Powell v. Jackson Grain Co.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Florida
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM. PER CURIAM.
Citation134 Fla. 596,184 So. 492
Decision Date24 October 1938
PartiesPOWELL et al. v. JACKSON GRAIN CO.

184 So. 492

134 Fla. 596

POWELL et al.
v.
JACKSON GRAIN CO.

Florida Supreme Court

October 24, 1938


Rehearing Denied Nov. 23, 1938.

Error to Circuit Court, Hillsborough County; Harry N. Sandler, Judge.

Action by Jackson Grain Company against L. R. Powell, Jr., and another, as receivers of the Seaboard Air Line Railway Company, for damages for the demolishing of a motortruck and trailer and the merchandise loaded thereon allegedly caused by negligence of the defendants in the operation of train at time of collision of the train with the truck and trailer at a surface crossing. A verdict was directed for the defendant, and, to review an order granting a new trial, the defendants bring error.

Affirmed, and cause remanded for appropriate proceedings.

ELLIS, C.J., dissenting.

On Rehearing.

COUNSEL [184 So. 493]

[134 Fla. 598] Knight, Thompson & Sutton and John Bell, all of Tampa, for plaintiffs in error.

Claibourne M. Phipps and McKay, Macfarlane, Jackson & Ramsey, all of Tampa, for defendant in error.

OPINION

PER CURIAM.

In an action to recover damages for demolishing a motor truck and trailer and the merchandise loaded thereon, alleged to have been caused by the negligence of defendants operating a train at the time of a collision of the railroad company's passenger train with the plaintiff's truck and trailer at a surface crossing in the suburbs of the City of Avon Park, Florida, the charge was negligence of the railroad company's employees in operating the train. Defendant receivers plead the general issue of not guilty, and, in mitigation of damages, also plead contributory negligence on the part of the truck driver. A motion for new trial was [184 So. 494] granted upon a directed verdict for the defendant.

Writ of error was taken under the statute, section 4615(2905), C.G.L., to the order granting a new trial, and error is assigned on the order, one of the grounds of the motion on which the new trial was granted being stated in the order to be 'in directing a verdict for the defendant'.

The statutes of Florida contain the following:

'A railroad company shall be liable for any damage done to persons, stock or other property, by the running of the locomotives, or cars, or other machinery of such company, * * * unless the company shall make it appear that their agents have exercised all ordinary and reasonable care and diligence, the presumption in all cases being against the company.' Sec. 7051(4964), C.G.L
'No person shall recover damages from a railroad company [134 Fla. 599] for injury to himself or his property, where the same is done by his consent, or is caused by his own negligence. If the complainant and the agents of the company are both at fault, the former may recover, but the damages shall be diminished or increased by the jury in proportion to the amount of default attributable to him.' Sec. 7052(4965), C.G.L.

In a civil action, if, after all the evidence of the parties 'shall have been submitted, it be apparent to the judge of the circuit court, or county court or criminal court or civil court of record that no sufficient evidence has been submitted upon which the jury could legally find a verdict for one party, the judge may direct the jury to find a verdict for the opposite party.' Sec. 4363(2696), C.G.L.

When, in appropriate proceedings, damage done to persons or property by the running of a railroad company's train is shown by competent evidence, the statute then raises a presumption of fact that the servants or agents of the railroad company were negligent in operating the train; and the statute then casts upon the defendant railroad company the burden of evidence to 'make it appear that their agents have exercised all ordinary and reasonable care and diligence' in operating the train which is duly alleged to have been negligently done when the injury occurred. See Warfield v. Hepburn, 62 Fla. 409, 57 So. 618; Atlantic Coast Line R. Co. v. Watkins, 97 Fla. 350, 121 So. 95; Tampa Electric Co. v. McCulloch, 115 Fla. 680, 156 So. 259; Johnson v. Louisville & N. R. Co., 59 Fla. 305, 52 So. 195; Egley v. Seaboard Air Line Ry. Co., 84 Fla. 147, 93 So. 170; Cason v. Florida Power Co., 74 Fla. 1, 76 So. 535, L.R.A.1918A, 1034; Atlantic Coast Line R. Co. v. Webb, 112 Fla. 449, 150 So. 741.

If the injury alleged was proximately caused solely by the negligence of the plaintiff or his agent driving the truck, there can be no recovery. See Atlantic Coast Line R. Co. [134 Fla. 600] v. Gornto, 89 Fla. 97, 103 So. 117; Seaboard Air Line Ry. v. Tomberlin, 70 Fla. 435, 70 So. 437; Atlantic Coast Line R. Co. v. Miller, 53 Fla. 246, 44 So. 247; Covington v. Seaboard Air Line Ry. Co., 99 Fla. 1102, 128 So. 426. See, also, notes in 56 A.L.R. 647.

Where, as here, under the statute the rule of comparative negligence causing damage or injury is applicable, and it is made to appear by the evidence that the agents of a railroad company in operating a railroad train and of an injured party or his agent were both at fault in causing the injury, the amount of the recovery if any is limited to such a proportion of the entire damages sustained by the plaintiff, as the defendant's negligence bears to the combined negligence of both the plaintiff or his agent and the agents of the defendant in the premises. See Seaboard Air Line Ry. v. Callan, 73 Fla. 688, 74 So. 799; Seaboard Air Line Ry. v. Tilghman, 237 U.S. 499, 35 S.Ct. 653, 59 L.Ed. 1069; Davis v. Cain, 86 Fla. 18, 97 So. 305; Germak v. Florida East Cost Ry. Co., 95 Fla. 991, 117 So. 391; Seaboard Air Line Ry. Co. v. Watson, 103 Fla. 477, 137 So. 719; Florida East Coast Ry. Co. v. Townsend, 104 Fla. 362, 140 So. 196, 143 So. 445; Anderson v. Crawford, 111 Fla. 381, 149 So. 656; Florida East Coast Ry. Co. v. Davis, 96 Fla. 171, 117 So. 842; Covington v. Seaboard Air Line Ry. Co., 99 Fla. 1102, 128 So. 426; Atlantic Coast Line Ry. Co. v. Weir, 63 Fla. 69, 58 So. 641, 41 L.R.A.,N.S., 307, Ann.Cas.1914A, 126; see, also, Stringfellow v. Atlantic Coast Line R. Co., 290 U.S. 322, 54 S.Ct. 175, 78 L.Ed. 339, and Atlantic Coast Line Ry. Co. v. Richardson, 117 Fla. 10, 157 So. 17.

Under the last above quoted statute, when in a trial by jury, the evidence has all been submitted, a verdict for the defendant should not be directed for the defendant unless it be apparent that no sufficient evidence has been submitted upon [184 So. 495] which the jury could legally find a verdict for the opposite party. King v. Weis-Patterson Lumber Co., 124 Fla. 272, 168 So. 858; Stevens et al. v. Tampa Elec. [134 Fla. 601] Co., 81 Fla. 512, 88 So. 303; Florida Motor Lines v. Bradley, 121 Fla. 591, 164 So. 360.

'In directing a verdict, the court is governed by practically the same rules that are applicable in demurrers to evidence.

'A party in moving for a directed verdict admits, not only the facts stated in the evidence adduced, but also admits every conclusion favorable to the adverse party that a jury might fairly and reasonably infer from the evidence.

'It is reversible error to direct a verdict for one party when there is substantial evidence tending to prove the issue upon which the jury could lawfully find a verdict for the opposite party.' Anderson v. Southern Cotton Oil Co., 73 Fla. 432, 74 So. 975, L.R.A.1917E, 715.

In this case there is testimony upon which, if believed by them, the jury might have found that under all the facts and circumstances in evidence the railroad company's train was being operated at a speed to show that the servants of the railroad company immediately before and at the time of the collision of the truck with the engine of the train, has not 'exercised all ordinary and reasonable care and diligence' legally required by the circumstances in operating the train, and that consequently the railroad company may be liable in some damages, even though the evidence should show that the driver of the truck was guilty of negligence which largely contributed to causing the damages, unless it be shown that...

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12 practice notes
  • Carter v. Florida Power & Light Co.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 23 mai 1939
    ...evidence has been submitted upon which the jury could legally find a verdict for the opposite party. Powell v. Jackson Grain Co., Fla., 184 So. 492; King v. Weis-Patterson Lumber Co., 124 Fla. 272, 168 So. 858; Stevens v. Tampa Electric Co., 81 Fla. 512, 88 So. 303; Florida Motor Lines v. B......
  • Loftin v. Crowley's Inc.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 23 juin 1942
    ...2 N.C.C.A. 243, and cases there cited. Also see Seaboard A. L. R. Co. v. Moseley, 60 Fla. 186, 53 So. 718; Powell v. Jackson Grain Co., 134 Fla. 596, 184 So. 492. And, we are dealing with another statute, § 7052, supra, which is a statute based on classification and, in effect, provides tha......
  • Powell v. Etter
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 20 novembre 1942
    ...by the railroad train contributed to the proximate cause of the collision? The holding of this court in Powell v. Jackson Grain Co., 134 Fla. 596, 184 So. 492, is cited and relied upon to sustain the judgments entered in the lower court. The suits at bar are bottomed on the several provisio......
  • Kenan v. Black
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 27 mars 1942
    ...by section 7051(4964), C.G.L. See L. R. Powell et al. v. B. Marcus, 127 Fla. 203, 172 So. 857; L. R. Powell et al. v. Jackson Grain Co., 134 Fla. 596, 184 So. 492; Roberts v. Powell et al., 137 Fla. 159, 187 So. 766. This action is not for injury to the driver of the truck who was an employ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
12 cases
  • Carter v. Florida Power & Light Co.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 23 mai 1939
    ...evidence has been submitted upon which the jury could legally find a verdict for the opposite party. Powell v. Jackson Grain Co., Fla., 184 So. 492; King v. Weis-Patterson Lumber Co., 124 Fla. 272, 168 So. 858; Stevens v. Tampa Electric Co., 81 Fla. 512, 88 So. 303; Florida Motor Lines v. B......
  • Loftin v. Crowley's Inc.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 23 juin 1942
    ...2 N.C.C.A. 243, and cases there cited. Also see Seaboard A. L. R. Co. v. Moseley, 60 Fla. 186, 53 So. 718; Powell v. Jackson Grain Co., 134 Fla. 596, 184 So. 492. And, we are dealing with another statute, § 7052, supra, which is a statute based on classification and, in effect, provides tha......
  • Powell v. Etter
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 20 novembre 1942
    ...by the railroad train contributed to the proximate cause of the collision? The holding of this court in Powell v. Jackson Grain Co., 134 Fla. 596, 184 So. 492, is cited and relied upon to sustain the judgments entered in the lower court. The suits at bar are bottomed on the several provisio......
  • Kenan v. Black
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 27 mars 1942
    ...by section 7051(4964), C.G.L. See L. R. Powell et al. v. B. Marcus, 127 Fla. 203, 172 So. 857; L. R. Powell et al. v. Jackson Grain Co., 134 Fla. 596, 184 So. 492; Roberts v. Powell et al., 137 Fla. 159, 187 So. 766. This action is not for injury to the driver of the truck who was an employ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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