Seaboard Air Line Railway v. Clara Pakgett, No. 710

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtWhite
Citation35 S.Ct. 481,59 L.Ed. 777,236 U.S. 668
PartiesSEABOARD AIR LINE RAILWAY, Plff. in Err., v. CLARA V. PAKGETT, Administratrix of the Estate of Lewis H. Padgett, Deceased
Docket NumberNo. 710
Decision Date22 March 1915

236 U.S. 668
35 S.Ct. 481
59 L.Ed. 777
SEABOARD AIR LINE RAILWAY, Plff. in Err.,

v.

CLARA V. PAKGETT, Administratrix of the Estate of Lewis H. Padgett, Deceased.

No. 710.
Argued February 24, 1915.
Decided March 22, 1915.

Page 669

Mr. J. B. S. Lyles for plaintiff in error.

[Argument of Counsel from page 669 intentionally omitted]

Page 670

Messrs. W. Boyd Evans, James H. Fanning, W. H. Sharpe, and A. D. Martin for defendant in error.

Mr. Chief Justice White delivered the opinion of the court:

Is there jurisdiction to review the action of the court below in affirming the judgment of the trial court, which was entered on the verdict of a jury, and if so, was error below committed, are the questions for decision (——S. C. ——, 83 S. E. 633).

The suit was brought to recover damages alleged to have been suffered by the death of Lewis H. Padgett, a railroad engineer in the service of the defendant company, the plaintiff in error, caused by his having fallen during the

Page 671

early morning hours into a drop pit in a locomotive roundhouse belonging to the company. The negligence charged was not only the failure to cover the pit, but also to properly light the roundhouse. If our jurisdiction attaches, it can only be because the right to recover was based upon the act of Congress commonly known as the employers' liability act, it having been averred that the deceased was an employee of the company, actually engaged in interstate commerce. But, as pointed out in St. Louis, I. M. & S. R. Co. v. McWhirter,229 U. S. 265, 275, 57 L. ed. 1179, 1185, 33 Sup. Ct. Rep. 858, although the cause of action relied upon was based upon the Federal statute, nevertheless, 'as it comes here from a state court, our power to review is controlled by Rev. Stat. § 709 [§ 237, Judicial Code (36 Stat. at L. 1156, chap. 231, Comp. Stat. 1913, § 1214)] and we may therefore not consider merely incidental questions not Federal in character; that is, which do not in their essence involve the existence of the right in the plaintiff to recover under the Federal statute to which his recourse by the pleadings was exclusively confined, or the converse; that is to say, the right of the defendant to be shielded from responsibility under that statute because, when properly applied, no liability on his part from the statute would result. Seaboard Air Line R. Co. v. Duvall, 225 U. S. 477, 56 L. ed. 1171, 32 Sup. Ct. Rep. 790; St. Louis, I. M. & S. R. Co. v. Taylor, 210 U. S. 281, 52 L. ed. 1061, 28 Sup. Ct. Rep. 616, 21 Am. Neg. Rep. 464.' The existence of jurisdiction to review under the principles just stated depends not merely upon form, but upon substance; that is, in this class of cases, as in others, the general rule controls that power to review cannot arise from the mere assertion of a formal right when such asserted right...

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47 practice notes
  • Mississippi Cent R. Co. v. Knight, 24615
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • 30 Marzo 1925
    ...the engine is an "injury suffered while he was employed by such carrier in such commerce." Seaboard Air Line Railway Company v. Padgett, 236 U.S. 668, 59 L.Ed. 777; Erie Railroad Company v. Winfield, 244 U.S. 170, 61 L.Ed. 1057; Easter v. Virginian R. R. Co., 76 W. V. 383, 11 N.C. C. A. 101......
  • Philadelphia & R. Ry. Co. v. Marland, 2112.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • 22 Enero 1917
    ...66, 68, 24 Sup.Ct. 24, 48 L.Ed. 96; Cincinnati, etc. Co. v. Thompson, 236 F. 1, . . . C.C.A. . . .; Seaboard Air Line Ry. Co. v. Padgett, 236 U.S. 668, 673, 35 Sup.Ct. 481, 59 L.Ed. 777; B. & O. Ry. Co. v. Whitacre, 242 U.S. 169, 37 Sup.Ct. 33, 61 L.Ed. . . . . In determining whether the qu......
  • Alabama Great Southern R. Co. v. Cornett, 6 Div. 322
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • 22 Octubre 1925
    ...L., I.M. & S.R. Co. v. Taylor, 210 U.S. 295, 28 S.Ct. 616, 621, 52 L.Ed. 1061, 1068. The same finds support in S.A.L.R. Co. v. Padgett, 236 U.S. 668, 35 S.Ct. 481, 59 L.Ed. 777; M., St. P. & S.S.M.R. Co. v. Popplar, 237 U.S. 369, 35 S.Ct. 609, 59 L.Ed. 1000; U.S. v. Erie R. Co., 237 U.S. 40......
  • Ferguson v. Cormack Lines, MOORE-M
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 25 Febrero 1957
    ...& R.R. Co., 235 U.S. 389, 35 S.Ct. 127, 59 L.Ed. 283; directed verdict for defendant reversed. Seaboard Air Line R. Co. v. Padgett, 236 U.S. 668, 35 S.Ct. 481, 59 L.Ed. 777; affirmance of judgment for plaintiff affirmed. Central Vermont R. Co. v. White, 238 U.S. 507, 35 S.Ct. 865, 59 L.Ed. ......
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44 cases
  • Mississippi Cent R. Co. v. Knight, 24615
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • 30 Marzo 1925
    ...the engine is an "injury suffered while he was employed by such carrier in such commerce." Seaboard Air Line Railway Company v. Padgett, 236 U.S. 668, 59 L.Ed. 777; Erie Railroad Company v. Winfield, 244 U.S. 170, 61 L.Ed. 1057; Easter v. Virginian R. R. Co., 76 W. V. 383, 11 N.C. C. A. 101......
  • Philadelphia & R. Ry. Co. v. Marland, 2112.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • 22 Enero 1917
    ...66, 68, 24 Sup.Ct. 24, 48 L.Ed. 96; Cincinnati, etc. Co. v. Thompson, 236 F. 1, . . . C.C.A. . . .; Seaboard Air Line Ry. Co. v. Padgett, 236 U.S. 668, 673, 35 Sup.Ct. 481, 59 L.Ed. 777; B. & O. Ry. Co. v. Whitacre, 242 U.S. 169, 37 Sup.Ct. 33, 61 L.Ed. . . . . In determining whether the qu......
  • Rogers v. Davis
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • 29 Mayo 1924
    ...Graber v. Duluth S. S. & A. Ry. Co., 159 Wis. 414, 150 N.W. 489; Padget v. Seaboard Airline Ry., 99 S.C. 364, 83 S.E. 633; affirmed in 236 U.S. 668, 35 S.Ct. 481, 59 L.Ed. 777.) MCCARTHY, C. J. Dunn and Wm. E. Lee, JJ., concur. OPINION [39 Idaho 213] MCCARTHY, C. J. This action is brought u......
  • Hobson v. Wilson, Civ. A. No. 76-1326.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • 1 Junio 1982
    ...Publishing Co. v. Butts, 388 U.S. 130, 156-57, 87 S.Ct. 1975, 1992, 18 L.Ed.2d 1094 (1967) (quoting Seaboard Air Line Ry. v. Padgett, 236 U.S. 668, 672, 35 S.Ct. 481, 482, 59 L.Ed. 777 (1915)). The instructions here introduced all the major terms the jury needed to apply, including "overt a......
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