Pryor v. Williams, No. 26

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtMcKENNA
Citation65 L.Ed. 120,41 S.Ct. 36,254 U.S. 43
PartiesPRYOR et al. v. WILLIAMS
Decision Date08 November 1920
Docket NumberNo. 26

254 U.S. 43
41 S.Ct. 36
65 L.Ed. 120
PRYOR et al.

v.

WILLIAMS.

No. 26.
Argued Oct. 8, 1920.
Decided Nov. 8, 1920.

Messrs. Frederic D. McKenney, of Washington, D. C., and James L. Minnis, of St. Louis, Mo., for petitioners.

Mr. Roy W. Rucker, of Sedalia, Mo., for respondent.

Mr. Justice McKENNA delivered the opinion of the Court.

Action for personal injuries based on Employers' Liability Act (Comp. St. §§ 8657-8665). Negligence is charged against petitioners as receivers of the Wabash Railroad Company.

Respondent Williams, plaintiff in the action, was engaged in tearing down on the line of the railroad,

Page 44

and a defect in a clawbar, which he was directed to use, caused the bar to slip while he was attempting to draw a bolt; in consequence he lost his balance and fell to the ground, a distance of 12 feet. The defect, it is alleged, Williams did not know.

Negligence, however, was charged against him, and assumption of risk and contributory negligence.

He recovered a verdict in the sum of $5,000. Motion for new trial and arrest of judgment were denied, and the case was appealed to the Kansas City Court of Appeals.

The facts, as recited by the court, are that Williams was 21 years old, and had been reared on a farm. He entered the service of the railroad as a common laborer in August, 1915, and worked for it until injury in November of that year; his work being that of 'helping build steel bridges and taking down old ones.' He was ordered by the foreman in charge of the work to use a clawbar which was defective, in that the claws——

'had become so rounded and dull by long usage that they could not be made to grab the shank securely, and slipped from their hold when plaintiff (Williams) pressed downward on the handle, causing him to lose his balance and fall from the cap to the ground.'

The plaintiff stated that to discover the defect required an inspection of the underside of the tool, and that, in obeying the order of the foreman, he did not pause to make such inspection, but used the tool without any but casual inspection of its top surface, which did not reveal the defect.

The railroad was engaged in interstate commerce and the cause of action, under the case as made, fell within the purview of the federal Employers' Liability Act (Comp. St. §§ 8657-8665).

The conclusion of the court was that——

'The defect in the clawbar was so obvious that the most cursory and superficial inspection would have disclosed it to the plaintiff.'

And further:

'The risk was just as obvious as the

Page 45

defect. This was a simple tool, which, in the course of use, would be expected to fall into such defective condition, and plaintiff must be held to have appreciated the danger and to have voluntarily assumed it.'

The court reversed the judgment. It denied a motion for rehearing, but considered and adjudged:

'That on account of one of the judges deeming the decision to be in conflict with Fish v. Railway, 263...

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92 practice notes
  • Webber v. Terminal Railroad Assn., No. 31177.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • April 19, 1934
    ...for appellant. (1) Assumption of risk is a bar to an action in a case governed by the Federal Employers' Liability Act. Pryor v. Williams, 254 U.S. 43, 41 Sup. Ct. 36, 63 L. Ed. 120. (2) A submissible case was not made by plaintiff, for, at common law and under the Federal Employers' Liabil......
  • McNatt v. Wabash Ry. Co., No. 34916.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • July 30, 1937
    ...of that act, and by the applicable principles of the common law as interpreted and applied in the Federal Courts. Pryor v. Williams, 254 U.S. 43, affirming Williams v. Pryor, 46 S.W. (2d) 341; Martin v. Wabash Ry. Co., 325 Mo. 1107, 30 S.W. (2d) 735; Seaboard Air Line Ry. v. Horton, 233 U.S......
  • Good v. M.-K.-T. Railroad Co., No. 32650.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • August 20, 1936
    ...279 U.S. 7, 49 Sup. Ct. 202, 73 L. Ed. 578; Mo. Pac. Railroad Co. v. Aeby, 275 U.S. 426, 48 Sup. Ct. 177, 72 L. Ed. 351; Pyor v. Williams, 254 U.S. 43, 41 Sup. Ct. 36, 65 L. Ed. 120; Gila Valley Ry. Co. v. Hall, 232 U.S. 94, 34 Sup. Ct. 229, 58 L. Ed. 521; N.Y.C. & St. L. Railroad Co. v. Bo......
  • Hasenjaeger v. Railroad Co., No. 21948.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • November 8, 1932
    ...Co. v. Leitsch, 276 U.S. 429, 48 Sup. Ct. Rep. 336; Boldt v. Pennsylvania R. Co., 245 U.S. 441, 38 Sup. Ct. Rep. 139; Pryor v. Williams, 254 U.S. 43, 41 Sup. Ct. Rep. 36; Missouri Pac. R. Co. v. Aeby, 275 U.S. 426, 48 Sup. Ct. Rep. 177; Osborn v. Chicago, R.I. & P. Ry. Co. (Mo. Sup.), 1 S.W......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
92 cases
  • Webber v. Terminal Railroad Assn., No. 31177.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • April 19, 1934
    ...for appellant. (1) Assumption of risk is a bar to an action in a case governed by the Federal Employers' Liability Act. Pryor v. Williams, 254 U.S. 43, 41 Sup. Ct. 36, 63 L. Ed. 120. (2) A submissible case was not made by plaintiff, for, at common law and under the Federal Employers' Liabil......
  • McNatt v. Wabash Ry. Co., No. 34916.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • July 30, 1937
    ...of that act, and by the applicable principles of the common law as interpreted and applied in the Federal Courts. Pryor v. Williams, 254 U.S. 43, affirming Williams v. Pryor, 46 S.W. (2d) 341; Martin v. Wabash Ry. Co., 325 Mo. 1107, 30 S.W. (2d) 735; Seaboard Air Line Ry. v. Horton, 233 U.S......
  • Good v. M.-K.-T. Railroad Co., No. 32650.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • August 20, 1936
    ...279 U.S. 7, 49 Sup. Ct. 202, 73 L. Ed. 578; Mo. Pac. Railroad Co. v. Aeby, 275 U.S. 426, 48 Sup. Ct. 177, 72 L. Ed. 351; Pyor v. Williams, 254 U.S. 43, 41 Sup. Ct. 36, 65 L. Ed. 120; Gila Valley Ry. Co. v. Hall, 232 U.S. 94, 34 Sup. Ct. 229, 58 L. Ed. 521; N.Y.C. & St. L. Railroad Co. v. Bo......
  • Hasenjaeger v. Railroad Co., No. 21948.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • November 8, 1932
    ...Co. v. Leitsch, 276 U.S. 429, 48 Sup. Ct. Rep. 336; Boldt v. Pennsylvania R. Co., 245 U.S. 441, 38 Sup. Ct. Rep. 139; Pryor v. Williams, 254 U.S. 43, 41 Sup. Ct. Rep. 36; Missouri Pac. R. Co. v. Aeby, 275 U.S. 426, 48 Sup. Ct. Rep. 177; Osborn v. Chicago, R.I. & P. Ry. Co. (Mo. Sup.), 1 S.W......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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