Missouri Pac Co v. Aeby

Citation275 U.S. 426,72 L.Ed. 351,48 S.Ct. 177
Decision Date03 January 1928
Docket NumberNo. 100,100
CourtUnited States Supreme Court

275 U.S. 426
48 S.Ct. 177
72 L.Ed. 351



No. 100.
Argued Dec. 1, 1927.
Decided Jan. 3, 1928.

Page 427

Mr. Merritt U. Hayden, of Detroit, Mich., for petitioner.

Mr. Patrick H. Cullen, of St. Louis, Mo., for respondent.

Mr. Justice BUTLER delivered the opinion of the Court.

Petitioner is a common carrier of interstate commerce by railroad. Respondent was its station agent at Magness, Ark., and, January 13, 1921, while employed in such commerce, fell on the station platform and was injured. She brought this action in the circuit court of St. Louis, Mo., claiming damages under the Federal Employers' Liability Act (U. S. C. tit. 45, c. 2, § 51 (45 USCA § 51; Comp. St. § 8657)), on the ground that her injuries resulted by reason of a defect or insufficiency in the platform due to petitioner's negligence. The jury returned a verdict, and the court entered judgment thereon, in her favor. Petitioner took the case to the Supreme Court, and contended that the platform was not a part of its 'works,' within the meaning of the act, that the evidence was not sufficient to sustain a finding that petitioner was guilty of actionable negligence, that respondent assumed the risk, and that her own negligence was the sole cause of her injuries. That court decided all these questions adversely to the petitioner and affirmed the judgment. 313 Mo. 492, 285 S. W. 965. Certiorari was granted. 273 U. S. 679, 47 S. Ct. 108, 71 L. Ed. 836.

The act makes the carrier liable for injuries resulting to its employe § by reason of any defect or insufficiency due

Page 428

to its negligence in 'its cars, engines, appliances, machinery, track, roadbed, works, boats, wharves, or other equipment.' The language is broad and includes things and places furnished by the carriers to be used by their employees in the performance of their work. The platform was intended to be and was used by respondent to do station work. Having regard to the beneficent purposes of the act, it would be unreasonable to hold that, when so used, a station platform is not covered by the word 'works' in the above-quoted provision. The Supreme Court rightly held that the clause applied.

Respondent had lived for years in that part of Arkansas. She was petitioner's ticket agent at Morefield from March 20, 1919, until July 2, 1920; then she became the station agent at Magness, and remained in that position until a few days after she was injured. She had charge of the station, did book work, sold tickets, handled mail, baggage, express, etc. She was the only person regularly performing station work, and for some time before the accident she lived in the station building. It was a one-story structure, 16 feet wide by 48 feet long, located south of, parallel to, and 10 feet from the track. The waiting room occupied the west end, and adjoining it there was an office having a bay window toward the track. The waiting room door, in front of which were two steps, was just west of the bay window. The platform was made of 'chat,' described as small gravel and crushed stone. It was something like a cinder path. There were no gutters on the eaves, and water falling from the roof made a depression or kind of ditch. The chat was loose, and sloped toward the building, and some of the rain falling on the platform, as well as the water from the roof, reached the depression under the eaves and drained past the steps to the west. The depression was about 4 inches deep, and, by reason of the slope, its bottom was about 12 inches lower than the highest part of the platform. The...

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    ...R. Co. v. Southwell, 275 U.S. 64, 48 S.Ct. 25, 72 L.Ed. 157; affirmance of judgment for plaintiff reversed. Missouri Pacific R. Co. v. Aeby, 275 U.S. 426, 48 S.Ct. 177, 72 L.Ed. 351; affirmance of judgment for plaintiff Gulf, M. & N. R. Co. v. Wells, 275 U.S. 455, 48 S.Ct. 151, 72 L.Ed. 370......
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