Railroad Company v. Stout

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtHUNT
Citation17 Wall. 657,21 L.Ed. 745,84 U.S. 657
PartiesRAILROAD COMPANY v. STOUT
Decision Date01 October 1873

84 U.S. 657
21 L.Ed. 745
17 Wall. 657
RAILROAD COMPANY
v.
STOUT.
October Term, 1873

ERROR to the Circuit Court for the District of Nebraska.

Henry Stout, a child six years of age and living with his parents, sued, by his next friend, the Sioux City and Pacific Railroad Company, in the court below, to recover damages for an injury sustained upon a turntable belonging to the said company. The turntable was in an open space, about eighty rods from the company's depot, in a hamlet or settlement of one hundred to one hundred and fifty persons. Near the turntable was a travelled road passing through the depot grounds, and another travelled road near by. On the railroad ground, which was not inclosed or visibly separated from the adjoining property, was situated the company's station-house, and about a quarter of a mile distant from this was the turntable on which the plaintiff was injured. There were but few houses in the neighborhood of the turntable, and the child's parents lived in another part of the town, and about three-fourths of a mile distant. The child, without the knowledge of his parents, set off with two other boys, the one nine and the other ten years of age, to go to the depot, with no definite purpose in view. When

Page 658

the boys arrived there, it was proposed by some of them to go to the turntable to play. The turntable was not attended or guarded by any servant of the company, was not fastened or locked, and revolved easily on its axis. Two of the boys began to turn it, and in attempting to get upon it, the foot of the child (he being at the time upon the railroad track) was caught between the end of the rail on the turntable as it was revolving, and the end of the iron rail on the main track of the road, and was crushed.

One witness, then a servant of the company, testified that he had previously seen boys playing at the turntable, and had forbidden them from playing there. But the witness had no charge of the table, and did not communicate the fact of having seen boys playing there, to any of the officers or servants of the company having the table in charge.

One of the boys, who was with the child when injured, had previously played upon the turntable when the railroad men were working on the track, in sight, and not far distant.

It appeared from the testimony that the child had not, before the day on which he was now injured, played at the turntable, or had, indeed, ever been there.

The table was constructed on the railroad company's own land, and, the testimony tended to show, in the ordinary way. It was a skeleton turntable, that is to say, it was not planked between the rails, though it had one or two loose boards upon the ties. There was an iron latch fastened to it which turned on a hinge, and, when in order, dropped into an iron socket on the track, and held the table in position while using. The catch of this latch was broken at the time of the accident. The latch, which weighed eight or ten pounds, could be easily lifted out of the catch and thrown back on the table, and the table was allowed to be moved about. This latch was not locked, or in any way fastened down before it was broken, and all the testimony on that subject tended to show that it was not usual for railroad companies to lock or guard turntables, but that it was usual to have a latch with a catch, or a draw-bolt, to keep them in position when used.

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The record stated that 'the counsel for the defendant disclaimed resting their defence on the ground that the plaintiff's parents were negligent, or that the plaintiff (considering his tender age) was negligent, but rested their defence on the ground that the company was not negligent, and asserted that the injury to the plaintiff was accidental or brought upon himself.'...

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670 practice notes
  • Nunez v. Superior Oil Co., No. 76-3340
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • May 12, 1978
    ...for the court." Bryant v. Hall, 5 Cir. 1956, 238 F.2d 783, 787. See also Sioux City & Pac. R. R. v. Stout, 1873, 84 U.S. (17 Wall.) 657, 21 L.Ed. 745; 2 Harper & James, The Law of Tort, § 15.3, at 880-81. Hence, juries determine issues of negligence, Dawson v. Contractors Transport Corp., 1......
  • Sony Bmg Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum, Case No. 07cv11446-NG.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
    • December 7, 2009
    ...fails to exercise reasonable care to eliminate the danger. Id.; see also Sioux City & Pacific R. Co. v. Stout, 84 U.S. (17 Wall.) 657, 21 L.Ed. 745 (1873). An in-ground swimming pool that its owner has failed to fence off is perhaps the classic example. In this case, the defendant argues th......
  • Lucas v. Hammond, 27014
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • April 9, 1928
    ...but its origin in this country seems to date from 1873 when the supreme court decided the case of Stout v. Sioux City & U. R. Co., 17 Wall. 657, 21 L.Ed. 745. Mr. Justice HUNT, in writing the opinion of the court in this case, after declaring that the fact that the turntable was a dangerous......
  • Mississippi Power & Light Co. v. Smith, 30745
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • March 12, 1934
    ...whether or not the appellants were guilty of negligence contributing to the injury and death of deceased. S. C. & P. R. R. Co. v. Stout, 17 Wall. 657, 21 L.Ed. 745. The question of what is the proximate cause of the injury is a question of fact to be submitted to the decision of a jury. I. ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
670 cases
  • Nunez v. Superior Oil Co., No. 76-3340
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • May 12, 1978
    ...for the court." Bryant v. Hall, 5 Cir. 1956, 238 F.2d 783, 787. See also Sioux City & Pac. R. R. v. Stout, 1873, 84 U.S. (17 Wall.) 657, 21 L.Ed. 745; 2 Harper & James, The Law of Tort, § 15.3, at 880-81. Hence, juries determine issues of negligence, Dawson v. Contractors Transport Corp., 1......
  • Sony Bmg Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum, Case No. 07cv11446-NG.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
    • December 7, 2009
    ...fails to exercise reasonable care to eliminate the danger. Id.; see also Sioux City & Pacific R. Co. v. Stout, 84 U.S. (17 Wall.) 657, 21 L.Ed. 745 (1873). An in-ground swimming pool that its owner has failed to fence off is perhaps the classic example. In this case, the defendant argues th......
  • Lucas v. Hammond, 27014
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • April 9, 1928
    ...but its origin in this country seems to date from 1873 when the supreme court decided the case of Stout v. Sioux City & U. R. Co., 17 Wall. 657, 21 L.Ed. 745. Mr. Justice HUNT, in writing the opinion of the court in this case, after declaring that the fact that the turntable was a dangerous......
  • Mississippi Power & Light Co. v. Smith, 30745
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • March 12, 1934
    ...whether or not the appellants were guilty of negligence contributing to the injury and death of deceased. S. C. & P. R. R. Co. v. Stout, 17 Wall. 657, 21 L.Ed. 745. The question of what is the proximate cause of the injury is a question of fact to be submitted to the decision of a jury. I. ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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