Mississippi Cent R. Co. v. Knight, 24615

CourtMississippi Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtCOOK, J.
Citation138 Miss. 621,103 So. 377
Docket Number24615
Decision Date30 March 1925
PartiesMISSISSIPPI CENT R. CO. v. KNIGHT. [*]

103 So. 377

138 Miss. 621

MISSISSIPPI CENT R. CO.
v.
KNIGHT. [*]

No. 24615

Supreme Court of Mississippi

March 30, 1925


Division A

1. COMMERCE. Employee on intrastate train, injured after discharge of interstate shipments, not engaged in "interstate commerce."

Engineer of an intrastate train, injured on way to roundhouse after end of trip, was not engaged in interstate commerce at time of injury, within federal Employers' Liability Act (U. S. Comp. St., Sections 8657-8665), all interstate shipments having, so far as appears, been delivered before the train reached destination.

[138 Miss. 622]

2. MASTER AND SERVANT. Instruction as to injury from running of train being prima-facie evidence of negligence held proper, whether or not evidence of circumstances be conflicting.

Whether or not the evidence of the circumstances attending the injury of a railroad employee in the running of a train be conflicting, it is proper, in action therefor, to instruct, in accordance with the statute, that, in all actions against a railroad company, proof of injury inflicted by running of locomotive or cars is prima-facie evidence of negligence of the company in reference to the injury.

HON. J. Q. LANGSTON, Judge.

APPEAL from circuit court of Jefferson Davis county, HON. J. Q. LANGSTON, Judge.

Action by Ernest Knight against the Mississippi Central Railroad Company. Judgment for plaintiff, and defendant appeals. Affirmed.

Judgment affirmed.

Brady & Dean, for appellant.

The errors of the trial court, as assigned by appellant, are all so closely connected with the error committed by the trial court in holding that the cause of action asserted by Knight was not controlled by the Employers' Liability Act that the argument upon that error will, with only occasional distinctions which will be pointed out, include the other errors, and we shall proceed in this brief according to that plan.

There can be no question that appellant itself at the time of this injury, without reference to passenger train No. 2, was engaged in interstate commerce. It daily operated trains in interstate commerce, between Natchez, Mississippi, and Mobile, Alabama, and at every junction [138 Miss. 623] point exchanged interstate traffic. The very train which passenger train No. 2 followed into the yard and with one section of which it collided, was en route to Mobile.

By the character of passenger train No. 2, without reference to its other operations, it was at such time engaged in interstate commerce. Passenger train No. 2 had come out of Natchez, carrying interstate express shipments--three going from Natchez, Mississippi, to New Orleans, Louisiana, and one from Wisher, Louisiana, through Mississippi, into Kentwood, Louisiana. It carried a United States mail car and messenger, with mail in pouches put on at Natchez, at Roxie, at Brookhaven and at Wanilla, such points being, as already indicated, regular junction points for interstate traffic.

Since it is well established that when a commodity has been delivered to a common carrier for continuous transportation to a point in another state, interstate commerce then begins and continues throughout until the freight reaches the point where the parties intended that the movement should finally end, such carriers, by accepting any freight for shipment to or from another state, or by participating to any extent in the movement thereof, are thereby engaged in interstate commerce, within the purview of the federal act, notwithstanding their operation may be confined within the limits of a single city, county or state. This is true though the shipment is made by the carrier without any common control, management or arrangement with another carrier for a continuous carriage or shipment.

1 Roberts "Federal Liabilities of Carriers," 743, citing: United States, ex rel. Attorney General v. Union Stockyards & Transit Co. of Chicago, 192 F. 330; St. Joseph Stockyards Co. v. United States, 110 C. C. A. 432, 187 F. 104; United States v. Illinois Terminal R. Co., 168 F. 546; Belt R. Co. of Chicago v. United States, 93 C. C. A. 666, 168 F. 542, 22 L. R. A. (N. S.) 582; United States v. Standard Oil Co. of Indiana, 155 F. 305; United States v. Chicago Great Western Ry. Co., [138 Miss. 624] 162 F. 775; United States v. Northern Pac. Terminal B. Co., 144 F. 861; Western Ry. of Alabama v. Mays, 72 So. 641; Devine v. Chicago & C. River R. Co., 257 Ill. 449, 102 N.E. 803; Ross v. Sheldon, 176 Iowa 618, 154 N.W. 499; Louisiana Ry. & Nav. Co. v. Holly, 127 La. 615, 53 So. 882; Morrison v. Commercial Towboat Co., 116 N.E. 499; Gaines v. Detroit, G. H. & M. R. Co., 181 Mich. 376, 148 N.W. 397; Trowbridge v. Kansas City & W. B. Ry., 192 Mo.App. 52, 179 S.W. 777; Gulf, C. & S. F. Ry. Co. v. Mathis, 194 S.W. 1135; Anset v. Columbia & P. S. R. Co., 89 Wash. 609, 154 P. 1100; Findley v. Coal & Coke Co., 76 W.Va. 747, 87 S.E. 198.

It is hard to understand how an argument could be made in good faith that appellee himself was not at the time of the injury engaged in interstate commerce. If we consider the matter of the express shipments only, then it must be admitted that between Natchez and Brookhaven at the time when train No. 2 had upon it American Railway Express Company interstate shipments, Knight was engaged in interstate commerce. Since said train No. 2 did not lose its character as an interstate carrier after it left Brookhaven, it must also be admitted that appellee was thereafter engaged in interstate commerce to some fixed point, and since the journey of the train and the duties of the engineer did not end until the engine had reached the round-house in Hattiesburg, and had there been delivered to the hostler, it must then follow that the roundhouse was such fixed point.

As a matter of fact, both he and every other member of the train crew were then and there employed in interstate commerce. North Carolina R. R. Co. v. Zachary, 232 U.S. 248, 58 L.Ed. 591; Southern R. R. Co. v. Gadd, 233 U.S. 572, 58 L.Ed. 1099; Norfolk Southern R. R. Co. v. Ferebee, 238 U.S. 269, 59 L.Ed. 1303; New York Central & Hudson River R. R. Co. v. Carr, 238 U.S. 260, 59 L.Ed. 1298; Central Vermont R. R. Co. v. White, 238 U.S. 507, 59 L.Ed. 1433; Great Northern Railway Co. v. Otos, 239 U.S. 349, 60 L.Ed. 322; Southern R. R. Co. v. Lloyd, [138 Miss. 625] 239 U.S. 496, 60 L.Ed. 402; Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific R. R. Co. V. Wright, 239 U.S. 548, 60 L.Ed. 431; Erie R. R. Co. v. Collins, 253 U.S. 84, 64 L.Ed. 794; Philadelphia, Baltimore & Washington R. R. Co. v. Smith, 250 U.S. 101, 63 L.Ed. 869.

The United States supreme court has in several leading cases laid down the test of what constitutes employment in interstate commerce and these principles have been illustrated numerous times in other cases decided by that august tribunal. Shanks v. Delaware, Lackawanna & Western R. R. Co., 239 U.S. 556, 60 L.Ed. 436; Pederson v. Delaware, Lackawanna & Western R. R. Co., 229 U.S. 146, 57 L.Ed. 1125. See also: Kinzell v. Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul R. R. Co., 250 U.S. 130, 63 L.Ed. 893; Southern Pacific Co. v. Industrial Accident Commission, 251 U.S. 259, 64 L.Ed. 258; Erie R. R. Co. v. Collins, 253 U.S. 77, 64 L.Ed. 790; Philadelphia & Reading R. R. Co. v. Polk, 256 U.S. 332, 65 L.Ed. 958; Industrial Accident Commission v. Davis, 259 U.S. 182, 66 L.Ed. 888.

Applying these tests to appellee's status, there is no escape from the conclusion that his work was not independent of the interstate commerce in which the defendant was engaged and its performance was not a matter of indifference so far as that commerce was concerned, but the performance of it was in the nature of a duty resting upon the carrier and was so closely connected with interstate commerce as to be a part of it. His connection therewith was at all times as close as, and in some instances closer than, the connection therewith of the employees in the following cases, in every one of which liability and recovery was wholly controlled by the Federal Employers' Liability Act. Norfolk & Western R. R. Co. v. Earnest, 229 U.S. 114, 57 L.Ed. 1096; St. Louis, San Francisco & Texas R. R. Co. v. Seale, 229 U.S. 156, 57 L.Ed. 1129; North Carolina R. R. Co. v. Zachary, 232 U.S. 248, 58 L.Ed. 591; New York Central & Hudson River R. R. Co. v. Carr, 238 U. [138 Miss. 626] S. 260, 59 L.Ed. 1298; Great Northern R. R. Co. v. Otos, 239 U.S. 349, 60 L.Ed. 322; Southern R. R. Co. v. Lloyd, 239 U.S. 496, 60 L.Ed. 402; Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific R. R. Co. v. Wright, 239 U.S. 548, 60 L.Ed. 431; Kanawha & Michigan R. R. Co. v. Kerse, 239 U.S. 576, 60 L.Ed. 448; Illinois Central R. R. Co. v. Skaggs, 240 U.S. 66, 60 L.Ed. 528; Philadelphia & Reading R. R. Co. v. Hancock, 253 U.S. 284, 64 L.Ed. 907; Erie R. R. Co v. Szary, 253 U.S. 86, 64 L.Ed. 794; Philadelphia & Reading R. R. Co. v. Didonato, 256 U.S. 327, 65 L.Ed. 955; Chesapeake & Ohio R. R. Co. v. Kornhoff, 166 Ky. 353, 180 S.W. 523; Chesapeake & Ohio R. R. Co. v. Shaw, 182 S.W. 653. For further cases in point see 10, A. L. R. 1216, 14 A. L. R. 732, 24 A. L. R. 617, 634, 29 A. L. R. 1207.

Having started upon a journey in the conduct of interstate commerce, appellant in this case was an employee in interstate commerce until the journey was completed.

As shown by the testimony of his conductor, of his superintendent and as admitted by him in testimony, his journey did not end until he had reached the round-house and turned his engine over to the hostler. Any injury sustained by him, therefore, prior to the delivery of the engine is an "injury suffered while he was employed by such carrier in such commerce." Seaboard Air Line Railway Company v. Padgett, 236 U.S. 668, 59 L.Ed. 777; Erie Railroad Company v. Winfield, 244 U.S. 170, 61 L.Ed. 1057; Easter v. Virginian R. R. Co., 76 W. V. 383, 11 N.C. C. A. 101, 86 S.E. 37; Czary case, 253 U.S. 86, 64 L.Ed. 794.

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3 practice notes
  • Columbus & Greenville R. Co. v. Lee, 26535
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • February 27, 1928
    ...R. R. Co. v. Murray, 91 Miss. 546; Hollingshed v. R. R. Co., 99 Miss. 464; R. R. Co. v. Thornhill, 106 Miss. 387; R. R. Co. v. Knight, 138 Miss. 621; and R. R. Co. v. Hudson, 142 Miss 542, the brief of counsel for appellees to be filed on or before Monday, October 3d, and reply thereto of c......
  • Parchman v. Mobile & O. R. R. Co., 25437
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • May 24, 1926
    ...and must exculpate the defendant of liability or else the plaintiff must prevail under the statute. See, also, R. R. Co. v. Knight, 103 So. 377. Even though the child was a trespasser, defendant was liable to him for its negligence. This negligence is presumed under the statute and until th......
  • Adams-Newell Lumber, Co. v. Jones, 29753
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • January 25, 1932
    ...to run into and to injure and kill said cow. The court did not err in granting the prima-facie instruction. Miss. Cent. R. Co. v. Knight, 103 So. 377; Roberds v. Mobile & O. R. Co., 21 So. 10; New Orleans, M. & C. R. Co. v. Harrison, 105 Miss. 18, 61 So. 655. The appellee was entitled to a ......
3 cases
  • Columbus & Greenville R. Co. v. Lee, 26535
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • February 27, 1928
    ...R. R. Co. v. Murray, 91 Miss. 546; Hollingshed v. R. R. Co., 99 Miss. 464; R. R. Co. v. Thornhill, 106 Miss. 387; R. R. Co. v. Knight, 138 Miss. 621; and R. R. Co. v. Hudson, 142 Miss 542, the brief of counsel for appellees to be filed on or before Monday, October 3d, and reply thereto of c......
  • Parchman v. Mobile & O. R. R. Co., 25437
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • May 24, 1926
    ...and must exculpate the defendant of liability or else the plaintiff must prevail under the statute. See, also, R. R. Co. v. Knight, 103 So. 377. Even though the child was a trespasser, defendant was liable to him for its negligence. This negligence is presumed under the statute and until th......
  • Adams-Newell Lumber, Co. v. Jones, 29753
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • January 25, 1932
    ...to run into and to injure and kill said cow. The court did not err in granting the prima-facie instruction. Miss. Cent. R. Co. v. Knight, 103 So. 377; Roberds v. Mobile & O. R. Co., 21 So. 10; New Orleans, M. & C. R. Co. v. Harrison, 105 Miss. 18, 61 So. 655. The appellee was entitled to a ......

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