Pennsylvania Co v. Jones Same v. Stewart, Nos. 40

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtSHIRAS
PartiesPENNSYLVANIA R. CO. et al. v. JONES. SAME v. STEWART
Docket Number41,Nos. 40
Decision Date10 December 1894

155 U.S. 333
15 S.Ct. 136
39 L.Ed. 176
PENNSYLVANIA R. CO. et al.

v.

JONES. SAME v. STEWART.

Nos. 40, 41.
December 10, 1894.

[Syllabus from pages 333-334 intentionally omitted]

Page 334

Enoch Totten, for plaintiffs in error.

Wm. A. Cook and W. L. Cole, for defendants in error.

Page 335

Mr. Justice SHIRAS delivered the opinion of the court.

These were suits brought in the supreme court of the District of Columbia, and tried at special term, in July, 1885, based upon allegations of personal injuries received by the plaintiffs while in the performance of their duties as railway postal clerks on the mail route which extended from Charlotte, N. C., to Washington, D. C.

The cases were tried together, and each of the plaintiffs obtained a verdict and judgment, entered May 3, 1890, against all of the defendants except the Virginia Midland Railway Company. The other defendants, namely, the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, the Baltimore & Potomac Railroad Company, the Alexandria & Fredericksburg Railway Company, and the Alexandria & Washington Railroad Company, appealed to said court in general term, where the judgment of the special term was affirmed, and afterwards they caused the cases to be brought here on writs of error.

The undisputed facts in the cases are substantially as follows: About four miles from Washington, at a place known as 'Four-Mile Run,' the tracks of the Alexandria & Washington Railroad were laid through a short tunnel or culvert under a canal. This culvert was not of sufficient width to permit trains to pass each other therein, and the double tracks, which extended over the whole line, closely interlaced in the culvert, and for a short distance from each end thereof; but each track remained practically unbroken and independent, so that in passing this point it was not necessary that a train on either track should stop, provided no other train was upon or about to be upon this portion of the road where the tracks converged. In or near this culvert, at about 10 o'clock on the night of the 19th of February, 1885, while the plaintiffs were engaged in the performance of their duties as postal clerks in a car attached to a north-bound passenger train of the Virginia Midland Railway Company, a collision occurred upon the interlaced tracks, between that train and a fast-freight train of the Alexandria & Fredericksburg Railway Company, bound south, which resulted in the death of four persons, and in serious injuries to each of the plaintiffs.

Page 336

The essential allegations of both declarations filed by the plaintiffs were that all of the defendant companies were engaged, as common carriers, in the transportation of passengers, persons, and freight upon and along the several lines of the railroads belonging to them, and along the line, among others, of the Alexandria & Washington Railroad Company, under an arrangement or contract, for their common benefit, by which they were interested jointly in the running and management of their roads, and that through the negligence of the defendant companies the collision occurred which caused the injuries complained of.

The defendants all appeared to the action, and severally put in pleas of not guilty, and afterwards, upon leave granted by the court, each company filed an additional plea averring that 'it was not at the time of the alleged injury, and never was, a common carrier of passengers and freight in manner and form as in said declaration alleged.'

A large amount of evidence was put in on behalf of the plaintiffs for the purpose of sustaining their allegations of negligence on the part of employees of one or more of the defendant companies, and to show that the roads owned by those companies were operated in connection with each other on joint account, or that there was such community of interests among them as would make all of them liable for the acts of agents or employees of one.

The Virginia Midland Railway Company introduced evidence which tended to prove that its road extended no further north than Alexandria, and that its trains were run over the roads of the other companies, under an arrangement by which it paid certain prices per passenger and per ton of freight for the running privileges given it, and by which it was required to admit on board its north-bound trains at Alexandria an agent of the company or companies which controlled the road north of that place, who had therefrom the exclusive direction of the trains. It appeared, however, that, although such agent was on the passenger train in question, employees of the Virginia Midland Railway Company performed the actual work of controlling the train.

Page 337

The evidence on the part of the other defendants was directed mainly to showing that at the time of the collision the road of the Alexandria & Washington Railroad Company and the franchises necessary for its operation were in the hands of a receiver appointed by the circuit court of the United States for the Eastern district of Virginia; that the company had no rolling stock, but that the receiver permitted other roads to use its tracks, under certain agreements which had been made between that company and other companies before his appointment; and that the business of the Alexandria & Fredericksburg Railway Company was being carried on by trustees who were possessed of the property and franchises of this company by virtue of a deed of trust executed by it on June 1, 1866, to secure the payment of the principal and interest of certain of its first mortgage bonds.

Many exceptions were taken by the defendants during the trial to the admission and rejection of evidence, to the refusal of the court to give the jury certain instructions proposed by them, and to the giving of other instructions against their objections. These exceptions constitute the grounds of the assignments of error.

The suits were brought against the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, a corporation organized under the laws of the state of Pennsylvania; the Baltimore & Potomac Railroad Company, a corporation organized under the laws of the state of Maryland and acts of the congress of the United States; the Alexandria & Washington Railroad Company, the Virginia Midland Railway Company, and the Alexandria & Fredericksburg Railway Company, which three last-mentioned companies were corporations organized under the laws of the state of Virginia.

The theory upon which the plaintiffs proceeded, in including these five companies in the actions, was thus expressed in the declarations:

'For that heretofore, to wit, on the 19th day of February, 1885, and prior thereto, the said defendants were engaged, as common carriers, in the transportation of passengers, persons, and freight upon and along the several lines of railroad be-

Page 338

longing to said companies, and, among others, along the line of the road of the said Alexandria and Washington Railroad Company, running between the cities of Alexandria and Washington, under an arrangement or contract for their common benefit, the full and exact terms of which are unknown to this plaintiff, and by which they were jointly interested in the running and management of the said railroads.'

The Pennsylvania Railroad Company filed a plea of not guilty, and a special plea that said company 'was not, at the time of the alleged injury, and never was, a common carrier of passengers and freight in manner and form as in said declaration alleged.'

After the testimony was closed on both sides, the counsel of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company moved the court to instruct the jury that, upon the pleadings and evidence, the said company was entitled to a verdict in its favor. To the refusal of the court to grant such instruction, exception was duly taken, and that action of the court is here assigned for error.

As it is not pretended that there was not evidence sufficient to warrant the jury in finding that the plaintiffs' injuries were caused by carelessness in the management of one or both of the trains, our inquiry must be directed to the other issue; that is, whether it was shown, by competent evidence, that the Pennsylvania Railroad Company was engaged, at the time of the accident, as a common carrier, in the transportation of freight and passengers along the line of the road of the Alexandria & Washington Railroad Company, running between the cities of Alexandria and Washington, under an arrangement or contract with the other companies defendant for their common benefit, and by which they were jointly interested in the running and management of said railroad.

It is conceded, or sufficiently appears in the evidence, that the running and management of the road of the Alexandria & Washington Railroad Company were not within the scope of the ordinary powers of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company as a corporation of the state of Pennsylvania. To render the latter company responsible for what might take place on a

Page 339

railroad in another state, some contract or arrangement to that effect must be made to appear.

It is also disclosed by the evidence that neither of the trains by whose mismanagement the accident was caused was a train belonging to the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, and that the men in charge were not in the immediate employ of that company.

The general principles applicable to the present inquiry are well settled, and have frequently been declared by this court. In Railroad Co. v. Manufacturing Co., 16 Wall. 324, it was said: 'It is the duty of the carrier, in the absence of any special contract, to carry safely to the end of his line, and to deliver to the next carrier in the route beyond. This rule of liability is adopted generally by the courts in this country, and is in itself so just and reasonable that we do not hesitate to give it our sanction.' And in Railroad Co. v. Pratt, 22 Wall. 129, it was said: 'The fair result of the American cases limits the carrier's...

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46 practice notes
  • State ex rel. Thompson v. Terte, No. 40241.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 8 Diciembre 1947
    ...51 C.J. 1089; Santa Barbara, 299 Fed. 147, certiorari denied 45 S. Ct. 95, 266 U.S. 612, 69 L. Ed. 467; Pennsylvania Ry. Co. v. Jones, 15 S. Ct. 136, 155 U.S. 333, 39 L. Ed. 176; New Colonial Ice Co. v. Helvering, 54 S. Ct. 788, 292 U.S. 435, 78 L. Ed. 1348; N.Y. & M.L. Ry. Co. v. Winans, 5......
  • L. & N. R. R. Co. v. Central Stock Yards Co.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Kentucky
    • 15 Noviembre 1906
    ...also transmit the instructions of the shipper to the connecting carrier." Elliott on Railroads, vol. 4, Sec. 1440. P. R. R. Co. v. Jones, 155 U. S. 333, 15 Sup. Ct. 136, 39 L. Ed. 176; Danna v. N. Y., etc., R. R. Co., 50 How. Prac. (N. Y.) 428; Little Miami R. R. Co. v. Washburn, 22 Ohio St......
  • Louisville & N.R. Co. v. Central Stockyards Co.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Kentucky
    • 15 Noviembre 1906
    ...also transmit the instructions of the shipper to the connecting carrier." Elliott on Railroads, vol. 4, § 1440. P. R. R. Co. v. Jones, 155 U.S. 333, 15 S.Ct. 136, 39 L.Ed. 176; Danna v. N. Y., etc., R. R. Co., 50 How. Prac. (N. Y.) 428; Little Miami R. R. Co. v. Washburn, 22 Ohio St. 330; P......
  • Berry v. Pennsylvania R. Co., No. L--7909
    • United States
    • Superior Court of New Jersey
    • 28 Junio 1963
    ...by Louisville & Nashville R.R. v. Chatters, supra. See also Missouri Pacific R.R. Co. v. Prude, supra; Pennsylvania R.R. Co. v. Jones, 155 U.S. 333, 15 S.Ct. 136, 39 L.Ed. 176 (1894); Myrick v. Michigan Central R.R. Co., 107 U.S. 102, 1 S.Ct. 425, 27 L.Ed. 325 In resolving this question, th......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
46 cases
  • State ex rel. Thompson v. Terte, No. 40241.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 8 Diciembre 1947
    ...51 C.J. 1089; Santa Barbara, 299 Fed. 147, certiorari denied 45 S. Ct. 95, 266 U.S. 612, 69 L. Ed. 467; Pennsylvania Ry. Co. v. Jones, 15 S. Ct. 136, 155 U.S. 333, 39 L. Ed. 176; New Colonial Ice Co. v. Helvering, 54 S. Ct. 788, 292 U.S. 435, 78 L. Ed. 1348; N.Y. & M.L. Ry. Co. v. Winans, 5......
  • L. & N. R. R. Co. v. Central Stock Yards Co.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Kentucky
    • 15 Noviembre 1906
    ...also transmit the instructions of the shipper to the connecting carrier." Elliott on Railroads, vol. 4, Sec. 1440. P. R. R. Co. v. Jones, 155 U. S. 333, 15 Sup. Ct. 136, 39 L. Ed. 176; Danna v. N. Y., etc., R. R. Co., 50 How. Prac. (N. Y.) 428; Little Miami R. R. Co. v. Washburn, 22 Ohio St......
  • Louisville & N.R. Co. v. Central Stockyards Co.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Kentucky
    • 15 Noviembre 1906
    ...also transmit the instructions of the shipper to the connecting carrier." Elliott on Railroads, vol. 4, § 1440. P. R. R. Co. v. Jones, 155 U.S. 333, 15 S.Ct. 136, 39 L.Ed. 176; Danna v. N. Y., etc., R. R. Co., 50 How. Prac. (N. Y.) 428; Little Miami R. R. Co. v. Washburn, 22 Ohio St. 330; P......
  • Berry v. Pennsylvania R. Co., No. L--7909
    • United States
    • Superior Court of New Jersey
    • 28 Junio 1963
    ...by Louisville & Nashville R.R. v. Chatters, supra. See also Missouri Pacific R.R. Co. v. Prude, supra; Pennsylvania R.R. Co. v. Jones, 155 U.S. 333, 15 S.Ct. 136, 39 L.Ed. 176 (1894); Myrick v. Michigan Central R.R. Co., 107 U.S. 102, 1 S.Ct. 425, 27 L.Ed. 325 In resolving this question, th......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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