Murray v. Lehigh Val. R. Co.

CourtSupreme Court of Connecticut
Writing for the CourtANDREWS, C. J.
Citation66 Conn. 512,34 A. 506
PartiesMURRAY v. LEHIGH VAL. R. CO.
Decision Date19 July 1895
34 A. 506
66 Conn. 512

MURRAY
v.
LEHIGH VAL.
R. CO.

Supreme Court of Errors of Connecticut.

July 19, 1895.


Appeal from superior court, New Haven county; Ralph Wheeler, Judge.

Action by Joseph H. Murray against the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company for personal injuries caused by defendant's negligence. From a judgment entered on the verdict of the jury in favor of plaintiff, defendant appeals. Affirmed.

There was evidence that plaintiff was a passenger on defendant's train on December 3, 1893, from Allentown, Pa., to Jersey City, N. J.; that defendant ran its trains between such cities a portion of the way over the track of the Central Railroad Company of New Jersey; that the latter company's trains ran over the same track; that there was a contract between the companies which required defendant's trains, while on that part of the track, to be under the rules and orders and control of the Central Railroad Company of New Jersey, and to be bound to obey the orders and signals of said company; that the signal man at the junction where defendant's trains go on such portion of the Central Railroad Company's track, and under whose orders they were admitted on such track, was in the employ of the latter company, and gave directions for the trains of both companies; that the train on which plaintiff was a passenger was admitted on such portion of the track by order of such employe; that shortly afterwards, the Central Railroad Company's regular train was admitted by such employe on the same track, and approached so near to the train on which defendant was a passenger as to put him in peril of his life; and that he jumped from such train, and was injured.

The court instructed the jury as follows: "If these facts be found proved, then I instruct you that the plaintiff, being a passenger on the Lehigh Valley Railroad, is legally entitled to the same degree of safety upon this portion of the track as upon any other portion; and that it was the duty of the defendant the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company, by its contract with the Central Railroad Company, to provide for its trains and its passengers that degree of skill and care and diligence which common carriers of passengers are by law required to exercise. For this purpose the Central Railroad Company may be regarded as itself one of the servants of the defendant, the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company. The servants of the Central Railroad Company operating trains upon this portion of the track may be considered the servants of the Lehigh Valley Company. The track, for the purpose of operating its trains, must be regarded as the track of the Lehigh Valley Company; and both trains may be regarded as the trains of the Lehigh Valley Company, for the purposes of this case. This defendant cannot by a contract with another company, escape any of the duties or responsibilities which the law imposes upon the carriers of passengers. It is under the same obligation whether it owns a track or hires one, whether it exercises control over its own track and its own trains, or contracts with another to furnish a track and to exercise the control which it is itself bound to exercise. To entitle him to a verdict, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant, the Lehigh Valley Company, was guilty of negligence which was the approximate cause of injury to the plaintiff; and, in determining this question of negligence,

34 A. 507

you are to take into consideration the facts to which I have already referred, and the law applicable thereto, and all the other testimony in the case. Upon this question of the negligence of the defendant, you may regard the Lehigh Valley Company as responsible, not only for the presence of its own train upon that track at that time, but also for the presence of the other train on the same track at the same time and in the place in which it was, provided the trains were there by reason of the failure of the Lehigh Valley Company, through its servants, or of the failure of the Central Railroad Company, by its servants, while executing their employer's business within the duty and scope of their employment, to exercise that degree of care and diligence required of carriers of passengers for hire."

George D. Watrous and Edward G. Buckland, for appellant.

Tilton E. Doolittle, for appellee.

ANDREWS, C. J. The controlling question presented by the appeal in this case arises on the charge of the court to the jury. That being disposed of, the other assignments of error become unimportant. And in the charge that question is narrowed to this: Was the court correct in saying to the jury that the servants of the Central Railroad Company, while operating its trains on that portion of its track used in common by that company and this defendant, might for the purposes of this case, be regarded as the servants of this defendant? A recurrence to the duties which the law imposes on every railroad company as a carrier of passengers will serve to make the answer to this question more distinct.

A railroad corporation, by the contract for a passage over its road, assumes the obligation to exercise the highest practicable degree of human skill to carry the passenger in safety, and undertakes absolutely to protect him against any injury or willful misconduct of its servants in the performance of its contract; and the obligation in these respects continues until the contract is fully performed. Dwinelle v. Railroad Co., 120 N. Y. 117, 24 N. E. 319. Every carrier of passengers for hire—although not, like a common carrier of goods, an insurer against everything but the act of God and the public enemies—is bound to use the utmost care which is consistent with the nature of the business to guard the passenger against all dangers, from whatever source arising, which may reasonably and naturally be expected to occur, in view of all the circumstances, and of the number and character of the persons with whom the passenger will be brought in contact The carrier must provide safe, sufficient, and suitable vehicles for transportation, and must provide such servants for the management of the same, and make all such reasonable arrangements therefor, as the highest care of a prudent man would suggest as necessary to a safe passage. Hall v. Steamboat Co., 13 Conn. 319; Fuller v. Naugatuck R. Co., 21 Conn. 557; Flint v. Transportation Co., 34 Conn. 554; Simmons v. Steamboat Co., 87 Mass. 361; Palmeri v. Railway Co., 133 N. Y. 261, 30 N. E. 1001; Pendleton v. Kinsley, 3 Cliff. 416, Fed. Cas. No. 10,922. This duty is imposed by law; and this measure for its performance rests upon a railroad corporation to its full extent. A railroad corporation is a carrier of passengers by virtue of the franchise granted to it by its charter,—a franchise intended to be used for the public good. By asking for and receiving the franchise, the corporation comes under the obligation to answer in damages to every one who may be injured by any negligence in the use of the privilege it has so received. And public policy will not permit the corporation to relieve itself from this obligation by any contract with others. A railroad company entering into contract relations with another company, by which the safety of its own passengers may be affected, is held to have made the other company in this respect its own agent. It is held to the exercise of due care for the safety of all persons, while exercising its franchise, whether on its own road or that of another company. This duty was imposed by law when it received its charter, and this duty holds good at all times and in all places. If the company operates its trains over the road of another company, it must see and know that the track is in good and safe condition, and that the trains of the other company are so ordered as not to interfere with the full discharge of its own duty to its own passengers, because such trains would be a danger against which it would be bound to provide. If a railroad company permits another company to run its trains upon its track, it is liable for any want of care of its lessee, and nay be sued therefor, the same as though the trains were its own. If a railroad company leases its entire road and all its rolling stock to another...

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40 practice notes
  • Francis v. Terminal Railroad Assn., No. 39573.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • April 8, 1946
    ...L. Ed. 591; Lee v. So. P.R. Co., 116 Cal. 97, 47 Pac. 932; Abbott v. Johnstown, G. & K.R. Co., 80 N.Y. 27; Murray v. Lehigh Valley R. Co., 66 Conn. 512, 34 Atl. 506. (5) But it has been established by the opinions of the Supreme Court of the United States that not only are the companies whi......
  • Graham v. Thompson, No. 39898.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • May 27, 1948
    ...591, 595; Lee v. Sou. P.R. Co., 116 Cal. 97, 47 P. 932; Abbott v. Johnstown, G. & K.R. Co., 80 N.Y. 27; Murray v. Lehigh Valley R. Co., 66 Conn. 512, 34 Atl. 506. (13) That the original principle arose by reason of the lease by a railroad of all of its property to another railroad, thereby ......
  • Richmond-Ashland Ry. Co. v. Jackson
    • United States
    • Virginia Supreme Court of Virginia
    • January 14, 1932
    ...Chicago, etc., R. Co., 71 Ia. 561, 32 N.W. 488; St. Louis, etc., R. Co. Sweet, 57 Ark. 287, 21 S.W. 587; Murray Lehigh Valley R. Co., 66 Conn. 512, 34 Atl. 506, 32 L.R.A. 539; Chicago, etc., R. Co. Lewis, 145 Ill. 67, 33 N.E. 960; Chicago, etc., R. Co. Arnol, 144 Ill. 261, 33 N.E. 204, 19 L......
  • Richmond-ash La No Ry. Co v. Jackson
    • United States
    • Virginia Supreme Court of Virginia
    • January 14, 1932
    ...etc., R. Co., 71 Iowa, 561, 32 N. W. 488; St. Louis, etc., R. Co. v. Sweet, 57 Ark. 287. 21 S. W. 587; Murray v. Lehigh Valley R. Co., 66 Conn. 512, 34 A. 506, 32 L R. A. 539; Chicago, etc., R. Co. v. Lewis, 145 Ill. 67, 33 N. E. 960; Chicago, etc., R. Co. v. Arnol, 144 Ill. 261, 33 N. E. 2......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
40 cases
  • Francis v. Terminal Railroad Assn., No. 39573.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • April 8, 1946
    ...L. Ed. 591; Lee v. So. P.R. Co., 116 Cal. 97, 47 Pac. 932; Abbott v. Johnstown, G. & K.R. Co., 80 N.Y. 27; Murray v. Lehigh Valley R. Co., 66 Conn. 512, 34 Atl. 506. (5) But it has been established by the opinions of the Supreme Court of the United States that not only are the companies whi......
  • Graham v. Thompson, No. 39898.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • May 27, 1948
    ...591, 595; Lee v. Sou. P.R. Co., 116 Cal. 97, 47 P. 932; Abbott v. Johnstown, G. & K.R. Co., 80 N.Y. 27; Murray v. Lehigh Valley R. Co., 66 Conn. 512, 34 Atl. 506. (13) That the original principle arose by reason of the lease by a railroad of all of its property to another railroad, thereby ......
  • Richmond-Ashland Ry. Co. v. Jackson
    • United States
    • Virginia Supreme Court of Virginia
    • January 14, 1932
    ...Chicago, etc., R. Co., 71 Ia. 561, 32 N.W. 488; St. Louis, etc., R. Co. Sweet, 57 Ark. 287, 21 S.W. 587; Murray Lehigh Valley R. Co., 66 Conn. 512, 34 Atl. 506, 32 L.R.A. 539; Chicago, etc., R. Co. Lewis, 145 Ill. 67, 33 N.E. 960; Chicago, etc., R. Co. Arnol, 144 Ill. 261, 33 N.E. 204, 19 L......
  • Richmond-ash La No Ry. Co v. Jackson
    • United States
    • Virginia Supreme Court of Virginia
    • January 14, 1932
    ...etc., R. Co., 71 Iowa, 561, 32 N. W. 488; St. Louis, etc., R. Co. v. Sweet, 57 Ark. 287. 21 S. W. 587; Murray v. Lehigh Valley R. Co., 66 Conn. 512, 34 A. 506, 32 L R. A. 539; Chicago, etc., R. Co. v. Lewis, 145 Ill. 67, 33 N. E. 960; Chicago, etc., R. Co. v. Arnol, 144 Ill. 261, 33 N. E. 2......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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