghan, 93 Miss. 310, 47 So. 503; Kennington v. Hemmingway, 101 Miss. 259, 57 So. 809; Prather v. Googe, 108 Miss. 670, 67 So. 156; Maris v. Lindsey, 124 Miss. 742, 87 So. 13; Gunter v. Jackson, 130 Miss. 637, 94 So. 844; Roseberry v. Norsworthy, 135 Miss. 845, 100 So. 514; Huber v. Freret, 138 Miss. 238, 103 So. 3; Robertson v. Oil Co., [173 Miss. 490] 141 Miss. 356, 106 So. 449; Canal Bank & Trust Co. v. Brewer, 147 Miss. 885, 113 So. 522; Smith v. Chickasaw Co., 156 Miss. 171, 125 So. 96; Miers v. Miers, 160 Miss. 746, 133 So. 133; White v. Miller, 162 Miss. 296, 139 So. 611; Gandy v. Public Service Corporation, 163 Miss. 187, 140 So. 687; Gift v. Love, 164 Miss. 442, 144 So. 562; Leaf Hotel Corp. v. Hattiesburg, 168 Miss. 304, 150 So. 779; U. S. Steel Corp. v. Hodge, 64 N.J.Eq. 807, 820, 54 A. 1; Gourley v. Gourley, 16 R. I. 705, 19 A. 142; In re Schneider, 164 F. 335; U. S. Shipping Co. v. U.S. 146 F. 914, 920; Wood v. Sutcliffe, 8 Eng. Laws Eq. 217.

As a matter of fact, the break in the blast is worth infinitely more as warning than one continuous scream, which would result if any other interpretation of the statute were made.

One witness who hears the ringing of a bell is worth more than the testimony of a dozen witnesses who did not hear it unless in some manner their attention had been especially called to it.

Urias v. R. R. Co., 152 Pa. 326, 25 A. 566; Horandt v. R. R. Co., 73 A. 93; Rich v. Ry. Co., 149 F. 79, 78 C. C. A. 663; R. R. Co. v. Johnson, 157 Miss. 266, 126 So. 827.

The character of the negative testimony cannot prevail against the positive testimony of the host of credible witnesses that the bell did ring at the time in question.

Foley v. N. Y. C. & H. R. R. Co., 197 N.Y. 430, 90 N.E. 1116, 18 Ann. Cas. 631; 10 R. C. L. 1011; 9 Encyc. Ev., pages 867, 868; 23 C. J. 42, 45; Jones on Evidence (3 Ed.), sec. 898; 2 Moore on Facts, 1188, 1189; 3 Elliott on Railroads (3 Ed.), pages 523, 524.

Independently of giving signals, and, only for the sake of argument, admitting that they may not have been given in strict compliance with the statute, appellant [173 Miss. 491] is still entitled to judgment here for the following reasons:

Because, assuming that there was a failure in complying with section 6125, Code of 1930, such failure did not proximately cause the accident, for two reasons: (1) the noises of and in the bus prevented the train signals from being heard, and negligence cannot be predicated on not doing a thing which would have been utterly useless, if done. (2) It is certain that when the driver of the school bus stopped and looked up the track, the train was in sight, that he attempted to beat it to the crossing to avoid being late, but miscalculated his speed.

Railroad Co. v. Kellam, 83 Va. 851, 3 S.E. 703; Perkins v. Railroad Co., 57 Hun. 586, 10 N.Y.S. 356; Siegel v. Railroad Co., 79 Wis. 404, 48 N.W. 488; Moore on Facts, sec. 148, page 193, sec. 153, page 198, sec. 135, page 200, and sec. 160, pages 204-6; Peters v. Ry. Co., 135 Ala. 533, 33 So. 332; Ry. Co. v. Williams, 137 S.W. 828; Railroad Co. v. Batsel, 140 S.W. 726; Zibbell v. So. Pac. Co., 160 Cal. 237, 116 P. 513; Westerkamp v. R. R. Co., 41 Colo. 290, 92 P. 687; Harten v. R. R. Co., 18 App. Cas. 260; Johnson v. R. R. Co., 61 Ill.App. 522; R. R. Co. v. Kirby, 86 Ill.App. 57; R. R. Co. v. Gallagher, 109 Ill.App. 67; Ry. Co. v. DeFrietas, 109 Ill.App. 104; R. R. Co. v. Vremeister, 112 Ill.App. 346; Ry. Co. v. Hirsch, 132 Ill.App. 656; R. R. Co. v. Fraze, 150 Ind. 576, 65 Am. St. Rep. 377, 50 N.E. 576; Ry. Co. v. Baker, 104 S.W. 1182; Artz v. R. R. Co., 34 Ia. 153; Payne v. Railroad Co., 39 Ia. 523; Bloomfield v. Ry. Co., 74 Ia. 607, 38 N.W. 431; Young v. Ry. Co., 57 Kan. 134, 45 P. 583; Smith v. R. R. Co., 87 Me. 339, 32 A. 967; Blumenthal v. R. R. Co., 97 Me. 255, 54 A. 747; Day v. B. & M. R. R., 97 Me. 528, 55 A. 420; McCarthy v. R. R. Co., 90 A. 490, 54 L.R.A. (N.S.) 140; N. C. Ry. Co. v. Medairy, 86 Md. 168, 37 A. 796, 3 Am. Neg. Rep. 411; Ry. Co. v. Beasley, 117 Md. 270, 83 A. 157; Carlson v. Ry. Co., 296 Minn. 504, 105 N.W. 555, 113 Am. St. Rep. 655, 4 L.R.A. (N.S.) 349; [173 Miss. 492] State v. Dettner, 27 S.W. 1117; Hook v. Ry. Co., 162 Mo. 569, 63 S.W. 360; State v. Gurley, 70 S.W. 875; Barrie v. Co., 102 Mo.App. 87, 76 S.W. 706; Porter v. Ry. Co., 199 Mo.App. 82, 97 S.W. 880; Schaub v. Ry. Co., 133 Mo.App. 444, 113 S.W. 1163; Waggoner v. R. R. Co., 152 Mo.App. 173, 133 S.W. 68; Dolfini v. R. R. Co., 178 N.Y. 1, 70 N.E. 68; Fiddler v. R. R. Co., 64 A.D. 95, 71 N.Y.S. 721; Madigan v. R. R. Co., 74 N.Y.S. 143, 68 A.D. 123; Swart v. R. R. Co., 81 A.D. 402, 80 N.Y.S. 906, 177 N.Y. 529, 69 N.E. 1131; McKinley v. Ry. Co., 86 N.Y.S. 461, 91 A.D. 153; Stapp v. Ry. Co., 29 N.Y.S. 1008, 80 Hun. 178; Belch v. R. R. Co., 36 N.Y.S. 56, 90 Hun. 477; Montenes v. Ry. Co., 78 N.Y.S. 1059, 77 A.D. 493; Golden v. Ry. Co., 98 N.Y.S. 848, 49 Misc. 521; O'Brien v. R. R. Co., 113 N.Y.S. 329, 129 A.D. 288; Ry. Co. v. Elliott, 28 O. St. 340; Marland v. R. R. Co., 123 Pa. St. 487, 16 A. 624, 10 Am. St. Rep. 541; Meyers v. R. R. Co., 150 Pa. 386; 24 A. 747; Urias v. R. R. Co., 152 Pa. 336, 25 A. 566; Holden v. R. R. Co., 169 Pa. 1, 32 A. 103; Ry. Co. v. Wilson, 60 S.W. 438; Ry. Co. v. Skinner, 119 Va. 843, 89 S.E. 887; Cawley v. Ry. Co., 101 Wis. 145, 77 N.W. 179; Stafford v. R. R. Co., 110 Wis. 331, 85 N.W. 1036; Marshal v. R. R. Co., 125 Wis. 96, 103 N.W. 249; White v. Ry. Co., 147 Wis. 141, 133 N.W. 148; Ry. Co. v. Smith, 40 L.R.A. 246, 86 F. 295, 30 C. C. A. 58; Ry. Co. v. Andrews, 130 F. 65, 64 C. C. A. 399; Waters-Pierce Oil Co. v. Van Elderen, 137 F. 557, 70 C. C. A. 255; Ry. Co. v. Collier, 137 F. 347; R. R. Co. v. Cundieff, 171 F. 319, 96 C. C. A. 211; R. R. Co. v. Hurlburt, 221 F. 907, 137 C. C. A. 477; Am. Car & Fndry. Co. v. Kinderman, 216 F. 499, 132 C. C. A. 577; Hickey v. R. R. Corp., 8 F.2d 128; Michelson v. Nebraska, etc., Co., 63 F.2d 597; Billingsly v. R. R. Co., 100 Miss. 612, 56 So. 790; Ry. Co. v. McGee, 117 Miss. 370, 78 So. 296; R. R. Co. v. Cox, 132 Miss. 564, 97 So. 7. [173 Miss. 493]

Appellant submits that Tessie Roberts' qualities of obedience are not an element of damages, and appellees' emphasis upon this feature was but a deliberately calculated attempt to affect the hearts of the jury and cause their hearts to sway their heads.

Whether the person complaining of an injury has himself exercised due caution is likewise to be determined by circumstances, for what would be such in one state of case would not be in another; and it is obvious dictate of common sense that greater caution and circumspection are required by one surrounded by increased difficulties and perils beyond those usually encountered.

R. R. Co. v. French, 69 Miss. 121, 12 So. 338; Jobe v. R. R. Co., 71 Miss. 734, 15 So. 129.

By two of the instructions the jury was instructed that absolutely nothing was required of Tessie Roberts, regardless of the driver's recklessness and conditions interfering with free vision. Of course, if not required of Tessie Roberts, it was not required of any other occupant of the bus. This would mean that the occupants of a bus are utterly free from an obligation which rests upon every other individual in the state. If this court now so holds, it must first overrule decisions covering a period of over thirty years.

R. R. Co. v. McLeod, 78 Miss. 334, 29 So. 76; R. R. Co. v. Lucken, 137 Miss. 572, 102 So. 393; R. R. Co. v. Brown, 138 Miss. 39, 102 So. 855; R. R. Co. v. Buford, 150 Miss. 832, 116 So. 817.

Since the train was in plain view, then the failure to give signals was not a proximate cause, and, therefore, the jury could not find for appellees.

14 R. C. L. 793; Lackey v. R. R. Co., 102 Miss. 339, 59 So. 97; Harrison v. Garner, 110 Miss. 586, 70 So. 700; Bank v. Hulsey, 112 Miss. 632, 73 So. 621; Owen v. Anderson, 119 Miss. 66, 80 So. 386; Dent v. Mendenhall, 139 Miss. 271, 104 So. 82; Veney v. Samuels, 142 Miss. 476, 10 So. 417; R. R. Co. v. Hawkins, 132 So. 742; [173 Miss. 494] Godrey v. Ry. Co., 101 Miss. 565, 570, 571, 50 So. 534; R. R. Co. v. Cuevas, 162 Miss. 521, 139 So. 397; R. R. Co. v. Cornelius, 131 Miss. 37, 95 So. 90; Coleman v. Adair, 75 Miss. 660, 23 So. 389.

Where a traveler sees the train coming and instead of waiting for it to pass undertakes to cross the track and receives injury he cannot recover, even though the engineer neglected to sound signals.

C. R. I. & P....

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36 practice notes
  • Fant v. Fant, 31702
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • June 10, 1935
    ...merely shifts the burden of giving evidence from the person attacking such a deed to the person defending it, and casts on him [173 Miss. 487] the burden of overcoming the presumption. In other words, a prima facie case of fraud is made by proof that a confidential relation existed between ......
  • Palermo v. Letourneau Technologies, Inc., Civil Action No. 5:07-cv-78 (DCB)(JMR).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Mississippi
    • March 26, 2008
    ...of a community of design." Howard v. General Motors Corp., 287 F.Supp. 646 (N.D.Miss.1968) (citing Mississippi Cent. R. Co. v. Roberts, 173 Miss. 487, 160 So. 604 (1935)). Mississippi law provides that defendants be tried together when there is joint and several liability for damages. Adams......
  • Ross v. Louisville & N.R. Co., 32511
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • March 1, 1937
    ...M. V. R. R. Co., 151 So. 916; Russell v. Williams, 151 So. 372; Gulf Refining Co. v. Moody, 160 So. 559; Miss. Central Ry. Co. v. Roberts, 160 So. 604; Solomon v. Continental Baking Co., 160 So. 732; G. & S. I. R. R. Co. v. Barnes, 94 Miss. 484; A. & V. Ry. v. Davis, 69 Miss. 444, 13 So. 69......
  • Avent v. Tucker, 33948
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • March 18, 1940
    ...v. McLaurin Furniture Co., 166 Miss. 180, 146 So. 877; Thomas v. Lexington, 168 Miss. 107, 150 So. 816; Miss. Cent. Ry. v. Roberds, 173 Miss. 487, 160 So. 604; Flynn v. Kurn, 184 So. 160; Gower v. Strain, 169 Miss. 344, 145 So. 244. The verdict is excessive. G. & S. I. R. R. v. Boone, 120 M......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
36 cases
  • Fant v. Fant, 31702
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • June 10, 1935
    ...merely shifts the burden of giving evidence from the person attacking such a deed to the person defending it, and casts on him [173 Miss. 487] the burden of overcoming the presumption. In other words, a prima facie case of fraud is made by proof that a confidential relation existed between ......
  • Palermo v. Letourneau Technologies, Inc., Civil Action No. 5:07-cv-78 (DCB)(JMR).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Mississippi
    • March 26, 2008
    ...of a community of design." Howard v. General Motors Corp., 287 F.Supp. 646 (N.D.Miss.1968) (citing Mississippi Cent. R. Co. v. Roberts, 173 Miss. 487, 160 So. 604 (1935)). Mississippi law provides that defendants be tried together when there is joint and several liability for damages. Adams......
  • Ross v. Louisville & N.R. Co., 32511
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • March 1, 1937
    ...M. V. R. R. Co., 151 So. 916; Russell v. Williams, 151 So. 372; Gulf Refining Co. v. Moody, 160 So. 559; Miss. Central Ry. Co. v. Roberts, 160 So. 604; Solomon v. Continental Baking Co., 160 So. 732; G. & S. I. R. R. Co. v. Barnes, 94 Miss. 484; A. & V. Ry. v. Davis, 69 Miss. 444, 13 So. 69......
  • Avent v. Tucker, 33948
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • March 18, 1940
    ...v. McLaurin Furniture Co., 166 Miss. 180, 146 So. 877; Thomas v. Lexington, 168 Miss. 107, 150 So. 816; Miss. Cent. Ry. v. Roberds, 173 Miss. 487, 160 So. 604; Flynn v. Kurn, 184 So. 160; Gower v. Strain, 169 Miss. 344, 145 So. 244. The verdict is excessive. G. & S. I. R. R. v. Boone, 120 M......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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