New Orleans Co v. Harris, No. 276

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtMcREYNOLDS
Citation247 U.S. 367,38 S.Ct. 535,62 L.Ed. 1167
Decision Date03 June 1918
Docket NumberNo. 276
PartiesNEW ORLEANS & N. E. R. CO. et al. v. HARRIS

247 U.S. 367
38 S.Ct. 535
62 L.Ed. 1167
NEW ORLEANS & N. E. R. CO. et al.

v.

HARRIS.

No. 276.
Argued and Submitted April 30, 1918.
Decided June 3, 1918.

Page 368

Messrs. J. Blanc Monroe, of New Orleans, La., and Robert H. Thompson, of Jackson, Miss., for plaintiffs in error.

Mr. Thomas G. Fewell, of Meridian, Miss., for defendant in error.

Mr. Justice McREYNOLDS delivered the opinion of the Court.

While employed in interstate commerce by plaintiff in error, a common carrier by railroad then engaging in such commerce, Van Harris a brakeman was run over by the tender of an engine moving in the yard at New Orleans, Louisiana—February 5, 1914. He died within a few minutes without regaining consciousness. Having qualified as administratrix, his mother (defendant in error), charging negligence and relying upon the federal Employers' Liability Act, sued for damages in a state court for Lauderdale county, Mississippi. A judgment in her favor was affirmed by the Supreme Court without opinion.

Page 369

The declaration contained no averment of conscious pain or suffering by deceased. It alleged:

'That by reason of the negligence hereinabove set out, the defendant railroad company is liable for the killing of said Van Harris and the administratrix is given the right to sue by the act of Congress, she therefore brings this, her suit, and demands judgment against the defendant for the sum of ten thousand dollars.'

It further charged that the dead son had been his mother's sole support but contained no reference to his widow.

One witness who claimed to have seen the accident gave evidence tending to show negligence by the railroad; but his presence at the scene was not left free from doubt and other eyewitnesses narrated the circumstances differently. Concerning deceased's contributions to his mother's support, she said he was her sole dependence, paid her house rent, gave her something to eat, looked after her, was regularly at work and would bring home $30 or $40 a month. Her statements are the only evidence concerning the son's marriage and widow. He duly married Mollie on an undisclosed date; after living together for six months he fell ill and she left; thereafter her whereabouts were unknown to him; she was alive at time of trial (October, 1914); he left no child. Nothing indicates a divorce proceeding. Answering 'Do you know whether Mollie ever married anybody else or not?' the witness replied: 'I don't know, sir; I hear them say she married.'

Upon request of the administratrix, the following instructions (among others) were given to the jury:

'No. 1. The court charges the jury for the plaintiff in this case that under the rule of evidence in the state of Mississippi all that is required of the plaintiff in this case is to prove that injury was inflicted by the movement of the defendant's train or engine and then the law presumes negligence and then the burden of proof shifts to the

Page 370

defendant to prove all of the facts and circumstances surrounding the injury and from those facts so shown exonerate itself from all negligence.

'No. 2. The court charges the jury for the plaintiff that under the rule of evidence under the Mississippi statutes known as the prima facie statute all that the plaintiff need prove to entitle her to a judgment or verdict is that the defendant's engine or train caused the injury complained of and then the plaintiff is entitled to a verdict at the hands of the jury unless the defendant has...

To continue reading

Request your trial
211 practice notes
  • Mississippi Cent R. Co. v. Knight, 24615
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • 30 March 1925
    ...Liability Act first went before the supreme court of the United States in the case of New Orleans & Northeastern R. R. Co. v. Harris, 247 U.S. 367, 62 L.Ed. 1167. In Yazoo & Miss. Valley R. R. Co. v. Mullins, 249 U.S. 531, 63 L.Ed. 754, the supreme court again passed on the same statute, wh......
  • Francis v. Terminal Railroad Assn., No. 39573.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 8 April 1946
    ...R. Co. v. White, 238 U.S. 507, 59 L. Ed. 1433; Southern R. Co. v. Gray, 241 U.S. 333, 60 L. Ed. 1030; New Orleans & N.E.R. Co. v. Harris, 247 U.S. 367, 62 L Ed. 1167. (2) Obviously, if respondent is to recover upon the alleged failure of the Wabash enginemen to ring the bell and give him a ......
  • Johnson v. Southern Railway Co., No. 38571.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 4 October 1943
    ...her amended petition and that such negligence was the proximate cause of her intestate's fatal injury. New Orleans & N.E.R. Co. v. Harris, 247 U.S. 367; Patton v. Texas & Pac. Ry. Co., 179 U.S. 658; Chicago, Milwaukee & St. P. Ry. Co. v. Coogan, 271 U.S. 472. (3) Under the federal rule a sc......
  • Hardin v. Ill. Central Railroad Co., No. 32084.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 19 April 1934
    ...300; Burnett v. Railroad Co., 33 Fed. (2d) 579; Railroad Co. v. Coogan, 271 U.S. 474; Railroad v. Jones, 275 U.S. 514; Railroad v. Harris, 247 U.S. 367; Railroad v. Temple, 76 L. Ed. 468, 52 Sup. Ct. 334; Railroad Co. v. Saxon, 52 Sup. Ct. 229; Railroad Co. v. Chamberlain, 53 Sup. Ct. 391; ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
211 cases
  • Mississippi Cent R. Co. v. Knight, 24615
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • 30 March 1925
    ...Liability Act first went before the supreme court of the United States in the case of New Orleans & Northeastern R. R. Co. v. Harris, 247 U.S. 367, 62 L.Ed. 1167. In Yazoo & Miss. Valley R. R. Co. v. Mullins, 249 U.S. 531, 63 L.Ed. 754, the supreme court again passed on the same statute, wh......
  • Francis v. Terminal Railroad Assn., No. 39573.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 8 April 1946
    ...R. Co. v. White, 238 U.S. 507, 59 L. Ed. 1433; Southern R. Co. v. Gray, 241 U.S. 333, 60 L. Ed. 1030; New Orleans & N.E.R. Co. v. Harris, 247 U.S. 367, 62 L Ed. 1167. (2) Obviously, if respondent is to recover upon the alleged failure of the Wabash enginemen to ring the bell and give him a ......
  • Johnson v. Southern Railway Co., No. 38571.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 4 October 1943
    ...her amended petition and that such negligence was the proximate cause of her intestate's fatal injury. New Orleans & N.E.R. Co. v. Harris, 247 U.S. 367; Patton v. Texas & Pac. Ry. Co., 179 U.S. 658; Chicago, Milwaukee & St. P. Ry. Co. v. Coogan, 271 U.S. 472. (3) Under the federal rule a sc......
  • Hardin v. Ill. Central Railroad Co., No. 32084.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 19 April 1934
    ...300; Burnett v. Railroad Co., 33 Fed. (2d) 579; Railroad Co. v. Coogan, 271 U.S. 474; Railroad v. Jones, 275 U.S. 514; Railroad v. Harris, 247 U.S. 367; Railroad v. Temple, 76 L. Ed. 468, 52 Sup. Ct. 334; Railroad Co. v. Saxon, 52 Sup. Ct. 229; Railroad Co. v. Chamberlain, 53 Sup. Ct. 391; ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT