Richmond Co v. Powers, No. 200

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtBREWER
Citation37 L.Ed. 642,13 S.Ct. 748,149 U.S. 43
Docket NumberNo. 200
Decision Date17 April 1893
PartiesRICHMOND & D. R. CO. v. POWERS et al

149 U.S. 43
13 S.Ct. 748
37 L.Ed. 642
RICHMOND & D. R. CO.

v.

POWERS et al.

No. 200.
April 17, 1893.

Action in the city court of Atlanta, Ga., by Maggie L. Powers, Homer W. Powers, and Lula W. Powers, by their next friend and guardian ad litem, C. F. Reed, against the Richmond & Danville Railroad Company, to recover for the death of plaintiffs' father, caused by defendant's negligence. Defendant removed the cause to a federal court, where verdict and judgment were given for plaintiffs. Defendant brings error. Affirmed.

Statement by Mr. Justice BREWER:

On April 11, 1886, W. D. Powers was run over by a train belonging to the Richmond & Danville Railroad Company, at a station known as 'Lula,' and so injured that he died in a few hours. This action was brought to recover damages therefor. The plaintiffs are his children, and the proper parties, under the Georgia statutes, to maintain the action. It was commenced in the city court of Atlanta, Ga., and thence removed by the defendant to the circuit court of the United States for the northern district of Georgia. A trial was had in November, 1888, which resulted in a verdict and judgment in favor of the plaintiffs for $9,800. On the trial the defendant asked the following instruction:

'The undisputed fact exists in this case that the deceased man, Powers, being at the time about forty-five years of age, and, so far as the evidence discloses, in full possession of all his faculties, deliberately stepped upon the railroad track immediately in front of an engine which was running towards him at the rate of five or six miles an hour, and not more than ten feet off, and was almost instantly run over and killed.

'To say that this was an ordinarily careful act, or that this conduct was not negligence on his part, would do violence to a plain and well-settled principle of law. Admitting that he

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was a passenger, and therefore not bound, as a traveler on the highway approaching a crossing would be bound, to listen and to look both ways before attempting to cross the track, still the immediate presence, within a few feet, of a moving locomotive, would, it seems to me, have awakened all the senses of an ordinarily careful man, and would have warned him, in more ways than one, that he ought not to put himself on the track, right in front of it.

'It cannot be doubted that this was a careless and dangerous step. If he had been ordinarily careful, he would not have been killed or injured, even if the defendant was negligent. There is nothing in the other testimony in the case which relieves him from the consequences of this act of negligence. If he had not died, and had brought suit, he could not have recovered, nor can these plaintiffs recover, under these facts, and it is therefore your duty, under the law, to find a verdict for the defendant.'

The instruction was refused, and exception duly taken.

Henry Jackson and Pope Barrow, for plaintiff in error.

Hoke Smith, for defendants in error.

Mr. Justice BREWER, after stating the facts in the foregoing language, delivered the opinion of the court.

The only error assigned is in the refusal of the court to instruct the jury, as requested, substantially, that the deceased

Page 45

was guilty of such contributory negligence as to prevent a recovery. It is well settled that, where there is uncertainty as to the existence of either negligence or contributory negligence, the question is...

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162 practice notes
  • Keller v. Brooklyn Bus Corporation, No. 247.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • May 27, 1942
    ...Slocum v. New York Life Ins. Co., 228 U.S. 364, 33 S.Ct. 523, 57 L.Ed. 879, Ann.Cas.1914D, 1029; Richmond & Danville Railroad v. Powers, 149 U.S. 43, 13 S.Ct. 748, 37 L. Ed. 642; Sioux City & P. Railroad Company v. Stout, 17 Wall. 657, 663, 664, 21 L.Ed. 745. To use an expressive street-wor......
  • Act Up!/Portland v. Bagley, No. 90-35888
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • July 24, 1992
    ...the facts being undisputed, fairminded men will honestly draw different conclusions from them. Richmond & Danville Railroad v. Powers, 149 U.S. 43, 45, 13 S.Ct. 748, 749, 37 L.Ed. 642 (1892) (citations omitted). Accord Rogers v. Missouri Pacific Railroad, 352 U.S. 500, 505, 77 S.Ct. 443, 44......
  • Wilkey v. State ex rel. Smith, 6 Div. 603.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • December 21, 1939
    ...conclusions from them, the question is not one of law, but of fact to be settled by the jury. Richmond & Danville R. Co. v. Powers, 149 U.S. 43, 45 [13 S.Ct. 748, 37 L.Ed. 642]; Texas & Pacific Ry. Co. v. Harvey, 228 U.S. 319, 324 [33 S.Ct. 518, 57 L.Ed. 852]; Gunning v. Cooley, 281 U.S. 90......
  • Boland v. Love, No. 12240.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • March 17, 1955
    ...conclusions from them, the question is not one of law, but of fact to be settled by the jury. Richmond & Danville R. Co. v. Powers, 149 U.S. 43, 45, 13 S.Ct. 748, 37 L. Ed. 642; Texas & Pacific R. Co. v. Harvey, 228 U.S. 319, 324, 33 S.Ct. 518, 57 L.Ed. 852; Gunning v. Cooley, 281 U.S. 90, ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
162 cases
  • Keller v. Brooklyn Bus Corporation, No. 247.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • May 27, 1942
    ...Slocum v. New York Life Ins. Co., 228 U.S. 364, 33 S.Ct. 523, 57 L.Ed. 879, Ann.Cas.1914D, 1029; Richmond & Danville Railroad v. Powers, 149 U.S. 43, 13 S.Ct. 748, 37 L. Ed. 642; Sioux City & P. Railroad Company v. Stout, 17 Wall. 657, 663, 664, 21 L.Ed. 745. To use an expressive street-wor......
  • Act Up!/Portland v. Bagley, No. 90-35888
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • July 24, 1992
    ...the facts being undisputed, fairminded men will honestly draw different conclusions from them. Richmond & Danville Railroad v. Powers, 149 U.S. 43, 45, 13 S.Ct. 748, 749, 37 L.Ed. 642 (1892) (citations omitted). Accord Rogers v. Missouri Pacific Railroad, 352 U.S. 500, 505, 77 S.Ct. 443, 44......
  • Wilkey v. State ex rel. Smith, 6 Div. 603.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • December 21, 1939
    ...conclusions from them, the question is not one of law, but of fact to be settled by the jury. Richmond & Danville R. Co. v. Powers, 149 U.S. 43, 45 [13 S.Ct. 748, 37 L.Ed. 642]; Texas & Pacific Ry. Co. v. Harvey, 228 U.S. 319, 324 [33 S.Ct. 518, 57 L.Ed. 852]; Gunning v. Cooley, 281 U.S. 90......
  • Boland v. Love, No. 12240.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • March 17, 1955
    ...conclusions from them, the question is not one of law, but of fact to be settled by the jury. Richmond & Danville R. Co. v. Powers, 149 U.S. 43, 45, 13 S.Ct. 748, 37 L. Ed. 642; Texas & Pacific R. Co. v. Harvey, 228 U.S. 319, 324, 33 S.Ct. 518, 57 L.Ed. 852; Gunning v. Cooley, 281 U.S. 90, ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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