Southern Pacific Company v. Mary Schuyler, No. 143

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtPitney
Citation57 L.Ed. 662,33 S.Ct. 277,227 U.S. 601
Docket NumberNo. 143
Decision Date24 February 1913
PartiesSOUTHERN PACIFIC COMPANY, Plff. in Err., v. MARY R. SCHUYLER and Rhea Schuyler, Edward Schuyler, Vera Schuyler, and Dorothy Schuyler, Infants, by Their Guardian ad Litem

227 U.S. 601
33 S.Ct. 277
57 L.Ed. 662
SOUTHERN PACIFIC COMPANY, Plff. in Err.,

v.

MARY R. SCHUYLER and Rhea Schuyler, Edward Schuyler, Vera Schuyler, and Dorothy Schuyler, Infants, by Their Guardian ad Litem.

No. 143.
Argued and submitted January 23, 1913.
Decided February 24, 1913.

Page 602

Messrs. Maxwell Evarts, P. L. Williams, and E. M. Bagley for plaintiff in error.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 602-605 intentionally omitted]

Page 605

Messrs. Edward M. Cleary, Bert Schlesinger, Alfred W. Agee, and James B. McCracken for defendants in error.

Mr. Justice Pitney delivered the opinion of the court:

This is a review, under § 709, Rev. Stat. U. S. Comp. Stat. 1901, p. 575, of a judgment

Page 606

recovered against the plaintiff in error for damages on account of the death of one Charles Albert Schuyler, occasioned by the derailment of a mail train at Gertney, Utah, January 14, 1907, while the deceased was riding thereon. It appears that he was an assistant chief clerk in the United States railway mail service, and held a commission or certificate signed by the Postmaster General in the following form:

Postoffice Department, Washington, D. C.

To Whom Concerned:

The bearer hereof, Charles Albert Schuyler, has been appointed an assistant chief clerk railway mail service, with headquarters Ogden, Utah, and will be obeyed and respected accordingly. Railroad compaines are requested to extend to the holder of this commission the facilities of free transportation on the lines named on opposite page. If fare is charged, receipt should be given. Valid only when issued through the office of the Second Assistant Postmaster General and countersigned by James E. White.

G. B. Cortelyou.

Countersigned:

James E. White,

General Superintendent.

On opposite page:

'Good between all stations Utah, Idaho, Nevada, California, Montana, and Colorado.'

The deceased had been called to go from Ogden, Utah, to Oakland, California, on account of the illness of his child. The child having died, he set out to return from Oakland to Ogden, and took the mail train in question with the knowledge of the train agent and conductor in charge, using as evidence of his right to transportation the

Page 607

commission above quoted. It was on this interstate journey that the train was derailed and the deceased came to his death, as already mentioned.

The defense (so far as here pertinent) was that the deceased was not traveling upon any official business that entitled him to free transportation under his commission, and that in riding free he was violating the act of Congress of June 29, 1906, commonly called the Hepburn act (34 Stat. at L. 584, 585, chap. 3591, § 1, U. S. Comp. Stat. Supp. 1911, pp. 1286, 1287), which forbids common carriers subject to the provisions of the act, after January 1, 1907, to 'directly or indirectly issue or give any interstate free ticket, free pass, or free transportation for passengers, except . . . to railway mail service employees, postoffice inspectors, customs inspectors, and immigration inspectors; . . . and any person, other than the persons excepted in this provision, who uses any such interstate free ticket, free pass, or free transportation, shall be subject to a like penalty.' It was therefore contended that the deceased was a trespasser, and that the defendant was under no legal duty to care for his safety.

In the trial court there was a verdict for the plaintiffs, and from the judgment thereon the present plaintiff in error appealed to the Utah supreme court, which at first reversed, and afterwards, on a rehearing, set aside the reversal, and affirmed the judgment below, subsequently denying the company's application for a new trial. 37 Utah, 581, 595, 612, 109 Pac. 458, 464, 1025.

The court held that there was no evidence to support a finding that the deceased was traveling on appellant's train in the discharge, or in pursuance, of duties pertaining to the railway mail service; and that upon the evidence adduced the only permissible inference was that he left Ogden and went to Oakland solely on account of the death of his child, and that he was on the return journey of that mission when the train was derailed.

But the court also found that the existence of the

Page 608

relation of carrier and passenger between the deceased and the railroad company, and a breach of the duty of care for the passenger's safety, resulting in his death, were so conclusively made to appear as to entitle respondents to a directed verdict on those issues, so that certain errors committed by the trial court in the instructions to the jury became of no consequence. The court said: 'That the car was derailed through the negligence of appellant, as alleged in the complaint, and that the deceased was killed by reason of such derailment, is, upon the record, not open to controversy. No substantial conflict is presented by the evidence on that subject.'

Upon the question of the relation of carrier and passenger the court reasoned as follows: 'When he left Ogden he entered a mail car in appellant's train. The evidence of his right to enter the mail car and be carried by appellant was the commission issued to him, which on its face entitled him to transportation between all stations in Utah, Nevada, and California. The commission, on its face, granted 'the facilities of free transportation on the lines named,' regardless of the question whether he was or was not in the discharge of public duties. It was issued to him before the...

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64 practice notes
  • Southern Pacific Company v. Marie Jensen, No. 280
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • February 28, 1916
    ...the benefit and protection of the law of the state imposing upon the carrier a duty to care for his safety (Southern P. Co. v. Schuyler, 227 U. S. 601, 612, 57 L. ed. 662, 669, 43 L.R.A.(N.S.) 901, 33 Sup. Ct. Rep. 277). In the very realm of navigation, the authority of the states to establ......
  • George Simpson v. David Shepard No 291 George Simpson v. Emma Kennedy No 292 George Simpson v. William Shillaber No 293, Nos. 291
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 9, 1913
    ...v. Pittsburg & L. E. R. Co. 203 U. S. 284, 294, 51 L. ed. 184, 191, 27 Sup. Ct. Rep. 100, 8 Ann. Cas. 87; Southern P. R. Co. v. Schuyler, 227 U. S. 601, 613, 57 L. ed. ——, 33 Sup. Ct. Rep. 277. Until the enactment by Congress of the act of April 22, 1908, chap. 149, 35 Stat. at L. 65, U. S.......
  • Meloon v. Davis, 1558.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — First Circuit
    • February 13, 1923
    ...imposed by law, notwithstanding the contract under which he was received as a passenger was illegal. Southern Pacific Co. v. Schuyler, 227 U.S. 601, 33 Sup.Ct. 277, 57 L.Ed. 662, 43 L.R.A. (N.S.) 901; Schuyler v. Southern Pacific Co., 37 Utah, 581, 109 P. 458, 469, 470; Id., 37 Utah 612, 10......
  • Francis v. Southern Pac Co, No. 400
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • March 15, 1948
    ...that the pass or commission was issued, or the gratuitous carriage permitted by him, in violation of law.' Southern Pac. Co. v. Schuyler, 227 U.S. 601, 609, 610, 33 S.Ct. 277, 279, 57 L.Ed. 662, 43 L.R.A.,N.S., 901.3 In the Schuyler case this Court sustained a Utah judgment under the Utah w......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
66 cases
  • Southern Pacific Company v. Marie Jensen, No. 280
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • February 28, 1916
    ...the benefit and protection of the law of the state imposing upon the carrier a duty to care for his safety (Southern P. Co. v. Schuyler, 227 U. S. 601, 612, 57 L. ed. 662, 669, 43 L.R.A.(N.S.) 901, 33 Sup. Ct. Rep. 277). In the very realm of navigation, the authority of the states to establ......
  • George Simpson v. David Shepard No 291 George Simpson v. Emma Kennedy No 292 George Simpson v. William Shillaber No 293, Nos. 291
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 9, 1913
    ...v. Pittsburg & L. E. R. Co. 203 U. S. 284, 294, 51 L. ed. 184, 191, 27 Sup. Ct. Rep. 100, 8 Ann. Cas. 87; Southern P. R. Co. v. Schuyler, 227 U. S. 601, 613, 57 L. ed. ——, 33 Sup. Ct. Rep. 277. Until the enactment by Congress of the act of April 22, 1908, chap. 149, 35 Stat. at L. 65, U. S.......
  • Meloon v. Davis, 1558.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — First Circuit
    • February 13, 1923
    ...imposed by law, notwithstanding the contract under which he was received as a passenger was illegal. Southern Pacific Co. v. Schuyler, 227 U.S. 601, 33 Sup.Ct. 277, 57 L.Ed. 662, 43 L.R.A. (N.S.) 901; Schuyler v. Southern Pacific Co., 37 Utah, 581, 109 P. 458, 469, 470; Id., 37 Utah 612, 10......
  • Francis v. Southern Pac Co, No. 400
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • March 15, 1948
    ...that the pass or commission was issued, or the gratuitous carriage permitted by him, in violation of law.' Southern Pac. Co. v. Schuyler, 227 U.S. 601, 609, 610, 33 S.Ct. 277, 279, 57 L.Ed. 662, 43 L.R.A.,N.S., 901.3 In the Schuyler case this Court sustained a Utah judgment under the Utah w......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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