Mooney v. Terminal Railroad Assn. of St. Louis, No. 39202.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Missouri
Writing for the CourtWesthues
Citation186 S.W.2d 450
PartiesGERTRUDE MOONEY, Administratrix of the Estate of NEIL P. MOONEY, Deceased, v. TERMINAL RAILROAD ASSOCIATION OF ST. LOUIS, a Corporation.
Decision Date05 March 1945
Docket NumberNo. 39202.
186 S.W.2d 450
GERTRUDE MOONEY, Administratrix of the Estate of NEIL P. MOONEY, Deceased,
v.
TERMINAL RAILROAD ASSOCIATION OF ST. LOUIS, a Corporation.
No. 39202.
Supreme Court of Missouri.
Division Two, March 5, 1945.
Rehearing Denied or Motion to Transfer to Banc Overruled, April 2, 1945.

[186 S.W.2d 451]

Appeal from Circuit Court of City of St. Louis.Hon. Edward M. Ruddy, Judge.

AFFIRMED.

Joseph A. McClain, Jr., and Arnot L. Sheppard for appellant.

(1) Decedent's own negligence was the sole proximate cause of his injury. He had been warned of the movement to be made, but nevertheless stepped directly in front of the moving locomotive. No negligence of appellant appears. Ebell v. Oregon-Washington R. & N. Co., 221 Pac. 1062; Hines v. Kersheimer's Admx., 249 S.W. 1001; Loring v. K.C., F.S. & M.R. Co., 128 Mo. 349; Pere Marquette R. Co. v. Haskins, 62 Fed. (2d) 806; Great Northern R. Co. v. Wiles, 240 U.S. 444, 36 S. Ct. 406, 60 L. Ed. 732; Unadilla Valley R. Co. v. Caldine, 278 U.S. 139, 49 S. Ct. 91, 73 L. Ed. 224; Ingram v. M. & O.R. Co., 30 S.W. (2d) 989. (2) The Missouri humanitarian doctrine does not furnish a ground for recovery in this case. This action is under Federal Employers' Liability Act, and, therefore, liability vel non must be determined under legal principles accepted and followed by the federal courts. Cox v. M.-K.-T.R. Co., 335 Mo. 1226, 76 S.W. (2d) 411. (3) The federal courts accept and apply the last clear chance doctrine; but not the Missouri humanitarian doctrine. Denver City Tramway Co. v. Cobb, 164 Fed. 41; Hart v. Northern P.R. Co., 196 Fed. 180; Iowa Central R. Co. v. Walker, 203 Fed. 685; Marshall v. Hines, 281 Fed. 165; Miller v. Canadian Northern R. Co., 281 Fed. 664; Wheelock v. Gray, 13 Fed. (2d) 972; Miller v. Union Pacific R. Co., 63 Fed. (2d) 574; Allnutt v. Mo. Pac. R. Co., 8 Fed. (2d) 604; Robbins v. Pa. R. Co., 245 Fed. 435; Linde Air Products Co. v. Cameron, 82 Fed. (2d) 22; Kansas City So. R. Co. v. Ellzey, 275 U.S. 236, 48 S. Ct. 80, 72 L. Ed. 259; Toledo, St. L. & W.R. Co. v. Allen, 276 U.S. 166, 72 L. Ed. 513; St L.-S.F.R. Co. v. Schumacher, 152 U.S. 77, 38 L. Ed. 361; Chunn v. City & Suburban Ry., 207 U.S. 302, 52 L. Ed. 219. (4) Comparative negligence as a governing principle of the Federal Employers' Liability Act in no way affects the federal last clear chance doctrine as applicable to cases brought under that act. Seiffert v. Hines, Director General, 108 Neb. 62, 187 N.W. 108; Stanley v. C., R.I. & P.R. Co., 113 Neb. 280, 202 N.W. 864; Parsons v. Berry, 130 Neb. 264, 264 N.W. 742; Wolfgang v. Omaha & Council Bluffs St. Ry. Co., 126 Neb. 600, 262 N.W. 537; McLaughlin v. Long, 2 D.L.R. 186; Johnston v. McMorran, 4 D.L.R. 335; Raines v. Southern R. Co., 169 N.C. 189, 85 S.E. 294. (5) Both the humanitarian and last clear chance doctrines blot "out all that preceded, whether primary or contributory negligence, and measures defendant's liability solely on its ability and failure to avert the injury under the then existing circumstances." Todd v. St. L.-S.F.R. Co., 37 S.W. (2d) 557; Gray v. Columbia Terminals Co., 331 Mo. 73, 52 S.W. (2d) 809. (6) "Contributory negligence is an issue wholly foreign to a case submitted purely under the humanitarian rule"; so foreign, in truth, that an instruction which submitted contributory negligence as a defense only unless the jury found for plaintiff under the humanitarian rule, was held to constitute reversible error. Gray v. Columbia Terminals Co., 331 Mo. 73, 52 S.W. (2d) 809; Schulz v. Smercina, 318 Mo. 486, 1 S.W. (2d) 113; Silliman v. Munger Laundry Co., 44 S.W. (2d) 159. (7) The federal cases base the application of the last clear chance doctrine on the principle of proximate cause. P.R. Co. v. Swartze, 17 Fed. (2d) 869. (8) Conceding for the purpose of argument only that the Missouri humanitarian doctrine is applicable to this case, the facts are wholly insufficient to make a prima facie case under that doctrine. The uncontradicted evidence discloses that decedent stepped upon the track "just as the engine hit him." Smithers v. Barker, 111 S.W. (2d) 47; Knight v. Wabash R. Co., 85 S.W. (2d) 392; Costello v. Pitcairn, 116 S.W. (2d) 257; Lotta v. K.C. Pub. Serv. Co., 342 Mo. 743, 117 S.W. (2d) 296. (9) Respondent is not aided on the merits in making a submissible case under the Missouri humanitarian doctrine by the fact that the evidence shows that decedent was within the range of vision of the engineer while the movement was being made. Neither the jury in the trial court nor this court had or has a right to reach the conclusion that the engineer actually saw decedent in time to have avoided injuring him, in the face of the undisputed testimony that he did not see decedent, even though decedent was in his range of physical vision. Draper v. L. & N.R. Co., 156 S.W. (2d) 626; Pennsylvania R. Co. v. Chamberlain, 228 U.S. 333, 77 L. Ed. 819; Southern Ry. Co. v. Walters, 284 U.S. 190, 76 L. Ed. 239. (10) The closing argument of respondent's counsel was reversibly erroneous. Draper v. L. & N.R. Co., 156 S.W. (2d) 626; Fathman v. Tumulty, 34 Mo. App. 236; Smith v. Western Union Tel. Co., 55 Mo. App. 626; Kirkpatrick v. Wells, 319 Mo. 1040, 6 S.W. (2d) 591; Jackman v. St. L. & H.R. Co., 206 S.W. 244; Davis v. Wells, 27 S.W. (2d) 714; Potashnick v. Pearline, 43 S.W. (2d) 790; Carpenter v. Kurn, 136 S.W. (2d) 997; N.Y.C.R. Co. v. Johnson, 279 U.S. 310, 49 S. Ct. 417, 73 L. Ed. 706; M., St. P. & S.S.M.R. Co. v. Moquin, 283 U.S. 520, 51 S. Ct. 501, 75 L. Ed. 1243. (11) The verdict is so excessive as to show it resulted from passion and prejudice against appellant. Hancock v. K.C. Terminal Ry. Co., 339 Mo. 1237, 100 S.W. (2d) 570; Sheehan v. Term. Railroad Assn., 344 Mo. 586, 127 S.W. (2d) 657; Truesdale v. Wheelock, 335 Mo. 924, 74 S.W. (2d) 585. (12) The unfair argument coupled with the excessiveness of the verdict calls for a new trial rather than a remittitur. M., St. P. & S.S.M.R. Co. v. Moquin, 283 U.S. 520, 51 S. Ct. 501, 75 L. Ed. 1243.

Wilbur C. Schwartz and Chelsea O. Inman for respondent.

(1) Since the evidence and issues were substantially the same in the last trial as on the former trial, the opinion of this Court rendered in the first appeal is the law of the case. Morris v. E.I. DuPont, etc., Co., 139 S.W. (2d) 984. (2) Under the law of the case as decided by this court plaintiff made a submissible case of negligence on the part of defendant's engineer in failing to stop the locomotive and avoid killing decedent, hence any negligence of decedent was not the sole cause of his death. Mooney v. Terminal R. Assn., 176 S.W. (2d) 605; Union Pacific R. Co. v. Hadley, Admr., 246 U.S. 330; Brock v. M. & O.R. Co., 330 Mo. 918, 51 S.W. (2d) 100, certiorari denied 287 U.S. 638; Illinois Central R. Co. v. Skaggs, 240 U.S. 66; Grand Trunk Western R. Co. v. Lindsay, 233 U.S. 42; Chicago G.W.R. Co. v. Schendel, 267 U.S. 287; Spokane & E.I.R. Co. v. Campbell, 241 U.S. 497. (3) The evidence also made a submissible case of negligence on the part of the engineer in failing to sound a timely warning with the whistle of the locomotive. C.L. & St. P.R. Co. v. Kane, 33 Fed. (2d) 866, certiorari denied 280 U.S. 588, 50 S. Ct. 37; Beck v. C., R.I. & P.R. Co., 327 Mo. 658, 37 S.W. (2d) 917; Hinzeman v. Railroad, 199 Mo. l.c. 65, 94 S.W. 973. (4) The court correctly decided in the former opinion that any negligence on the part of decedent did not bar a recovery however late such negligence may have been or however directly connected with the injury. Union Pacific R. Co. v. Hadley, Admr., 246 U.S. 330; Mooney v. Terminal R. Assn., 176 S.W. (2d) 605. (5) The court, in its former opinion, correctly held that a negligent violation of what in Missouri is called the humanitarian doctrine is also actionable negligence under the Federal Employers' Liability Act; that under the Federal Employers' Liability Act a plaintiff is not limited to a recovery under the last chance doctrine. Mooney v. Terminal R. Assn., supra; Tiller v. Atlantic Coast Line R. Co., 318 U.S. 54, 63 S. Ct. 444; Owens v. Union Pacific R. Co., 319 U.S. 715, 63 S. Ct. 1271. (6) Plaintiff did not plead a cause of action under the last chance doctrine in this case and, therefore, did not limit her field of recovery. On the contrary, she pleaded and proved negligence on the part of defendant's engineer in failing to stop the engine or to give a timely warning with the whistle of the locomotive although he saw, or by the exercise of ordinary care could have seen, decedent in a position of imminent peril and oblivious to his peril in time thereafter to have prevented decedent's injury by said means. Said negligence was under the evidence and applicable law a question for the jury. Mooney v. Terminal R. Assn., supra; Moran v. A.T. & S.F.R. Co., 330 Mo. 278, 48 S.W. (2d) 881. (7) The Federal courts do not limit a recovery under the last chance doctrine to discovered peril where, as in this case, there is a duty to keep a lookout. K.C. So. R. Co. v. Ellzey, 275 U.S. 236, 48 S. Ct. 80; Chunn v. City & Suburban R. Co., 207 U.S. 302, 38 S. Ct. 63; Tutweiler v. Lowery, 279 Fed. 479. (8) The rule that yard employees are not entitled to have the enginemen look out for them has no application where there is a duty to keep a lookout arising from rule or custom observed for their protection. Mayfield v. K.C. So. R. Co., 337 Mo. 79, 85 S.W. (2d) 116; Clark v. Terminal R. Assn., 111 S.W. (2d) 168; Wyatt v. N.Y.O. & W.R. Co., 45 Fed. (2d) 705; Montgomery v. B. & O.R. Co., 22 Fed. (2d) 359; Smith v. C., B. & Q.R. Co., 321 Mo. 940, 15 S.W. (2d) 794; Hunt v. C., B. & Q.R. Co., 303 Mo. 107, 259 S.W. 481; Hughes v. M.R. & B.T. Ry. Co., 309 Mo. 560, 274 S.W. 703; Rigley v. Pryor, 290 Mo. 10, 233 S.W. 828; Norfolk & W.R. Co. v. Earnest, 229 U.S. 114; B. & O.R. Co. v. Robertson, 300 Fed. 314; Lehigh Valley R. Co. v. Doktor, 290 Fed. 760; Lehigh Valley R. Co. v. Mangan, 278 Fed. 85; Director...

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17 practice notes
  • Joice v. Missouri-Kansas-Texas R. Co., No. 39366.
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • September 4, 1945
    ...weighing the fact that the trial court considered the excessiveness of the verdict (Mooney v. Terminal R. Ass'n of St. Louis, Mo.Sup., 186 S.W.2d 450), we are of the view that the verdict is yet excessive in the sum of $15,000 in the light of the above Therefore, if the respondent enter a r......
  • Stutte v. Brodtrick, No. 43237
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • July 13, 1953
    ...remarks or conduct rests largely within the discretion of the trial court. Mooney v. Terminal R. Ass'n of St. Louis, 353 Mo. 1080, 186 S.W.2d 450 and authorities cited; See also Gettys v. American Car & Foundry Co., 322 Mo. 787, 16 S.W.2d 85; Higgins v. Terminal R. Ass'n, 362 Mo. 264, 241 S......
  • Henderson v. Dolas, No. 40368.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • February 14, 1949
    ...and disregard conflicting testimony. Becker v. Aschen, 344 Mo. 1107, 131 S.W.2d 533, 541; Mooney v. Terminal R. Ass'n, 353 Mo. 1080, 186 S.W.2d 450, 455. Plaintiff was injured February 10, 1945. She was on the back porch throwing food to pigeons on a nearby roof, with her left hand resting ......
  • American National Ins. Co. v. Keitel, No. 39178.
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • March 5, 1945
    ...principal class of insurance salesmen which would be affected, is that class engaged in what is generally called industrial insurance.'" 186 S.W.2d 450 In the Virginia case, as in the Arizona case, there was a guaranteed minimum weekly stipend. The case need not be further reviewed as that ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
17 cases
  • Joice v. Missouri-Kansas-Texas R. Co., No. 39366.
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • September 4, 1945
    ...weighing the fact that the trial court considered the excessiveness of the verdict (Mooney v. Terminal R. Ass'n of St. Louis, Mo.Sup., 186 S.W.2d 450), we are of the view that the verdict is yet excessive in the sum of $15,000 in the light of the above Therefore, if the respondent enter a r......
  • Stutte v. Brodtrick, No. 43237
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • July 13, 1953
    ...remarks or conduct rests largely within the discretion of the trial court. Mooney v. Terminal R. Ass'n of St. Louis, 353 Mo. 1080, 186 S.W.2d 450 and authorities cited; See also Gettys v. American Car & Foundry Co., 322 Mo. 787, 16 S.W.2d 85; Higgins v. Terminal R. Ass'n, 362 Mo. 264, 241 S......
  • Henderson v. Dolas, No. 40368.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • February 14, 1949
    ...and disregard conflicting testimony. Becker v. Aschen, 344 Mo. 1107, 131 S.W.2d 533, 541; Mooney v. Terminal R. Ass'n, 353 Mo. 1080, 186 S.W.2d 450, 455. Plaintiff was injured February 10, 1945. She was on the back porch throwing food to pigeons on a nearby roof, with her left hand resting ......
  • American National Ins. Co. v. Keitel, No. 39178.
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • March 5, 1945
    ...principal class of insurance salesmen which would be affected, is that class engaged in what is generally called industrial insurance.'" 186 S.W.2d 450 In the Virginia case, as in the Arizona case, there was a guaranteed minimum weekly stipend. The case need not be further reviewed as that ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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